Review: CraveTV

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If you’re wondering why it has taken this TV Addict slightly longer than expected to post our review of CraveTV, Bell Media’s Netflix competitor that launched earlier this month, look no further than the service itself.

Billed as “a video streaming service offering full seasons and series of the most loved and celebrated shows ever,” CraveTV is — simply put — a TV Addict’s dream. No really. Any grammar, spelling and/or syntax errors from here on in should be solely attributed to the fact that even as we type this, we’re half-watching INSIDE AMY SCHUMER in a little window at the top left of our desktop! That’s how good CraveTV is, we cannot stop watching it, it’s a problem, a big one. But before we get into why, let’s start off with the glowingly positive shall we.

CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to selection. From genre-defining series that we’re embarrassed to admit we still haven’t found the time to watch (See: HBO classics such as THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE and DEADWOOD) and half-hour sketch shows we’ve only seen bits and pieces of on YouTube (See: KEY AND PEELE, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER and KROLL SHOW) to exclusives that we’ve already started binge-watching (Hello WGN’s MANHATTAN) and classics that we can’t get enough of (See: MONTY PYTHON, SEINFELD, and FRASIER), CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to feeding our seemingly insatiable appetite for television. Suffice it to say, if you are eligible to subscribe to CraveTV — particularly at the launch price of $4 per month — it’s an absolute no brainer. No really! There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing right now, call your local cable provider and spend this holiday season holed up in your living room watching the glory that is STAR TREK’s most underrated and under-appreciated gem DEEP SPACE NINE!

Oh wait there is a reason… which brings me to that dark side of the service that I teased earlier in this post.

Related: “How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV”

First and foremost. As a long time Rogers customer, myself — not to mention millions of others across the country — are shut out from this service due to the unholy war between Bell Media and Rogers that does little but infuriate customers on both sides (See: Rogers equally childish treatment of NHL fans who aren’t paying a pretty penny to Rogers each and every month). But even more troubling than Bell Media’s exclusionary policies is that CraveTV’s new business model effectively sidesteps any regulatory issues put in place by the astoundingly ineffective CRTC in terms of their recent purchase of Astral Media. Which is to say. non-Bell subscribers to HBO Canada should all but assume that any new and exciting content will no longer be built around the traditional over-the-air model that many of us have been subscribing to for all these years but rather reserved for CraveTV’s catalogue. Case in point, Bell Media’s recent announcement that will see a remastered, 16×9, full-frame, high definition version of THE WIRE be exclusively released to CraveTV subscribers this January rather than where it belongs on HBO Canada.

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

And finally, any review of CraveTV wouldn’t be complete without the mention of their advertising strategy. You know those posters and billboards that have been plastered across the city? Well, they’re sort of missing a giant asterisk when it comes to that $4 per month price tag. Just to be clear: CraveTV is only $4 per month if you already subscribe to Bell or one of their partner cable packages. Packages, which after a quick scan online appear to range between $39.99 and $111.95 per month.

All that being said, if you are one of the shrinking number of Canadians who, like us, fork over one hundred plus dollars a month to prop up an antiquated cable model, CraveTV is completely worth it. One can only hope that (a) Bell Media sees the error of their ways and opens up this package to all of Canada as soon as possible. Or at the very least, (b), allows me to a finish binge-watching the fantastic first season of MANHATTAN before they pull my media credentials in response to this review!

Trailer Park: Your First Look at ORPHAN BLACK Season 3

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Press Release: BBC AMERICA’s Peabody Award-winning series Orphan Black is back and the first look at the new season is here! The conspiracy thriller (10 x 60) stars award-winner, Tatiana Maslany, who returns to her unprecedented lead role as multiple clones. More vulnerable than ever before, Sarah, Cosima, Alison, and Helena’s bond will be put to the test with the reveal of highly trained, identical male-soldiers played by Ari Millen. Seen above, Sarah (Maslany) is about to embark on a tense face off with the lethal Rudy (Millen) in a Dyad prison cell. The critically-acclaimed, action-packed series that sparked an inspired fan base named Clone Club, returns to BBC AMERICA, Saturday, April 18, 9:00pm ET.

Morning Static: SURVIVOR, GIRLS, THE GOLDBERGS & More!

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• ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’: Jeff Probst gives exclusive intel on NEXT season
• ‘Girls’ Season 4: Ana Gasteyer & Anthony Edwards to Play Shoshanna’s Parents
• Trend Watch: HBO to Stop Issuing Overnight TV Ratings in Favor of Live Plus 7
• Scoop: Manu Bennett joins cast of MTV’s ‘Shannara’
• Funny Business: Fox’s ADHD Cartoons Find New Home on FXX
• Winning: Charlie Sheen to Reprise His Iconic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Role on The Goldbergs.
• Must Read TV: What Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Showtime and the rest of TV need to resolve to do in 2015
• An up and down year for broadcast: Grading the Big Five networks, plus Univision and Telemundo
• Goodbye, Nation. Goodbye, Blowhard Self. Stephen Colbert Prepares Final ‘Colbert Report’
• ‘Game of Thrones’: See Arya’s radical new costume design.
• The 100 Post Mortem: Star Eliza Taylor Defends ‘Brilliant,’ Heartbreaking Twist
• ‘The 100′ Fall Finale Twist: Insider Details On What’s Next For The Shocked Survivors

On TV Tonight: Thursday December 18, 2014

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NET 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC The Taste How to Get Away with Murder (R)
CBS The Big Bang Theory (R) Mom Two and a Half Men The McCarthys Elementary
CW The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014
FOX Bones 
NBC The Biggest Loser: Glory Days The People Magazine Awards
MISC White Collar (USA) Covert Affairs (USA)
Conan To Go (TBS)

Exclusive: Sadie Calvano Dishes on Continued MOM Drama, and Violet’s Unspoken Fear

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Sobriety, cancer, and teenage pregnancy. Those were just a few of the issues tackled on season one of “Mom.”

In season two of the hit CBS sitcom (Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c), things aren’t getting any less complicated as Violet and Christy work through their strained mother-daughter relationship. In tomorrow night’s fall finale, Christy and Bonnie join Violet in therapy, and family secrets are revealed.

Earlier this week, I spoke exclusively with the 17-year-old Sadie Calvano about her role as Violet, and what it’s like to play a flawed person in a series dependent on the limitations of its characters. We also spoke about some of her favorite on-set moments, and the dream it has been to perform in front of a live studio audience. [Read more...]

Morning Static: THE SIMPSONS, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, COLBERT REPORT & More!

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• ‘The Simpsons’ at 25: Still going strong and rolling in the d’oh
• Much Adieu About Something: 49 Stars, Musicians, Authors, and Other Celebrities Say Farewell to Stephen Colbert
• ‘B.S. Report’: Larry David on the Future of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and the ‘Seinfeld’ Finale
• And You Thought Traffic Was Bad Now! Walking Dead Spinoff Setting Revealed.
• This Week in Tech: NBC to Live Stream Network Shows
• The Business of Show: Coca-Cola Ends Sponsorship Of ‘American Idol’
• WATCH: Comedy Central Promos ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’
• The year in comic book TV: Go small or go home?
• Funny Business: After decades, NBC scraps Thursday night comedies

On TV Tonight: Wednesday December 17, 2014

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NET 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC The Middle (R) The Goldbergs (R) Modern Family (R) blackish (R) blackish (R) blackish (R)
CBS Survivor: San Juan del Sur
CW Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown The 100
FOX Hell’s Kitchen American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
NBC Michael Bublé’s Christmas in new York The Sing-Off
MISC WWE Tribute to the Troops (USA) Ascension (Syfy) Top Chef (Bravo)
Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)

Morning Static: GLEE, ARROW, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER & More!

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• Super News: Marc Singer joins ‘Arrow’
• The year late-night got it right… and dodged another meltdown
• Scoop: Cicely Tyson lands mystery role on ‘How to Get Away with Murder’
• Gracepoint: No Season 2 for Fox’s Mystery-Drama
• Casting Coup: Christina Hendricks Joins Roadies in Cameron Crowe’s Showtime Pilot
• Yes Please: Study Shows That Consumers Want a TV Guide
• This fall’s real TV winner: The DVR
• Prepare to Let It Go: Your First Look at the Final Season of GLEE.
• Cannot Wait. BETTER CALL SAUL Poster Revealed.
• Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: 25 Best ‘Stephen Colbert’ Moments