A few years ago I cut the cord. After years of trying to wrestle with my increasing cable bill, I went cold turkey. At first I regretted it. I missed my old stations. Especially the well-curated Turner Classic Movies. Then I bought TV antenna and things got a lot better. I knew nothing of what was available on digital TV and I was happily surprised. Many of the TV stations had added retro TV channels. While I had to get used to commercials again, it was like stepping back in time. As more and more of these stations appeared, eventually they started to specialize in programming. This opened up the door to stations like COMET TV.
COMET TV is purely Sci-Fi programming. Plus just like the aforementioned TCM, it is well-curated. From early in the morning to late in the evening, it is Science Fiction programming and I love it. Now what you’re saying, “Why watch commercial TV when you can stream whatever you want?” It is a good question. As a kid this was always my dream. I was driven to the VCR so that I could watch and record things at my leisure. Streaming services are like a dream come true for me, but while making the transition, something went missing.
Now I live in an entertainment echo chamber. Just like social media, I am deciding exactly what I want and I have to work to actively expose myself to new material. Just like social media, I tend to not do it. So my ability to actively discover things is hindered by my inability to make time for the discovery process. Instead I check out stuff my friends online are talking about or I re-watch things I love already.
Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw a movie or TV show that you discovered on your own? I remember watching Doctor Who on PBS as a kid. I knew nothing of it before that moment, but I was enchanted. It was a pure act of discovery that came from an unexpected source. By just turning on a TV, I never knew what I was going to find. That is what I enjoy about watching niche broadcast TV. COMET TV in particular.
I will tune in for an old standard, say The Outer Limits and it will be followed up with the film Beyond the Time Barrier. It is easy to pay lip-service and say that I would be cool enough at some point to watch Beyond the Time Barrier, but it isn’t true. Only by tuning in and allowing someone else to curate content for you do you easily find new things.
It does take some time getting used to commercials, but in a world with social media, it’s not that big of a deal. I take that opportunity to check my email. Maybe I grab a drink. Then the movie returns and I give it my undivided attention.
About COMET TV
COMET got started last year and it showed up one evening after I re-scanned my channels. The name instantly drew me in and I was hooked. They showed slightly more obscure Sci-Fi that I both actively watch or would put on for background. Which was something I did often as a kid.
I have been watching for less than a year and I have probably seen three dozen films that I had never seen before. That is good enough reason to watch, but add to that some great Sci-Fi TV like the Outer Limits and more importantly Mystery Science Theater 3000, and it has become my “Go to” channel.
Are thinking of cutting the cable cord? Well, I want you to know that you can still be entertained, even without an internet connection. Just pick up an HDTV antenna, hook it up to your compatible TV and start watching. This might not be the popular vision of the future of television, but some things from the past are worth holding onto.