The unbundling of cable, the decision of millions to go “over the top” and choose instead to get their entertainment directly from the Internet, is one of the great sea changes of this decade, driven by rising costs and (perhaps more important) a shortage of time. Lost may be serendipity, the decision to watch things because they are on.
Today, for instance, I watched George Englund’s The Shoes of the Fisherman, a 1968 MGM film in which Anthony Quinn plays a radical cross between Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis, renouncing communism and wealth at the same time in the name of secular decency. Given that it was made early in the pontificate of Paul VI (John Gielgud gets one scene playing a nice version of Paul, then dies to make way for the plot) it is many decades ahead of its time. (Quinn’s character is even proclaimed a cardinal from Lvov, which is in western Ukraine, and a starving China drives the plot.) But it’s not what I would be watching if I had the whole world to choose from.