The Stately Home Show
Tomorrow night, and half a world away, the Right Honorable Lord Fellowes will utter a genteel “Ahem…” and throngs of loyalists of every class and distinction will prostrate themselves before their screens in rapt attention and reverent silence. Tears will be shed, mountains moved, new romance will blossom, and hearts left raw after last season’s brutality will slowly begin to heal.
Of course, you won’t know anything about it.
Because you live in the cradle of liberty. O America, land of the free and home of the brave! A bastion of capitalism and free markets… in which the public broadcasting behemoth we suckle with our tax dollars has decided us Yanks — even us Southern ones — don’t deserve to watch The Stately Home Show in communion with our British counterparts.
Why? Because they just don’t feel like airing it right now. (Probably because it’s a lousy time for a donation drive.)
“Do what the viewers want? Heh-heh-heh. We’re publicly-funded.”
Naturally, all the public broadcasting “executives” don’t care that the plebes must wait another three months to gum Lord Fellowes’ warmed-over table scraps. They’ve already seen advance screenings of the entire season. Probably multiple times so they can piddle out marketing tidbits over the next 12 weeks to keep us baited and forlorn.
Even the possibility of spoilers creeping across the Atlantic — as they did so often last year — left the public television oligarchy unmoved. “You Americans don’t want to see any spoilers? Just ignore the internet, newspapers, broadcast TV, social media, Wikipedia, and any contact with foreign friends or relatives until January. Problem solved. Duh.”
If this were a broadcast station, legions of fans would email, tweet, call, write, and howl until the network reversed its decision. But, as aforesaid, this is public television. We just have to pay for it. We don’t actually have a say.
If I could stop contributing to this epic shakedown, I would. But I ain’t going back to jail.
So all I can do is refuse to play along. To wit, I made a few preparations.
Persons inclined to do likewise might find the following steps instructive:
- Install TunnelBear or another VPN (virtual private network) service on your device of choice. I like TunnelBear because it’s free (data limits apply; more data is available for very modest prices) and easy to set up.
- Turn on the TunnelBear app.
- Set your TunnelBear to “UK.”
- Visit the ITV player website.
- Thanks to your VPN, the ITV player now thinks you reside in the UK and you can watch ITV programs at will.
So you can wait patiently for your government-subsidized and uniformly-portioned ration of gruel to be served at the appointed time. Or…
You can join me in watching whatever I damn well please as soon as it airs.
I know where I’ll be on Sunday afternoon.
P.S. I have intentionally avoided mentioning specific shows or characters in this post because, while using TunnelBear as described above is perfectly legal, certain of the parties concerned are using cease-and-desist letters alleging copyright infringement to purge the web of anything that might guide disgruntled viewers out of the public television gulag. In that vein, any comments will be moderated.