As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages
Just in case you've been living in a rented storage locker with no Internet access for the past five years, I'll clue you in on a little secret: TV ain't just on TV anymore. People are demanding more from their entertainment choices, and with the bump in computer processor and modem speed in recent years, watching movies and television shows on your computer at home is completely feasible these days. In the case of the Internet, that means websites where you can see what you want, when you want. One of the best for watching TV without the TV is crackle.com. If you love old television shows, it's got full seasons of tons of your favorites: “Charlie's Angels,” “Fantasy Island,” FX's breakout hit “Rescue Me,” the geek-beloved ode to high school losers “Square Pegs,” animated faves like “The Tick,” and classics like “The Addams Family” and “Bewitched” — plus dozens more. If movies are more your speed, it's got dozens and dozens of those too, ranging from classics to cult favorites: “Anaconda,” “Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams,” “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes,” “Groundhog Day,” “Devil in a Blue Dress,” “Roxanne,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Karate Kid,” the vast majority of the “Godzilla” movies and much, much more. If that's not enough, Crackle is also one of the pioneers on the web when it comes to the next generation of entertainment: slick, made-for-the-net series like “The Bannen Way” and “Thirty Days of Night” that feature production values that will make you think you're watching a Hollywood movie. The flicks and television shows are streaming video, like YouTube, so you don't have to wait for a download to your computer, and there's no fee to watch (you have to sit through a short commercial every 15 minutes, but that's it). Best of all, it's legal and on the up and up, so you don't have to worry about the FBI coming to bug you. If you're on a High Speed Internet connection, go check it out.
SURVIVOR: HEROES VS. VILLAINS
7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11
While the CBS show “Survivor” is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to reality show fare (or maybe that should be: “The Typhoid Mary of our cultural decline”), that kind of seniority comes at a cost. After 19 versions and 10 years — years which have seen the genre spawn hits like “American Idol” and “Fear Factor,” and countless other permutations — “Survivor” might be a little old hat for many viewers. After all, there's only so many times you can watch greedy, emaciated fools dine on Rat Surprise before you say enough is enough. For this reviewer, “Enough” was about four seasons back. That said, I may have to tune in for the 20th installment of the Survivor saga: “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.” Here, most every one of the baddies and goodies from the past decade is lumped together on the island of Samoa and let go at it for a million bucks. (I say “most every” because one hated face you won't be seeing is first-season winner Richard “The Naked Guy” Hatch. Hatch dodged the taxes from his million-dollar winnings, and is currently on probation. When he asked a judge to release him from probation in order to compete in “H vs. V,” his request was denied.)
9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14
Let's talk about sex, baby. That's right: Sex. Just as there is a socket for every bulb, there's a freak for every freak — from the plain vanilla to wasabi-flavored. If you're into it, there's a great chance that somebody out there is into it too. Try the Internet. They've got more flavors than Baskin-Robbins on there, pal. But, to get to my point: While it's kind of a sad commentary on our society that there are those who'd rather sit at home on Valentine's Day and watch some show about the Horizontal Tango instead of actually DOING the Horizontal Tango, who am I to judge? To each his own, I say! And if amazing facts about your various hoo-hahs, ding-dings, ta-tas and goobers are your thing, this show might just be the perfect foreplay. Here, sociologists, poll-sters and sexologists seek to provide viewers with facts about human sexuality in America, including the average number of life-time partners for men and women, as well as other — ahem — stimulating data.
— David Koon