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Posted on May 23rd, 2013

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Burning Love is a Yahoo original web series. Starring many funny types such as Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Kristen Bell and June Diane Raphael, it’s a piss-take of reality TV, starting off as a spoof of The Bachelor before developing a focus on Big Brother style shows with its latest edition. Even though spoofing reality TV isn’t so much shooting fish in a barrel as making a barrel out of C4, it manages to do so with such a level of wit and commitment and with a level of deadpanning and seriousness in the performances that takes the whole thing to another level. I recommend checking it out.

Or I would recommend checking it out, if it wasn’t for one small detail…

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Look, I’m getting fed up of this now. I’m getting fed up of being prevented from watching things based on nothing other than geographical location. I’m fed up of having to take the long route to finding these things (and there almost always is a long route available).

Ultimately, this feels like a holdover from the era of pre-web television dominance. In roughly a decade we’ve gone from newspapers ruining George Clooney’s exit from ER on their front pages months before it aired in the UK (I distinctly remember that happening) to the finale of Lost simulcasting on Sky One with the American west coast edition (yes, I did get up at 5am to watch it, and I don’t regret it one bit). Thanks to the internet, the world is a narrower place and accessing shows from across the globe is much easier. It would be nice if those in charge realised this and facilitated this instead of partaking in unnecessary gatekeeping.

Even if I don’t agree with it, I can at least understand something like Hulu blocking out UK viewers from watching their TV shows – a lot of the shows on there do end up on UK channels at some point and they probably don’t want the public having a way of pre-empting their airing. But Burning Love is a web series, and being made free from network ties it has no need for such obtuse chicanery. Why block a series that isn’t going to be seen anywhere else? Why block out things like short clips and sketches from Saturday Night Live (on both Hulu and NBC.com)? What does anybody gain from limiting international exposure of fragments of one of the biggest brands in comedy?

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(especially weird thing about SNL clips: some of them are available to watch in the UK without faffing around. The Digital Shorts mostly seem fine to view, for example, but Stefon clips are not.)

I know there’s ways of accessing Hulu and Yahoo via plugins and the like. I know that Burning Love is available to download from websites. That’s not the point. The point is that I’m forced to use these illicit access points for seemingly no good reason. Look, media companies, I want to access your content, and there’s no good reason for stopping me doing so, is there?


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