Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sponsored Post: William Shatner DVD Club


OK, yes, I'm a William Shatner fan. Really. Say what you will about his florid acting style, there's only one real Star Trek and none of those pale spinoffs will ever match up to it. He didn't steer me wrong when he pointed me at Priceline, either. I can even dig his rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

So, when I signed up with PayPerPost (another story, and one which I will tell separately -- for now, suffice it to say that I'll make it clear when I'm "blogging for dollars" and that I won't do so for products or services I don't see some merit in), I thought it was kind of cool that the first listed opportunity was:

Get Your Free Sci-Fi Movie From William Shatner!

"Determining what movies get broad distribution and studio marketing support is a complicated process, and unfortunately the caliber of the film isn't the only consideration," Shatner says in the club's publicity material. "I've chosen a select group of memorable and entertaining sci-fi movies that never got the exposure they deserved, and made them available to fans everywhere at a great price."

The short and sweet:

- Free trial, free movie. If you don't agree that Shatner's sending you good stuff, you can kick out.

- The price really is great -- a film a month for $49.95 per year. It's touted as $4 a film (I believe there's a bonus DVD or two included). These aren't rentals, either: You get to keep the movies.

- Hey ... it's William Shatner. What could possibly go wrong? [Cynicism alert: Yes, I know that he may be just a figurehead, with a boiler room staff using his name and likeness. But ... it's William Shatner, guys! Other than Rush, he's probably the best thing to come out of Canada since, well, the founding of Canada. If it's a boiler room staff, they picked a good figurehead, so they can probably pick good movies.]

Some spare thoughts:

- The one fly in the ointment for me is the annual billing. I'd be willing to pay more -- $4.95 or $5.95 per month -- if I could be billed monthly.

- The films featured on the club's site actually look quite good. Everyone loves a blockbuster, but let's face it ... the better science fiction films of the last few years have been lower-budget flicks that were either way under-promoted (Equilibrium, for example) or promoted grassroots guerilla style (Serenity comes to mind). Do you think V for Vendetta would have been flogged hard (or even have been made) if the Wachowski Brothers hadn't passed a bankbook miracle with Matrix?

For whatever reason, be it love or money or both or something else entirely, Shatner's taken an interest in associating his name with getting good films to people who don't require a $60 million opening weekend as an endorsement.

I haven't signed up ... yet. That annual billing thing is a hard bump for for a cheapskate like me to get over. But I expect I'll either cave in or at least put it on my birthday wish list. The idea of a new science fiction movie every month at that kind of price is too good to pass up.

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