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The Darkest Timeline Strikes Again

EMERGENCY BROADCAST ALERT: With only one week's warning, Television Without Pity is shutting down and taking all its recappy goodness down on April 4th. Great news to break on my birthday, guys. Thanks.


I am so devastated, I can't even function, I've just shut down. I don't care about the forums, entertaining though they were to pass the time, or even about the fun content lists they started doing circa 2007 or their awesome annual Tubey polls and awards...BUT THE RECAPS.

That is a literal lifetime's worth of fandom memories. At least half the shows I've ever fangirled has recaps there, not always the whole way through, but often several seasons. And then there were the shows I didn't watch, but enjoyed reading recaps of for the snark. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of valuable recaps on there. Even if you could make each recap show on a single page instead of 20 clicks, which there is supposedly maybe a Greasemonkey script to do, with that many shows times X number of seasons and ONE WEEK to do it, you could never hope to save everything.

Unless you had a massive fandom army to help you. I've seen Tumblr make fandom posts get 6-figure note counts; there HAS to be a mobilizing effort of there. But everyone is panicking and no one seems able to orchestrate efforts, not least because due to some fucking legalese, you apparently can't ~legally~ orchestrate any efforts to save the material because the content is copyrighted, and not to the people who wrote it. Tumblr doesn't seem to have a problem with public illegality, given how gaily people pass around and reblog download links for TV shows and movies, but I still haven't seen any concentrated efforts and it's terrifying me.

Chris offered to help me, willing to devote a few hours of his time to a dogged copy and paste method for anything I really wanted, but I'm so hysterical I can't even remember which recaps I like best so I can give him a favorite to focus on -- which are funniest vs. thoughtful vs. just sweet and heartwarming. I know Survivor's always been hilarious, but there are 20+ seasons -- an impossible effort. Same for American Idol, albeit with only 7-10 good seasons. And I know Doctor Who was pretty pretentious and probably not one I would put at the top of my priority list? (OR: was it actually secretly brilliant and full of thought-provoking intellect?) But beyond that, LOOK. These are all of the recaps I have enjoyed at one point or another, with moderate to excessive intensity, because the site has been around fourteen damn years, a/k/a literally my entire fandom life and then some:

[List Format]
30 Rock
American Idol
Boston Public
Chuck
CSI
CSI: Miami
Dark Angel
Doctor Who
ER
Glee
Glee Project
Gossip Girl
Grey's Anatomy
House
How I Met Your Mother
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
Joan of Arcadia
Life Unexpected
Lost
My Name is Earl
Off the Map
Pirate Master
Pretty Little Liars
Private Practice
Pushing Daisies
Revolution
Sex and the City
Siberia
Sleepy Hollow
Smash
So You Think You Can Dance
Terra Nova
The Amazing Race
The O.C.
The Office
Under the Dome
X-Files
(not to mention all the recaps I would have read had I gotten around to seeing the shows)
(also, I could have sworn I read Harper's Island recaps, but I don't see it in their list)

I think I remember House being pretty funny, because it was Sara M.? And I feel like The O.C. was valuable in some way, because same person, but I just don't know. It's all very upsetting and I cannot think straight and I have no idea what to do.


I just don't understand why the jackass megagiant corporation that now owns the site and all its content would rather yell "BECAUSE COPYRIGHT!" and destroy all that work instead of either a) selling it for whatever price they can get, because you KNOW we could raise a massive influx of cash -- like, I would donate up to $20 right now if somebody could save it -- or b) if that's too much hassle, then just let it go to anyone who wants it. by giving significant advance notice about the site going down and not seeing boo about owning content.

If there is some kind of legal bullshit at play, like the kind that pops up in divorce cases that leads to selling things off instead of letting either spouse keep them, or something that involves some kind of tax loophole or other incentive if they destroy content and write it off as a loss, I will ragestroke out. Best case scenario is that they're holding it to see if they can sell it later, but...I feel doubtful. So again I say, COME ON, PIRATES AND/OR NINJAS. This is way more important work than distributing TV show episodes to people in places where they can't buy said shows on the official market. Nobody can buy recaps that don't exist.

The forums are still up, but I can't wade through any more pages of the thread about the closure when the #1 rule is "no badmouthing the parent companies," like there is absoutely any reason to refrain from doing that, the JACKASSES. ("It was a business decision, it's been made, it's over" -- no, that is not an acceptable or professional answer. I need to know the exact details of the business deal, or I will turn all liberal paranoia on you and assume it's because you're a rich and greedy bunch of corporate fat cats. If you do not grant me the courtesy of having an open discussion about why you did the things you did so I can explain why you should not have done them, you do not deserve the courtesy of being treated with respect. I'm seeing "after failing to find a buyer," but since I saw no public auctions where I could buy the site for $5, that sounds more like "couldn't get a good enough price" and brings me back to "greedy corporation," in the absence of further detail.)

I heard legend that Google Cache or maybe even the Wayback Machine might be able to rustle some pages up...but for the cache, I'm worried NBCUni might somehow have the pull to get that deleted -- some pages, after all, say they can't show that information, and I'm never sure why -- and the Wayback Machine is still not a perfect creature, though it is certainly to be considered a demigod and has been helpful over the years. It's worked on a couple so far, but somehow I'm worried that will change when the main site is gone. That said, it'd be really handy to only have to save URLs and not entire recaps. I could probably manage that for at least a dozen shows.

In other news, I fucking hate the impermanency of the internet. Dear everyone who is responsible for making the internet fast enough that people use multiple .gifs instead of words and have videos on all their websites: FOCUS ON FINDING A WAY TO MAKE IT CHEAP AND EASY TO ARCHIVE COMPLETE WEBSITES ON THE INTERNET FOREVER SO NO ONE HAS ANY REASON NOT TO DO IT. Thank you.

Also, this article is making me rage.  "The longform recap “feels like a relic of a time when there wasn’t video online — they really served a functional purpose. In some cases, we would hear, ‘I’m overseas, I can’t watch Angel!’ Their only recourse was the recaps.” WTF? Um, no -- you read a recap to find out the recapper's take on a show, to see if they noticed the same things or if they had better or funnier insights. You read a recap after you watch a show, as a way to digest it and maybe pick up on things you missed. You get to walk through the episode without actually having to load and skip through an episode, fondly remembering highlights before you move on to discussion, and then you giggle at the snarky bits or humorous observations along the way.

I also saw some dingbat young'uns on Tumblr agree that reading a long recap was "irrelevant" when they could just "pull the episode up online somewhere." FALSE. You don't read recaps in lieu of watching because you can't; if you do that, you choose to do it because you want to find out what happens in detail very quickly, without sitting through the whole thing.

The worst part is people saying that "TV discussion happens in real time now, on social media sites." Which, again: IS STUPID. Not only is it distracting as fuck to update online while you're watching, and a really stupid way to watch TV, but steam-of-consciousness thoughts are so BANAL. You can't form an accurate opinion when you've only seen part of the picture. I don't even post my award show liveblogs live, when the point is reacting because each complete thing only takes a couple of minutes -- I clean them all up nice and tidy first, often using the power of hindsight, even if that does make them irrelevant to most people.

Granted, I myself have not visited the site much lately. But it's not for any of the above reasons, it's just that I am only watching (and not behind on) like two shows they still cover, and often I don't even have time to watch those on time, limiting my willingness to check the site lest I be spoiled. Plus the shorter they get, the less funny the recaps become, which feeds into itself in a vicious cycle (LOOKING AT YOU, HIMYM).

...that was a really, really long rant, but I'm just that upset. I shall have to table my other TV talk for a new post.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
penmage
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:12 am (UTC)
If there's any widespread saving effort, point me to it--I'm happy to spend a few hours saving recaps if there's a place to put them. Mark me down for a few seasons of Survivor or something.
rainbowstevie
Apr. 3rd, 2014 03:26 am (UTC)
Oh, good news I have been meaning to update -- as of yesterday ("Not an April Fool's joke") they've said the recaps will be staying online after all, in one form or another. So everyone can breathe a bit easier for now. But awesome offer!
penmage
Apr. 4th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
THAT IS THE BEST NEWS EVER OMG.

Srsly, I have been binge-watching TV so I could watch it and then read the TWoP recaps before they vanished forever.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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