Tube Talk: Rectifying Rectify

By Paula Hendrickson

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been a Comcast cable subscriber for a long time. The service is usually good, but the rates keep skyrocketing. (A big reason for that? The exorbitant licensing fees they have to pay to air sporting events, which really irks me since I never watch sports. I keep asking them to develop a sports-free package, but for some reason they never seem to listen.)

One of the things included in my cable bill is On Demand. I love being able to catch up on shows I missed or didn’t think to record. I also pay for HD service. Not all channels are available in both standard definition and high definition, but Comcast’s On Demand service includes HD versions of some channels we don’t get in HD here in Rockford. Including Sundance TV.

One of my favorite series happens to be Sundance’s slow-burning drama “Rectify” – which airs its series finale December 14. Since everything looks short and squat when you switch from HD to standard def, I’ve always waited a day and watched Rectify On Demand in HD.

Funny thing. Episode 6, which originally aired November 30, still hasn’t turned up On Demand. Episode 7 is there, but not 6. And this is a serialized drama, so watching episode 7 without seeing 6 would be pointless.

Another funny thing; it’s next to impossible to find local phone numbers for any Comcast offices. Their toll-free customer service number is a black hole in which one could be lost several hours without ever reaching a human being. That’s why I tweeted Comcast last week to ask when Episode 6 would be available. They told me Sundance hadn’t yet “released it for On Demand.” Right.

I asked a PR contact at Sundance about it, and she passed my inquiry along to a colleague who could try to figure out what was going on. She said told their “alt platform team” told her the HD version of Rectify should be in Sundance’s video-on-demand folder on Comcast.

I direct Tweeted that bit of information to Comcast along with a photo of my TV screen showing episodes 402HD, 403HD, 404HD, 405HD and 407HD, but no 406HD. Comcast’s reply said they’d “reached out” to their On Demand team about the missing episode and would provide an update when they hear back. That was December 10.

I just checked On Demand and the episode still isn’t there. Could I watch it online? Maybe, but why watch on my tiny computer monitor or an iPad when I should be able to sit in a comfy chair with two dogs on my lap and watch it on my actual TV using a service I pay for?

This morning I nudged Comcast again – saying I knew what this week’s column would cover – and was told they will let me know as soon as they know when it will be available. If anyone from our local Comcast office is reading this: That call you got from Sundance on Tuesday morning was directly related to this complaint.

Rectify airs its final episode this week, and because of Comcast’s little glitch – and inability to correct it in a timely manner – it doesn’t look as if I’ll be able to view the series finale anytime soon. I’ll be actively dodging Rectify spoilers until you finally add 406HD to On Demand. (No matter how long that takes episodes 407HD and 408HD had both better still be available after I watch 406HD.)

I hope Daniel, Amantha, Janet, Ted, Teddy, Tawney, and Jared all find some sort of peace, regardless of what form it may take.

I also hope the final season of the show and its astoundingly talented cast – especially Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Clayne Crawford, Adelaide Clemmons, and Bruce McKinnon – are not overlooked by Emmy voters as they’ve been in previous seasons.

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