By Darren Johnson
When buying holiday presents on Amazon this past year, I realized we were eligible for the academic incentive called Student Prime because a couple of us in the house have .edu email addresses. Student Prime works for college students, faculty and staff — just use your .edu address to register.
With Student Prime, you get six months of free Amazon Prime — meaning, free two-day shipping on items that leave the Amazon warehouse. There are other bonuses, too, such as, if you opt out of two-day shipping on some items, Amazon will credit you $5 for pantry purchases. I get free coffee K-cups that way.
At the end of the six-month trial, students pay $49 a year for Prime, which is half the normal charge. But even if you just order a handful of textbooks each year from the site, that fee is more than fair just to save on shipping, and to get the books quicker.
But I’m finding an even better perk is the free Amazon Instant the Prime Student membership includes. Holy cannoli! This may be better than Netflix.
You can download the Amazon Instant app on any device that also lets you watch Netflix or Hulu. I use an old Wii and have Instant play on my TV set. Other video game systems also have this ability.
Amazon Instant has lots of free fare for Prime members, and the movies and TV shows seem more current than the old content Netflix tries to pass off as new.
The first show I queued up is exclusive to the service, “The Man in the High Castle,” an alternate reality series loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 book, where, because FDR had been assassinated, the US doesn’t get out of the Depression fast enough and doesn’t enter World War II in time, and the Axis wins. The US is divided between Japan and Germany. Hitler is still alive — barely — and is governing from afar.
Stylistically, this show is eerily beautiful but the plot seems to move along way too slowly. What I’d like to see are American militias and such forming and fighting the Axis from within. Instead, we get some individual stories of quiet rebellion and intrigue. That said, I haven’t gotten to Season 2 yet, and Season 1 was just outside-the-box enough to get my attention and pique my curiosity enough to continue.
Some Free HBO, Too
Amazon Instant also seems to have several HBO series on it, free for Prime members.
What is certainly “new to you” is “The Sopranos,” often considered the best TV series of all time (and subsequent greats like “Breaking Bad” surely would not exist without it). The average reader of this column was just a baby when this series hit in 1999, and it hasn’t played much on regular TV. Besides, this series was the first to have a lot of “adult content.” It doesn’t translate well to regular TV.
But it holds up excellently, and, because it had only aired on HBO and somewhat sporadically over its six years, I had never really seen it before, either, except for an episode here and there. Marathon watching this complex crime drama is much better, because episodes tie into each other and there are a lot of references that hearken back to past episodes.
As an added bonus, it was filmed in Northern New Jersey and New York, so you can perhaps identify its various locales. Just brush up on your Italian-American slang beforehand.
For a direct link to Amazon Student and to get six months free, go to www.cccnews.info/amazon. Again, you must have a .edu address. Have fun!
Started seven years ago, “It’s New to You!” was the first column to discover hidden gems on Netflix and other services. Read more reviews at www.Nu2u.info.