Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

The Column: Oh, the comforts of binge-watching via streaming services

What time do you hit the hay?

For us it’s midnight — sometimes 1 a.m. — depending on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

We are streaming fools these days.

Hooked on British police procedurals and courtroom dramas, we binge ourselves silly and retire yawning and glassy-eyed but secure that — most times — justice prevails.

Recently, we knocked off three seasons of “Silk,” about a brilliant and high-minded London defense attorney, and before that, “Luther,” starring the fabulous Idris Elba as a gritty and occasionally unglued detective, and now we’re into DCI Banks, a melancholy, middle-age gumshoe with a mighty sense of righteous indignation and major crush on his pretty partner, Annie.

Great stuff, beautifully produced, and with a sense of soul and human frailty.

It’s not just the Brits keeping us awake. We watched American-made “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” (new season soon to start: yippee!), “Get Shorty” and, most recently, George Clooney’s “Catch-22,” not to mention Nordic noir and thrillers from Iceland, France, Italy and Spain.

“Come on, just one more episode,” I’ll say to my wife, Wink.

“Just one,” she’ll reply, yawning. “Let me get up and stretch first.”

Our midnight obsession — chocolate bark and peanut butter cups also rate mention — is nothing remarkable in these digital days.

It helps, of course, if you don’t have to get up for work in the morning. Senior citizenry has its share of drawbacks — where to begin? — but exemption from early reveille is, for sure, a plus.

While watching ace detectives foil the bad guys from the vantage point of your own sagging couch — old blue quilt covering creaky knees — is terrific fun, I have begun thinking: Is this a good thing? What about the movies?

The film industry insists it is not worried, but there are signs streaming is a threat.

Hollywood Reporter, the trade publication, said a recent study showed at-home services will top movie theater revenue worldwide this year — it’s already so in the United States — and who could be surprised?

You can buy a month’s worth of streaming for the price of admission to the multiplex, nuke a bag of Orville Redenbacher and not have to put up with the guy doing a forensic crime analysis for his wife one row back. (“Exactly as I thought, Doris. It was the fellow with the mole on his chin.”)

But, really, where are we headed?

Even with exorbitant prices at the ticket booth and concession stand, despite ads loud enough to fry your hearing-aid circuits and hallucinogenic coming attractions hinting at an impending apocalypse — whatever the drawbacks, don’t you love going to the movies?

For me, the Saturday matinee is where life first opened up. Sitting in the dark at Loew’s Alpine Theatre on Fifth Avenue and 69th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was like being on an express train to everywhere.

I think maybe it was 25 cents at the ticket window. Mom sent me off with an extra two bits, which meant I had enough for a big box of Good & Plenty or Jujubes or licorice Crows — all the food groups being represented.

The lineup was the same each week. Newsreel, five cartoons — five! — then a double feature, mostly westerns.

Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, Johnny Mack Brown, Randolph Scott, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Alan Ladd — sharpshooting, two-fisted cowpokes who assured law and order, ran the rascals out of town and wowed the rancher’s daughter or pretty schoolmarm.

At some point, of course, the daughters and schoolmarms — and occasional lonely widows — offered more reason for throwing down a quarter at the Alpine than watching Lash LaRue disarm a bank robber with his bullwhip.

My sudden interest in Jane Russell, Virginia Mayo and Katy Jurado signaled a new phase. What is this thing called love? I couldn’t sleep after seeing Ava Gardner in “One Touch of Venus.” Kathryn Grayson in “Kiss Me Kate” threatened a cardiac event. I can’t remember the movie but a Swedish actress named Mai Zetterling made me think 11 really wasn’t too young to get married.

I’ve been crazy about movies ever since, and Wink and I still go to the theater, sure.

But, gee, it’s awfully easy to sit on our lumpy couch after the dishes are done, punch up Netflix and stream deep and dreamily into the night. I hope we’re not doing our part to make movie houses go away. Home is nice and Wink is my real-life Ava Gardner, but, at least in memory, nothing beats the Alpine.

More Lifestyle