Spectator: The Future Is Looking Too Cool

Instant CDs! Movie premieres and Macy's at home! Amazing -- and sterile and lonely

When a child of the 1950s was told that video phones and rocket packs were just around the corner, he believed all the giddy hype, desperately wanted every whiz-bang contraption, couldn't wait for the new technological dawn . . . and then waited, and waited, year after disappointing year, making do with aerosol cheese and pocket calculators and feeling finally that those Jetsons promises might never be fulfilled.

Now that the too-good-to-be-true future of our youth is suddenly arriving, however, not everyone is thrilled. A month ago, TCI, the ubiquitous cable-TV company, announced a deal with Carolco, the foundering little movie...