Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Shabby treatment of vintage TV on streaming services

I witnessed more proof lately that the major streaming services just don't care about presenting older TV shows in decent form. I think the only thing they care less about then 1970s and 1980s TV shows is 1950s and 1960s TV shows. Then again, most of those turn up in good condition. Look at these examples of the shabby treatment of programs from the BOTNS era:

*Diff'rent Strokes: I was excited when Prime Video added the whole run of this beloved sitcom, which we discussed in our Season 2 opener. Yet for some reason, Amazon has episodes edited for syndication! What is this, 1998? There's no call for a major streamer like Amazon to show trimmed versions. I'm pretty sure Starz did show unedited ones. What'choo talkin' 'bout, Bezos?

*A Different World: "Different" show, same story: Streamers unable or unwilling to just put on the show in its original form. I think maybe HBO Max tried to upscale the show or something for HD when it added it in August, but it looks pretty bad, and I think it's cropped to fit the entire screen. Contrast it to Prime Video, of all places, where it is not. Are HBO viewers clamoring to have Whitley's head fill the entire screen?

*Three's Company: Pluto TV added the whole series, which we talk about here, to its on demand section months ago, and foolish me, I thought it would be unedited episodes. Well, the problem is Pluto has its 24/7 channels like the one devoted to this series, and they are showing syndicated prints so they can cram ads into each half-hour. They are using the same versions for the on demand section! I just noticed when I tried to watch an episode recently and saw it was about 21 minutes long.

Maybe "something is better than nothing," but when a better version of a show is available but a streamer can't or won't use it, often that prevents people from seeing the other version. Strokes is no longer on Starz, and Company isn't streaming anywhere else, so fans of those programs are stuck with cut versions.

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