This summer saw an explosion of short-lived vintage TV on Crackle--some of it beloved, some of it surprising in its addition, some of it just bizarre. it felt like anything in Sony's vaults was fair game, and Crackle became the most surprising and interesting SVOD service out there.
Then came October 1. As I checked to see what new material was added, I discovered that while a few things might be new--That Girl, for one--most of that cool stuff added over the summer was now gone!
Bridget Loves Bernie, Camp Runamuck, Hawk, Occasional Wife, The Fantastic Journey...all gone. Even series that had been on a little longer like My Two Dads were no longer there. Because I am in the habit of checking Crackle multiple times a week, I can report that some series like Mr. Merlin, Living Dolls, and UPN Chris Hardwick-starrer Guys Like Us (!) were on Crackle a day, maybe two, before vanishing.
I went to the source and asked Crackle's customer support. Here is our exchange:
What happened to the dozens of rare shows you added recently, like Hawk, Melba, Occasional Wife, etc.? It's like overnight half of your TV library disappeared without notice. Are they off temporarily?
Thanks for contacting Crackle Support. We change our content the first day of every month and we are glad to hear from our users and consider every show & movie they suggest to us. Some movies and shows are only available for a limited time due to agreements with programming providers. Please check back as it may return another time. The best way to stay up to date on Crackle’s programming is to sign-up for our newsletter emails on your account settings.
Any request you send is going to be analyzed by the Programming Team.
We hope you continue streaming shows & movies on Crackle.
Crackle Customer Support
Obviously this is not the whole story. Most of these series were added in scattershot fashion at random times during the month. Many were missing episodes. The Famous Teddy Z debuted with the first handful of its episodes, then finally added the rest...only to be purged with so many others in October. There's no way someone licensed Guys Like Us for two days.
This weekend, a few shows, like Melba, returned. Others were added, like The Beverly Hillbillies and Bonanza--but that's no gain. It's the same public domain episodes available all over the place. Where are the rarities like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (yes, there was a TV show)?
My theory was that the shows had a "soft opening" and weren't really supposed to be there. It's tough to tell since Crackle doesn't seem to promote complete lists of what is coming each month. I also thought shows were temporarily pulled to give them time to assemble more episodes and then re-add them. Yet the service rep didn't want to admit that if true. Plus Melba is still only there in partial form.
What is going on here? Why offer so much and then yank it without warning? BOTNS will continue to monitor this developing situation!
UPDATE 10/5: Most of the shows have returned to the service after an absence of several days, and in fact Crackle issued a press release listing them among the many new shows coming to the service in October. In fact, there are several more coming soon according to this.
That's all well and good, but I still wonder what happened. And if the series were coming right back after a temporary break for some reason, why not just tell me that instead of spitting out some corporate gobbledygook? How about something like, "Hey, don't sweat it, they'll be back soon. In fact, we're also getting Crazy Like a Fox, which might make a fun episode for your podcast!"