Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cultureshark Remembers...all those TV shows that have left Netflix

R.I.P., all the older high-profile TV series that left Netflix in the last two months. They include:

*Mission Impossible
*Amazing Stories
*Knight Rider
*Hawaii Five-0 (seasons 1-10 of the original series)
*Miami Vice
*Dragnet (1960s version)
*Leave It to Beaver
*Magnum P.I.
*MacMillan and Wife

Leaving this month: Family Ties and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.

I complained about this a while ago, but I held out hope that Netflix would renew some of its agreements with CBS/Paramount and/or Universal to retain some of these shows. After all, we've had scares before that turned out to be temporary blips with some of the Netflix library programming. Plus many CBS/Paramount and Universal shows remain on Netflix streaming.

However, enough time has passed that I think it's safe to say these shows are gone, and if they come back it's not a renewal of existing agreements, but a new deal of some sort. That's a shame because to me a big part of  the service's value is this back catalog television selection. Netflix has not added much of this lately, which makes the deletion of so much of it all the more alarming.

It's possible that it's not Netflix's decision to remove these shows. CBS has a new (and really lacking) streaming service, and Universal may be funneling more shows to Hulu as exclusives. Plus "Mission Impossible" is now on Amazon Prime. The thing is, Netflix is so opaque about this kind of thing that there is no way of knowing if this is a conscious strategy to de-emphasize older programming.

Let's thing back on the good times we had cramming as much of these programs as we could into our routines before Netflix pulled them. There's a good kind of "binge watching," and then there's the desperation binge watching stemming from the knowledge that the whole damn thing is leaving in a few weeks.

I will fondly remember scrambling to watch Mission Impossible before it expired, then discovering Hawaii Five-0 was leaving. I will look back with a warm feeling as I recall the strange relief I felt when they did expire, immediately followed by the anxiety caused by the realization that even more series were disappearing the next month. Ah, the joys of streaming video. It's been a great summer, Netflix!

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