BY IVY VELAZQUEZ
As the end of January drew to a close, an uproar ensued within the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms. On Feb. 1, the shows were taken off of Netflix, along with several other BBC shows, as BBC had not renewed their contract with the streaming website. Many, including myself, were at a loss as to how they would continue to be able to watch the shows on a regular basis.
As confirmations were made that the shows were indeed being taken off Netflix, word came out that BBC had chosen not to renew their contract because they would be launching their own streaming site, which has yet to be named, some time next year. Very similar to Netflix in style, it will feature all shows and movies from BBC, including some of the older ones such as Ricky Gervais’s version of The Office and other lesser-known shows that were never aired in the US, such as Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North.
However, further research revealed that shows that are currently airing on BBC won’t be on the streaming site, at least not right away, due to rights deals that need to be made. This, unfortunately, includes Sherlock and Doctor Who.
So while the site will give America access to older shows that are part of BBC’s long history, fans of current shows won’t be able to binge them so easily. Yes, the shows will eventually be added to the site, but there is no definite time span in which that will happen.
Short of physically buying the seasons, this leaves fans with few options in how to watch these shows. And while many would probably be quite willing to own all the seasons, there is a reason they have relied on Netflix and Hulu up to this point: it’s expensive. A whole season averages about $50 a piece on Amazon. Because of this, fans are forced to look for alternative means of watching the shows.
And most likely these alternative means will be in the form of illegal sites that have pirated the shows. While this is indeed common practice today, it can be dangerous due to viruses hidden within many sites of this kind. Yes, most can be harmless and all the watcher will have to deal with is a bombarge of advertisements. But many could have viruses that could cause computers to shut down completely and cost hundreds of dollars to fix, something that would border on being catastrophic to a college student. However, with little other choice, it is likely these risks will gladly be accepted.
Unfortunately, this is a problem with very few solutions. With online streaming’s rise in popularity, this is BBC’s way of keeping with the times and making more money. But until BBC adds the shows, fans will have to fend for themselves in finding ways to keep up. Perhaps Netflix will double their efforts to reacquire the rights to the shows, at least until BBC gets their’s up and running. However, this is only speculation.
Ivy Velazquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org