It’s been a busy year over at online streaming service Hulu. After deciding to call off the sale of the online streaming service this past July (for which bidders like Yahoo, Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV were prepared to pay $1 billion), the three owners (21st Century Fox, Disney, and the now silent partner NBCUniversal [Comcast]) decided to double down on the long term future of the streaming service by spending $750 million on streaming content and personnel, to keep up with the likes of rival Netflix.
The first fruits of that expenditure began to arrive this week with a deal with BBC Worldwide to bring a rotating selection of the huge BBC library to the streaming service, starting almost immediately.
Here is roughly how the deal with BBC Worldwide shakes out in terms of content:
- Science fiction and adventure programming arrives starting September 18th, with titles like the new Doctor Who, Classic Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Life on Mars, Red Dwarf, Robin Hood, and Primeval.
- Drama, both classic and modern, arrives next on September 24th with shows like Sherlock (with Benedict Cumberbatch), Luther (with GoD favorite Idris Elba), Wallander (with Kenneth Brannaugh) and such well-known Masterpiece Theater fare as Upstairs, Downstairs.
- Comedy is the word of the day on October 1st, with the first arrival of Britcoms like Absolutely Fabulous, The Young Ones, Blackadder, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and Fawlty Towers.
- Finally, the picture completes on October 8th with the addition of factual and documentary programming that the BBC is known and renowned for, such as Top Gear and the many nature documentaries by Sir David Attenborough.
While there is not doubt that this a good thing, Geeks of Doom has one complaint: the small amount of Classic Doctor Who programming. The 50th Anniversary year of the show starts on November 23rd, and while the 170-odd episodes now available on Hulu Plus sounds like a lot of material, Classic Doctor Who ran for 26 years, including a staggering 40+ weeks a year for the first six years.
Viewed that way, the 170 episodes is a drop in the bucket. Granted that a lot of the material from the 1960s was purged to reuse expensive video tape and reclaim space in the 1970s (a blunder up there with wiping the original video of the Apollo 11 moon landing, in our opinion), there are approximately 20 complete seasons of material that could be viewed, along with parts of six huge others. That’s almost as much material as The Simpsons.
The current library of material brings Hulu Plus to parity with Netflix. Either or both services need to start offering whole seasons of material, not whole multi-part stories.