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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Streaming services are trash

Sometimes I miss cable TV. Yeah, you had to deal with commercials and you might miss your show because of work, but you could rely on it. The shows were always there in their 30-minute or hour time slots, and you had news about renewals or cancellations relatively quickly.

Streaming services have ruined TV.

Shows used to have 20 episodes in a season and you would get a season every single year. It was the best because there was constantly content to watch, yet there was the continuous promise of more on the horizon. Now you have to wait years just to get eight more episodes. Unfortunately, streaming services can do this because they have their own shows, like The Witcher” on Netflix or The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, that aren’t available on cable or broadcast television.

Netflix is a huge perpetrator of these motifs. For example, their animated show “Arcane” is absolutely incredible. I binged the entire thing in two days, but that wasn’t hard because it’s only one season. And that season only has nine episodes, clocking in at roughly 40 minutes per episode. The cartoon premiered in November 2021, and though it has been renewed for a second season, it’s still not out.

Despite winning three Emmy Awards, season two is set to release this November, three years after “Arcane’s” initial release. This is a recurring theme with Netflix. The hit show “Wednesday,” starring Jenna Ortega, was renewed for season two last January, but we haven’t heard a peep since. Supposedly production will begin this April, but what does that mean for a release date? At this rate, Ortega will be in her 30s by the time the show finishes.

Aside from the waits between seasons being long, the episodes’ length is a problem as well. Take Netflix’s pride and joy, “Stranger Things.” The first episode comes in at almost exactly 50 minutes; a completely reasonable length for a TV episode. “The Stranger Things 4″ finale was a whopping 142 minutes, or two hours and 22 minutes. I signed up to watch a TV show, not a feature-length film.

I found this episode hard to watch and not because of gore or stress. No, I found it hard to watch because I didn’t have two and a half hours to dedicate to this show that I started on a whim once.

Platforms like Netflix need to stop and take a page out of someone else’s book. Personally, I’m fan of Hulu and what they’ve done with some of their original shows. For example, their crown jewel, “The Bear”, released its second season in June 2023, one year after season one aired. The show has gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG awards, Critic’s Choice awards and even more along with producing several breakout stars.

It’s also been renewed for a third season which is set to drop this June, one year after season two. While the seasons are on the shorter side with only 10 episodes a piece, this a testament to the fact that streaming services can produce award-winning shows in a timely manner. Additionally, most of their episodes are only 30 minutes long, much more reasonable than that two-and-a-half-hour spectacle from the Duffer brothers.

Streaming services aren’t making easy to access, on-demand TV content anymore. They’ve just reinvented cable. Between the endless Disney+ with Hulu bundles or the rumored Paramount+ and Apple combo, it feels like they’ve just circled back to the advent of cable. These deals are attempts to grab more viewers while minimizing the expenses of production companies. It’s absurd.

Additionally, services like Hulu and Fubo allow you to watch live TV only to then release it on their platform the day after so you can watch it anytime. They also run ads during shows, so it’s almost exactly like watching cable all over again.

Then, add on to that the fact that all of these streaming services have their own personalized shows. This content that’s unique to their platform and can’t be found anywhere, that was the whole motive of cable. You would buy certain bundles or channels to access specific content you couldn’t watch on normal broadcast television.

Television used to be predictable and you could always rely on your 30 minute episodes with new seasons every year. But now everything is a money grab and an attention seeker, you never fully know when something will return or how long it will be. Its time streaming services start making reliable, digestible content again.

This story was written by Izzy Fonfara Drewel. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Izzy Fonfara Drewel
Izzy Fonfara Drewel, Executive Opinions Editor
Izzy Fonfara Drewel is a junior from Papillion, Nebraska majoring in journalism with a double minor in music and Spanish. This school year she will be serving as the Executive Opinions Editor. In previous years, she made her home on the Arts & Entertainment desk as the Executive Arts & Entertainment Editor. Outside of the Wire, Izzy plays the trumpet in the Marquette University Bands and spends her free time trying new restaurants and playing card games with her friends. She is excited to branch out from A&E and dive into a new experience on the Opinions desk.

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