Peacock's loss is about to be Netflix's gain.
Netflix announced this past week that it was picking up a third season of Girls5Eva, a terrific show about a one-hit wonder girls band from the turn of the Millennium — think Spice Girls, only less British and with less staying power — that's trying to make a comeback in the present day. It's got a great cast (Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Renée Elise Goldsberry and national treasure Paula Pell), and it's put together by the folks responsible for 30 Rock, so it's great news that Netflix is bringing the show back.
Just one thing — the previous two seasons of Girls5Eva didn't feature on Netflix. Instead, they aired on Peacock, which is unceremoniously dumping the show.
It's safe to say Girls5Eva is the main reason why Peacock gets my hard-earned $4.99 every month. I watched a preview of the show when it debuted back in 2021, got hooked, noticed some other things on Peacock that I enjoyed and stuck with the service to this day. For a while during that period, I'd even make the case that Peacock was the best streaming service, though HBO Max has since come along to brush Peacock aside.
It hasn't helped that there's been a decided shift in Peacock's programming approach. Just in the past year, Peacock has binned two shows I really enjoyed, AP Bio and Rutherford Falls. Another great program, We Are Lady Parts, was renewed for a second season a year ago, but there's been radio silence about its status ever since. In the meantime, Peacock has decided that the way to people's hearts, minds and wallets is through true crime, a genre that leaves me as cold as the bodies piling up in Peacock's remaining originals.
The timing of this Girls5Eva news couldn't be worse for Peacock when it comes to retaining my business. Next month, the Premier League shuts down for the World Cup, temporarily removing the last remaining thing I watch on Peacock. To me, that seems like the perfect opportunity to pull the plug on the Peacock, at least for the time being. Maybe I'll remember to renew once the Premiere League returns on Boxing Day; maybe I won't.
And that, to me, is the most liberating thing about this era of streaming services: You can dip in and out whenever you like, depending on what the various services have to offer. Your favorite show is gone from one outlet? Take your business elsewhere.
I am old enough to remember an era where you were at the mercy of TV networks. Back when there were just 13 channels to pick from — children, ask your grandparents — when your favorite show got the ax, you basically had to smush up your disappointment into a tiny ball and hope that whatever program replaced it would be serviceable. Even when cable TV ushered in more choices, you still had to like it or lump it when shows left the air — you wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater just because the Sci-Fi Channel or TBS eighty-sixed one of your darlings.
That's no longer the case now that streaming services are inexpensive, plentiful and free of long-term commitment. Peacock has suddenly dropped all the shows I found worth paying for? Sounds like I better stop paying for them.
Streaming services count on you subscribing once and then forgetting all about managing your subscription once you're hooked. As far as business plans go, banking on the laziness of the American consumer isn't necessarily a bad one. But it doesn't have to be that way — staying on top of what you're paying for and whether you're getting enough in return is a key advantage of using streaming services in lieu of traditional cable TV. It's also why I find the monthly feature my colleague Henry T. Casey writes on which streaming services to cancel to be invaluable to my entertainment budget.
So be ever vigilant about what shows are coming to and going from the streaming services you patronize and use that information to help you decide which ones should get your money, as I'm doing with Peacock. Streaming services don't consult you when deciding which shows to keep and which ones to drop; you should feel free to return the favor.