Watching streaming TV is supposed to be great. You get whole seasons dumped at once, so you can watch them however you prefer. There's just one problem.
Not to be an old fart yelling about how TV was when I was growing up, but all of television used to air for everyone at the same time — in prime time, when it was easy to watch. The big boon for this — if you don't already see where I'm going — is that it helped prevent spoilers.
Sure, new cable and broadcast programs such as Better Call Saul and Abbott Elementary still do that now, but all of the stuff on Netflix and Hulu arrives in the dead of night. This is great for some, but I think it's the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
Prime Video found another way
If you are on any social media, you knew that Stranger Things 4 needed to be binged immediately because the spoilers were out there. It's the kind of annoyance that led me to speed-watch the show the night after it came out, which I didn't really love.
Or you just stay off social media altogether, develop a graduate-level knowledge of mute functions or just accept spoilers. Either way, this isn't a good way for things to work. Thankfully, Prime Video understands this is an issue, and used Twitter to reveal how it was fixing things. Check out this tweet from The Boys' official account.
#TheBoysFinale has landed — all wrapped up in daddy issues and the American flag. pic.twitter.com/iVD5UvRdDcJuly 8, 2022
Note that this tweet was published at 8:04 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. That's the day before The Boys season 3 finale was "supposed" to drop. The Boys had been doing this all season, including with the premiere, and I love it.
Those who are aware of these drops can watch those episodes that night, and not have to worry about spending the next day dodging spoilers. For example, I'd probably watch Disney Plus shows in the morning they release, even if I weren't writing about them for work — because of spoilers.
But this wasn't the first time I came across such a reveal.
Apple TV Plus is quietly bucking the trend
The Thursday before the Severance finale, I tucked into the review screeners I had access to, because I wanted to see the finale early. And, then, in a private Discord, I heard that I didn't have to.
Apple TV Plus, apparently, dropped the Severance finale early. Yes, Apple, in its infinite wisdom, has also caught onto how people actually love to watch TV in prime time.
This is almost more of a secret than anything at this point, but it shouldn't be. Because watching it at night, in prime time, just felt right.
Outlook: Why I doubt this will be the new norm
Most of the best streaming services have one thing in common: an international audience. So, by releasing shows on Thursday afternoon (on the west coast) and evenings (on the east coast) in America, they're just really just possibly setting the folks in the UK up for an annoying moment on their social media, waking up to potential spoilers.
This is arguably why streaming services like to release shows at 3 a.m. ET — the typical time shows on Hulu and Netflix drop. Then shows release at 12 a.m. on the west coast, 8 a.m. in the United Kingdom, and later and later down the line. The release date is the same.
Someone once told me this morning-of release schedule was great for them, because they don't have a traditional job and can watch shows in the morning. And, okay, that's fine for them, but to be frank, I'm selfish and don't really think that they should be catering to that crowd.
I don't know if Netflix will follow suit — nor would it help a lot, as they love to release whole seasons that are difficult to finish in a single evening — but I would love it if all of the streaming services would consider this new way of doing things. I'll continue to keep my eye out to see if Amazon and Apple keep bucking this trend, but I wanted to give them their roses for at least trying this out.