It’s official. After some false alarms in the past, Netflix is officially losing ‘Doctor Who’… all of ’em. The streaming service has housed not just the Nu-‘Who’ which began in 2005, but classic episodes as well. While ‘Doctor Who’ has been a phenomenon in its native Great Britain for many decades, it was the new episodes, originally produced by Russell T. Davies, followed by Steven Moffatt that have led to the current ‘Who’ mania in the U.S. And Netflix played a large role, allowing newbies to get caught up on the cult favorite series without having to shell out for pricey DVD boxed sets. And if you had backup plans to view the episodes on competing service Hulu, sorry. They’re also losing ‘Who’ at the end of the month. ‘Doctor Who’ will no longer be available on either service after January 31st. If you’re behind, start binging!
The episodes are currently available in two bundles. While the newer episodes, from 2005 to the present are fairly readily available, diehards enjoyed exploring the older episodes which aired from 1963-1989. (Fun fact, the earliest episodes were educational programs meant to teach viewers about history. Not so fun fact, many of the original episodes, nearly 100 total, are forever lost, due to deterioration from poor storage or other means of destruction.) The episodes that survived are not very easy to come by and now will become even harder to find.
Another blow, the versions on Netflix were the uncut versions from the BBC. In the U.S., the show airs on BBC America, but are edited to allow for commercial breaks, something they don’t have on BBC television. This was the primary way that U.S. fans were able to view the episodes as they were intended to be seen.
Seasons 7-9 will remain stream-able on BBCAmerica.com and the show will be available (for more money) on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and other VOD platforms.
In a statement, the BBC announced:
“We hope to announce a new digital partner for Doctor Who shortly.” They also confirmed that they are launching a stateside streaming service but are withholding details until “nearer the time of launch but suffice to say there will be a wide range of programs of various genres and eras, as you would expect from a company with a range of content as deep and wide as [BBC] Worldwide’s, including content that has never been seen before and fan favorites.”
BBC does have its own streaming service, BBC iPlayer, but shut down its international version last year and it was never available in the U.S. or Canada.
What do you think? Do you have faith that a new outlet will emerge making ‘Doctor Who’ available to stream elsewhere?