Netflix streaming: it's a wonderful way to find innumerable hours of video entertainment. So is Hulu and Amazon, and any of an seemingly growing number of platforms that, for free or for pay, allow you access to such video. And it seems like a perfect system.
Not too long ago, I was watching some really old TV: Maverick, first starring James Garner and Jack Kelly, then later Roger Moore and a few episodes with Robert Colbert. Witty and filled with conman hijinx from the riverboat gambler with a heart of gold (and his brother). I laughed and enjoyed nearly every minute of it, at least until Roger Moore was brought on board. As charismatic as he is, I missed Garner and Kelly. They were the real Mavericks.
Time passes, a year or two, and a buddy of mine asks for a suggestion for something to watch. "You have Netflix streaming?" "Yep." "One word: Maverick."
And so off he went.
Next day, I get an email "Hey, man, I couldn't find Maverick on Netflix". Confused, I looked myself, and sure enough, it wasn't there. Just to be sure, I also looked on Hulu + and couldn't find it. Turns out, it had been removed.
That's right: just because you watched something on Netflix in the past, doesn't mean it will continue to be there.
Now surely there are some of you saying "sure, I knew that. Netflix takes stuff down all the time." Maybe. I certainly didn't know that until one of my favorite shows was removed. And there's usually only one of two reasons it happens: either Netflix no longer wants to pay what the copyright owners want, or else the copyright owners think they can make more money selling their videos elsewhere.
All this is to say that it's just a reminder: if you really love some movie or show, don't count on it being available online. For now, the reasons are mostly due to money. But, much as Song of the South was taken out of circulation by Disney because it reflected unfavorably on their racial history, so too may some program you love be removed from Netflix due to some unforeseen controversy. Who knows what it might be?
The latest casualty is apparently James Bond. According to Gizmodo, on September 2, 17 Bond films will leave Netflix.
Am I worried? Nope. I have them all on DVD, format we all know will last forever.