The Streaming Wars: Remakes and Delays

BY JOHN CARTER JR

As Netflix trucks along with new high-quality content every week and in excess, it begs the question of when streaming newcomers HBO Max and Disney+ will deliver on their content commitments. While both streaming services offer a plethora of legacy content, the slow drip of new content has been grueling for fans of upcoming entries in their favorite franchises. 

Both HBO Max and Disney+ sold subscriptions on the promise of new content based on their previously established properties as well as new ones. While it might be said this is the era of the reboot or remake some of the streaming giants have so far made many promises of greenlit reboots without much follow-through. However this is highly correlated with the COVID-19 pandemic halting production on many major projects. Could 2021 be the year we have all been waiting for in regards to new content?

Unlike its competitors, Netflix seems to be thriving in this reboot or remake arena during the pandemic.  Not only did it acquire the rights to the previously YouTube exclusive sequel series Cobra Kai (which stayed is Netflix’s Top-10 for weeks) it also announced its third season will be releasing in January and it is already Greenlit for a fourth season. 

Netflix also revived The Baby-Sitters Club this year which also received a green light for a second season. After a multi-million dollar deal with Ryan Murphy, Netflix was able to deliver even more remakes and reboots. A prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest titled Ratched finally hit the streaming service. According to Netflix “In its first 28 days, 48 million members have booked an appointment with Nurse Ratched, making it our biggest original Season 1 of the year.” 

That’s not the only remake Netflix got out of Ryan Murphy, Boys in the Band also recently launched on Netflix further diversifying the quality LGBTQ+ content on the platform. What’s more fans are ever hungry for even more reboot content, when Hannibal launched on Netflix fans became eager to promote a new fourth season on the platform. The cast and team behind the program even discussed the fan demand in a recent virtual reunion event.

Of all the streaming services HBO Max seems to be the one with the rockiest start and weakest in terms of competition for Netflix. While the platform has an impressive legacy catalog including the DC, Ghibli, and HBO Originals, unlike Disney+ however, its catalog is very incomplete with many entries in its Cartoon Network catalog not showing up at all. 

Shows like Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ed, Edd n Eddy, and more still have not debuted on the platform. While its competitors Netflix and Disney+ have integrated Nickelodeon and Disney Channel content respectively. Netflix had a widely successful launch of Avatar the Last Airbender and it’s sequel series Legend of Korra to boot. However, HBO Max’s new content has certainly been lacking in terms of quantity but not in terms of quality, The recent Lovecraft Country and We Are Who We Are series have been nothing short of amazing.

Since before launch, HBO Max has made many promises for reboots, revivals, and continuation that have either not happened or haven’t finished yet. For example, take Adventure Time Distant Lands. The show has begun but we only recently got the trailer for the next installment in the series. While shows like Infinity Train season three, a continuation of the CN Original, which lasted a few weeks to complete only due to its release being a few episodes a week. 

Unlike other streaming services, at the beginning of their launch HBO Max has decided to stagger episode releases for some its new and reboot content, which begs the question if it is simply due to not having enough content to support the platform. HBO did launch the remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, however, it’s since been labeled with ableist controversy. HBO Max has yet to release The Boondocks reboot, The Gremlins Reboot Gremlins Secret of the Mogwai, or the Famed Zack Synder’s Justice League (also known as the Snyder Cut). 

Disney has had a very successful first year, with CEO of Disney Bob Chapek Saying 

“The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we’re pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”

Disney seems to be doing well with a wider range of legacy content being made available to watch over its first year including Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Channel, Disney Classic, and Pixar films being made available on the platform this year alone but more to come. However given the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney+ has not been able to deliver on all of its year one promises, with Falcon and Winter Soldier being delayed until 2021

However a positive may be that Disney has announced WandaVision will also be releasing in 2021 and has a release date of January 15th. Disney+ is looking to have a bigger 2021 with much of its content being pushed back. This is not only the case for Disney+ but other streaming services and studios as well. However the one question remains, will there be enough room in 2021 for two years worth of content?

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