This past year has been riddled with uncertainties, sadness and general hopelessness. For many, finding everyday comforts in small things has been the only way to achieve remedy.
As we move closer to the holiday season, I have been looking to long-standing traditions for a way of bringing some normalcy into my life, but only to find that they have disappeared as well. Not only will we miss out on a Thanksgiving Day parade, but now, thanks to streaming service, Apple TV+, we no longer have Charlie Brown available to watch on network television.
The convenience of streaming services has never been more clear, especially during the statewide lockdowns for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I remember pouring many hours into binge-watching just to pass time. However, there is a serious problem with taking away free television traditions like Charlie Brown for families across the country to enjoy.
Streaming services like Apple TV+ and HBO Max have capitalized on their ability to buy out other companies for sole rights to many widely beloved movies and television shows.
Not only does this put lower socioeconomic families at a disadvantage, it also ruins the magic of network television and the way that it has historically brought families together. The idea of not being able to sit around with my family to watch our beloved, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” is truly saddening.
Seasonal shows like the “Peanuts” holiday specials are not the first to be made into subscription-based enjoyment. Back in 2015, HBO bought the rights to first-run episodes of “Sesame Street,” moving its home of almost 50 years from PBS to a paid subscription-based streaming site.
The very idea of having to pay for “Sesame Street” goes against the entire reason that it was created back in 1969.
The show was designed as an educational support system for low-income families who could not afford to send their young children to a daycare or preschool. By having an educational show on public television, it helped alleviate the overwhelmingly large learning gap between children of higher and lower socioeconomic statuses. Now, being only available on HBO Max, its fundamental purpose is lost.
If we continue to allow streaming services to buy the rights to beloved family-friendly programs, we are denying their universal accessibility to others. Many people have become so outraged by the Charlie Brown move to Apple TV+ that online petitions have started popping up on social media; I even signed one.
There is a certain magical element of network television, deeply rooted in American tradition and culture.
By allowing streaming services to supersede that tradition, we are allowing for the erasure of beloved classics for future generations. Companies like ABC, PBS and CBS have carried the torch of broadcasting our favorites, year after year. Now, not having “Sesame Street” or any of the Charlie Brown specials on TV, that magic is dwindling.
It is unknown what these streaming services may take away next, but with their general monetary success, the list of removed classics is sure to grow. While they have brought us many new shows that have worked their way into our hearts, streaming services need to stick to creating more shows, rather than seizing the classics.
I have a Charlie-Brown-sized hole in my heart for this holiday season, which I fear will never be filled again. All I can say to Apple TV+ and their streaming counterparts is, “good grief.”