In February, the BBC demanded Doctor Who episodes be yanked off all American streaming services. At the time, Netflix streamed all the NewWho episodes as well as a large collection of original arcs, and Hulu was streaming every available episode of new and classic Who — amounting to hundreds of episodes spanning 50 years, dozens of specials, and main spin-off shows Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures.
All of this Who-removal seemed to be building toward an imminent announcement about a new BBC-centric American streaming service, perhaps one that was subscription-based. But now it’s been a few months, and with no update on streaming options, it is getting pretty financially brutal out there for the biggest Doctor Who fans who want to watch episodes on demand.
One of the biggest draws of Hulu’s Doctor Who library was that it contained all the surviving episodes of the show, minus a few arcs from the earliest seasons that have been lost to time forever.
So where can Americans stream Doctor Who right now? Just Amazon. And only the first nine seasons of the new show are available. The tenth season will run a Whovian $3 per episode, as will a number of the specials and spin-off episodes. But when you get into anything from the previous 40 years of the show, things get pricey —and more upsettingly — limited.
Random seasons of the show from seasons one onward are available, and even within those, only certain arcs are available, at full price. The only other option available to true fans are the DVD releases, which due to limited availability are usually priced from a base of $25 per story arc upwards. To their credit, these DVDs are action packed with special features, but that also is limited by how much you want to spend a minimum of $25 dollars per Doctor Who story for cheap British sci-fi dating back to an original airdate that aligned with the assassination of JFK.
Long story short: if you want to catch up on the history of Doctor Who, you are about to make a sizable financial investment. And if you were making serious progress under the Hulu library for free, well, sorry, sucks for you.
Figure out a solution, BBC. Because you’re draining your American fan base and it isn’t fair. Either put these episodes back or launch a legit streaming service for the library. It belongs to us, and it belongs to time.
So a lot of Whoverse may be out of reach. But hey! Now’s the time to finally watch Torchwood like you always meant to, right?