Don’t you just love it when a fairytale has a happy ending? The hit show Once Upon A Time, which Netflix stopped streaming in 2020, was picked up by Disney for its Disney Plus streaming service and now it’s coming to Hulu too, so it’ll be available on both of the Mouse House’s best streaming services.
Set in the fictional town of Storybrooke in Maine, Once Upon A Time depicts a town where every resident is actually a fairytale character brought to the real world and robbed of their memories by an evil queen. Seasons two and five got an exceptional 100% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes and the others aren’t far behind, with 81% for season one, 75% for season 3 and 89% for season six.
You might want to skip the final season though. It has a terrible 43% rating and a low 48% from the audience too. Reviewing the final season, the Boston Herald said that “Once Upon a Time’s magic has gone”. Although, other critics did disagree and the show is still considered a gem in Disney Plus’ tiara.
Now’s your chance to find out for yourself, all seven seasons are also coming to Hulu, and you’ll be able to stream them from September 1.
Could more streamers be teaming up?
I’m not a huge fan of fantasy shows or fairytales, but I think this is just as interesting for what it might mean as for what it’s actually about. For as long as there’s been streaming, the different services have prized themselves on their exclusivity. For years now, the message has been that if you want to see show X, you’ll only ever see it on streamer Y. And that’s also applied even when the streamers have the same owner – such as Disney Plus and Hulu.
Disney offering the same show on both of its streamers is a sign that the walls appear to be coming down, signs that we’ve previously seen with the same dual-service streaming of The Simpsons. But Once Upon a Time is different, because it’s built on stacks of Disney characters rather than bought as part of Fox. Plus the dual-streaming plan is going to apply to the forthcoming Disney Plus Goosebumps show too.
As Variety says, part of it is cost-cutting. Disney needs to do more while spending less money, so having a hit show across two services rather than one is a way of doing that. But it’s also perhaps part of a wider understanding that a single streamer can’t do everything alone. And that’s why you’re seeing content from AMC turn up on Max, or from HBO on Netflix, or Disney’s ESPN on Amazon Prime Video.
By bringing in shows and movies from other networks, more streamers can benefit from the eyeballs those series and films deliver – and the networks providing them to their rivals will presumably be hoping to poach some of those eyeballs too.
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