Paramount Global’s addition to the ever-increasing streaming competition, Paramount Plus, launched in the US on the 4th of March 2021. The service offers users access to Paramount originals plus content from its brands including Paramount Pictures, CBS, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, BET, MTV and Smithsonian Channel. In what has seemed like an eternity, the service will (finally) arrive in the UK on the 22nd of June 2022.
I must admit that this service’s launch is something I am looking forward to. It might sound odd, as we’re hardly starved of streaming content, but their potential offerings interest me greatly. Here are a couple of reasons for my excitement.
As many marketing executives will testify, nostalgia is an extremely powerful thing. Whether I knew it or not, I grew up watching Paramount’s various brands in the 90s and 00s. I have fond memories of watching the various shows that Nickelodeon used to broadcast; Whether an iconic Nicktoon or the Laurel and Hardy style slapstick of Kenan and Kel. My favourite show growing up was the football-focused comedy-drama Renford Rejects. I’m hoping that much of this material lands on the platform at some point, it would be nice to revisit it.
Along with the tried and tested shows of my youth, I’m hoping to catch up on things I missed. Back in the early 00s, Paramount’s comedy channel on Sky used to show classic American situation comedies. I can’t say I was an avid viewer of the channel, I was too busy watching Disney and Nickelodeon, but it did provide me with my first exposure to the world of Happy Days. As a ten-year-old, the show intrigued me, but I didn’t see enough of it to get a proper footing. It seems like one of those shows where you need to see it from the beginning to understand it, but that opportunity rarely arose. The show is occasionally repeated on random Freeview channels, but I always seem to miss it. The same can be said for another classic Paramount owned show, Taxi.
I’m hoping Paramount Plus provide these shows so I can finally watch them in full at the touch of a button.
No, I’m not talking about Star Trek! It seems the current trend in streaming is to create an exclusive original product that attracts consumers. It makes logical sense to do this, as Netflix has proved for nearly a decade. Much of the resulting shows and movies are based on existing IP, utilizing brand loyalty. Unfortunately for me, I’m one of the picky viewers who never seems to share the sentiment for many of the IPs being continued or rebooted. My interest is primarily based on the content of the past available to stream; For the benefit of preservation and the joy of discovery.
Like Disney and Warner Bros, Paramount has a vast archive of material from the last one hundred years. Whether made by them or inherited as part of a major acquisition, there is sure to be something to discover. I’m hoping Paramount Global can outdo its competitors, and put some focus on adding library content made pre-2000. It seems the American version is pretty good at this, but the UK quota might stop them from doing so here.
Due to a contract or two, it looks like the UK version won’t be carrying the CBS branding on its platform. I, for one, hope this doesn’t affect their ability to add classic shows from the CBS and Paramount archive. I’d love to see the likes of The Love Boat, I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone and The Andy Griffith Show available in the UK; Many of them unseen for years here. As someone who frequents a lot of fan forums, it would be nice to understand things people talk about with such fondness. Similar could be said for the many John Wayne films in Paramount’s possession dating back to the 1930s!
Lastly, I suspect there to be a little stigma attached to the viewing of old content. Whatever your reason, there is something of a valid point for each one. In my view: While it is true that times have changed, I still find it comforting to discover a piece of the past that speaks to me through the differences.
Paramount Plus launches in the UK on the 22nd of June 2022.
During the writing of this article, I started to doubt my first exposure to Happy Days. Rather than on the Paramount Sky channel, I’m thinking of another time that may pre-date it! Adults of a certain age will remember the Weezer music video for their track Buddy Holly, which featured the Fonz’ hit show as a backdrop. A low-quality version of the video was included in the CD ROM for Windows 95! I remember being intrigued, and wondering what the actual show was like. Hopefully thanks to Paramount Plus, I shall find out!