My family, like so many others, haven’t had cable TV in years. In the age of streaming, Xfinity and Fios’ services are no longer a hit for those looking to cut down on the cheapest and most convenient options. Platforms like Hulu provide access to live TV, while Disney + offers all of your favorite Disney classics. I would say this has made the viewing experience infinitely better for shows and movies, but there is one major downside to this model: the division of content between separate streaming services. The “Harry Potter” series, in particular, is now far too inaccessible, which I think is a great loss for people of all ages. While movies were once a mainstay of ABC Family’s Winter Marathon program, we’re now deprived of long weekends doing nothing but soaking up the glorious magic of the franchise well- loved.
That’s right. The “Harry Potter” films are far too hard to come by these days, which I believe is one of the great cultural losses we have suffered in recent years. Recently, I’ve spent more time than I would like to admit trying to find a “Harry Potter” movie to watch. Keep in mind that I was determined to keep the costs low for this business, and by that I mean I refused to buy or rent the movies for an additional fee. After quickly Google searching “Where to watch ‘Harry Potter’?”, I came across a fairly recent article informing readers that the movies are all about Peacock and HBO Max.
Now, as a Notre Dame student, I already have mixed feelings about Peacock. Why, again, are we making it harder for people to watch Fighting Irish Football? You can imagine how disappointed I felt when I finally logged in and saw that the films had since been removed from the platform and tagged “Return to Peacock on October 15th”. It just wouldn’t do. I needed access to a “Harry Potter” movie at that time. My only other option was HBO Max. I don’t know why, but it’s one of the few platforms that I’m not a subscriber to. At this point, I’m so tired of switching between accounts to find a good selection of movie nights that I refuse to invest in another subscription. Out of sheer stubbornness, I came to the realization that a cozy fall evening watching “Harry Potter” was not in the cards for me.
You could say that these are easy problems to solve. I could wait until October 15th for the movies to air on Peacock or I could have asked around to log into someone else’s account to watch through HBO Max. However, neither was right for me. The only thing that seems fair is to scroll down the TV guide and see that the next 24 hours will be just back-to-back “Harry Potter” movies at no additional cost to ABC Family. The rise of cable TV streaming services has many benefits, but the loss of the “Harry Potter” seasonal marathons is too much to bear. For a series that has been an integral part of pop culture for several generations, it’s an injustice to have confined movies (for now) to a single streaming subscription.
Considering that I’ve seen every movie in the series several times already, I can’t help but feel for those who will never be able to indulge in hours and hours of magical cinema, and I can only hope that the powers of these streaming services come to see that it is their duty to make these films fully accessible to all. As for me, I will probably give in and watch ”The prisoner of Azkaban “ using a friend’s HBO subscription this weekend. I mean, come on, the leaves are changing: it’s ‘Harry Potter’ season.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.