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Friday, April 19, 2024

Ranking each streaming service based solely on their original series

Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose originals are the fairest of them all?


BY MALCOLM LANGE — mslange@ucdavis.edu

Nowadays, everyone has their own streaming service for any form of content they produce. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if my Uncle Doug had his own Doug+ subscription site for his TikTok vlogs. The problem with this is it puts a huge strain on the TV and movie enjoyer — as everything is being separated into one of seven mainstream streaming services. Each site costs more than it should, as they only own one or two shows that we would want to watch but will charge anywhere from $10 to $20 a month. Luckily for us, many streaming sites have student discounts. However, even with discounts seven streaming subscriptions will add up incredibly fast. 

In an ideal reality, we would have an unfettered sharing of shows we could consistently access regardless of who owns the property rights to the show. That does not appear to be a very likely outcome, so the next best solution is finding out which sites are “worth” it. 

The big streaming sites that I believe are in the most competition with each other are: Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Max (formerly HBOMax), Apple TV, Paramount+, Peacock and Prime Video. All of these sites carry excruciatingly popular movies and shows that are likely to pull fanbases to subscribe. Since all of these sites have such extensive libraries, I believe that it would take too long and be too hard for us to tell which one is truly the best. Instead, I propose we look strictly at each individual site’s original series to determine which is worth paying for each month.

Keeping this condition in mind — we are only considering their original works — it, unfortunately, dumps Paramount+ at the bottom of the list, along with Max, Prime Video and Hulu. This is merely because the good originals that we got from these streaming sites are in relatively short supply. Each one has some good, dare I say, great original series. Hulu probably has the weakest lineup, with their main contender being “Only Murderers in the Building.” Sadly, Hulu just doesn’t have enough to compete with the big kids, and therefore is the first out on our hit list. 

Soon to follow is Paramount+. This streaming site has “Picard,” “Star Trek: Strange Worlds” and the “iCarly” reboot but other than those specific shows their roster of “new works” is lacking in substance. Even though I love “Star Trek,” it does not offer a very good variety of shows. Some readers, who potentially have not showered in a few days, might ask, “How can you get rid of Prime Video so fast? They have ‘The Boys!’” Yes, this is true, and “The Boys,” “Invincible” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (which was a great show even if it changed some of the o-so-sacred lore of “The Lord of the Rings”) and “Good Omens,” but still I believe it cannot compare to other streaming services. Their shows are also very niche, two of them being superhero shows and the third being a prequel installment to “The Lord of the Rings.” 

Max also features a weak lineup even with hit shows such as “Harley Quinn,” “Our Flag Means Death” and “Peacemaker” but that’s about it. They don’t have many more fantastic shows under their belt. 

The next streaming service to say au revoir to is Peacock. Sadly, “Love Island Games” could not save Peacock from being dumped from our hypothetical streaming island. Even having phenomenal shows like “A.P. Bio” and the new series “Ted” could not keep them in the game. However, “A.P. Bio” did not originate on Peacock, only moving there after NBC made its own service and as I am not a 14-year-old boy, I have no desire to watch “Ted.”

The last three on our list — Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV — are behemoths of streaming services. Netflix came out with the instantly popular “Stranger Things,” “Wednesday” and “The Witcher” — all amazing series, but “Sex Education” is really what helped keep this streaming service up for so long. 

Disney+ has a super roster of original shows as well, spanning from Marvel series to Star Wars series too, but that’s about it. However, they have produced some amazing Star Wars content and really good Marvel shows as well. Titles such as “Andor,” “Hawkeye,” “The Mandalorian,” “Ahsoka” and the all-time best “I Am Groot.” Finally branching out, Disney+ has dropped “Goosebumps” which was a fun adaptation of the classic books and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” which seems to be a great series so far (keep crying die-hard book “fans,” no one cares that they changed some of the story points. If you want the story from the books, read the books). 

Apple TV, surprisingly enough, has a very diverse variety of original shows that have been outstanding. “Ted Lasso,” “Shrinking” and “Mythic Quest” are all comedy shows that also have great character writing and understanding. “The Morning Show,” “Severance” and “Criminal Minds” are incredible dramas and thrillers. “Foundation,” a fantastic adaptation of Asimov’s sci-fi series. “Schmigadoon!” is one of the most creative and ridiculous new shows having a star-studded cast and hilarious writing in the past couple years. 

Dwindling down the finalists, the first to go is Disney+. If you don’t like superheroes or Star Wars, it is not worth paying $13.99 a month for no ads. As we come to our final two, we will also look at the prices that would be paid for the streaming service without ads. Looking at the original series offered combined with the prices, we have a clear winner and that is… Apple TV! Apple TV is offered for no ads at $9.99 a month and has the best variety and produced original series. It is hard to beat “Ted Lasso” and “Shrinking” as they are some of the best new shows that I have watched in a while. The final nail in the coffin was that Netflix is priced at $15.49 a month for no ads, matched with their unfortunately worse selection of original TV shows. 

If you could only buy one streaming service and you were looking to watch some new series, Apple TV would be the best option. It is among the cheaper options, with the widest selection of original shows. (Not sponsored by Apple TV.) (Unless they feel like reaching out ;)) 

Written by: Malcolm Lange — mslange@ucdavis.edu


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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