Here’s some news we have been waiting for since back in the spring of 2021, when Amazon announced it was buying Stargate’s home studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Stargate franchise is back on Prime Video in the United States as of today.
The shows seem to have appeared just as the calendar rolled over to September 1 on the East Coast. It’s been 18 months since the shows were available to stream on Prime Video, last departing at the end of February 2021.
During that time Amazon announced its $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM, went through the lengthy process of regulatory oversight by the U.S. and E.U. governments, and eventually finalized that deal. In the five months since then, there has been no signal from the retail giant about what it will do with the science fiction franchise.
Viewers in some territories outside the U.S. have been able to keep watching Stargate through Prime Video’s “MGM Channel” add-on. But that isn’t available in the States.
Stargate’s return to Prime Video is great news for the franchise on several different fronts. For starters, Prime has a far superior copy of the episodes. These are 16:9 widescreen episodes, with a higher resolution (evidently upscaled to something around 720p).
Netflix not only has the 4:3 edition of SG-1 early seasons, but is still falsely listing all 214 episodes as rated TV-MA for nudity — arguably doing harm to the show’s discoverability by new viewers. (Only the first episode has nudity, a concession to Showtime that the producers immediately moved away from.) Hulu, meanwhile, is streaming the version of Atlantis that is edited with disruptive hard act breaks for commercials.
Amazon is also the only streaming service with the “Final Cut” version of the pilot movie, which removes the nudity among other changes.
Last but not least, Stargate Universe hasn’t been available to stream ad-free anywhere since Hulu’s license expired last year. (All three shows have been available with ads on Pluto TV in the U.S. since April.)
Since MGM licenses the rights to Stargate under fixed and finite terms, which vary from streamer to streamer (and from country to country), there’s no telling how long the franchise will remain on Prime this time. But the fact that Amazon just bought MGM in order to acquire its film and TV library suggests — Bezos willing — that it might stay for good.
Over on Netflix SG-1 will hit the 1-year mark on its license at the end of November. We’ll find out then if Netflix will re-up, or if the show will be leaving that service. Atlantis, meanwhile, will reach the 1-year mark since the most recent license renewal in October.
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