UPDATE (1/30): As of Tuesday afternoon the expiration flag has been removed from the series as a whole, but remains on a random assortment of about half the show’s episodes. This may signal that the streaming license is in the process of being extended, and Atlantis might not leave Hulu this week. The original story follows.
That’s because Stargate’s beloved shows and movies are continually coming and going from various streaming services, with availability (and quality) varying from month to month and from country to country.
Now Stargate Atlantis looks to be getting off the Hulu merry-go-round. The U.S. streaming service has listed the show as expiring this Wednesday, January 31.
Based on the company’s past actions, though, we can’t actually report definitively that the show will be taken down this week. As with Amazon Prime Video, Hulu’s expiration flag appears to show up automatically when a series gets within two weeks of the end of its current licensing deal. While some shows drop off, Stargate is developing a habit of last-minute renewals that only extend the date.
Where else can you watch Stargate Atlantis? The show is currently included with a Prime Video subscription in the United States (though in many countries you’ll need the “MGM+” add-on). It’s also available for free with ads on Pluto TV. (We keep GateWorld’s “Where to Watch” page updated each month.)
Prime Video viewers, meanwhile, have their own problems to deal with. Not only did Amazon replace the nice 16:9 widescreen seasons of Stargate SG-1 with 4:3 SD cuts last year, but today at least two episodes — Season Five favorites “Threshold” and “The Tomb” — are just absent from the service without explanation. (One of these resolves the season premiere’s cliffhanger.)
Amazon also had all three Stargate shows listed for removal at the end of 2023. But then evidently someone went in and updated the database, and onward the wheel turned.
Absent an active licensing dispute, none of this is necessary. It seems to me like just poor planning and a lack of attention to what was once MGM’s billion-dollar TV franchise.
The Stargate series hop around streamers so often, however, that I do recommend investing in the (now very affordable) DVD or Blu-ray sets. Then you’re never at the mercy of a mega-corp and whether it thinks you should be able to finish the season you’re on.
It’s a nice courtesy for streaming services to give viewers a warning that they’re about to lose access to content. But all these last-minute renewals are needlessly confusing, and have to make fans of a show feel like yo-yos. If a streamer’s license is inevitably going to be renewed anyway (i.e., if we’re not facing contract disputes here) they ought to be finished at least a month in advance, so that viewers never see a looming expiration date … and inevitably start looking elsewhere.
So, Hulu subscribers: catch Stargate Atlantis while you still can! That might be for a couple of days, or it might be forever. I guess we’ll find out this week if the service actually makes good on its threat this time.
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