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It’s an Apple TV+ Halloween, Charlie Brown

| Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

This Halloween, you won’t be hearing Linus explain how “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” In a new deal with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Apple TV+ has acquired the rights to all “Peanuts” specials and future film rights, as stated in a recent press release.

As a result, any movie or television special on the classic “Peanuts” characters will be exclusively found on the Apple TV+ streaming service. In other words, the timeless specials that have been on cable television since the 1960s — “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — will only be available on Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ isn’t just going to be holding a monopoly over “Peanuts” specials for bragging rights, though. It will be expanding upon the “Peanuts” universe to produce new shows and specials. According to the press release, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang will be returning for specials celebrating New Year’s Eve, Earth Day and Mother’s Day, as well as going back to school.

The streaming service will also release the second season of Daytime Emmy-nominated show “Snoopy in Space,” as well as “The Snoopy Show,” a 70th anniversary documentary on the “Peanuts” franchise, and the Daytime Emmy Award-winner “Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10.” Needless to say, the “Peanuts” universe is going to establish a loud presence on Apple TV+. 

While this news shocked the internet, it shouldn’t be too surprising that a streaming service has taken over such an iconic franchise. Over the last decade, services like Netflix and Hulu have become the hub of the entertainment industry. Many households are trading in cable television for streaming apps. Within the past couple of years, individual cable networks have been announcing their own streaming services for their television shows, such as NBC’s “Peacock” app, and new television shows and movies are being produced for viewing exclusively on streaming platforms. Given all this, it’s no wonder that a streaming service has acquired the rights to the holiday specials that have been a defining feature of American pop culture for decades. 

It’s amazing to think about how far streaming services have come in recent years. Netflix may have been founded in the late 1990s, but it didn’t become a household name until at least 10 years later. And with the internet becoming an increasingly essential part of people’s lives, so, too, have streaming services grown to new levels of prominence in the entertainment industry.

Many people will not watch television or movie premieres live because they know the shows will be put on a streaming service sooner or later. Older television shows and movies have been brought back into trending conversations as streaming services provide easy access to shows from years ago. “Friends” is a great example of a show that was a hit in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but is still a hit with teenagers today because it was later made available on Netflix.

The most important takeaway from this transition to streaming services is that it really amounts to the beginning of a new era. Many people from our generation think of watching the Charlie Brown holiday specials on TV as a tradition that our parents started when they were children. However, Apple TV+ is trying to appeal to general audiences by offering the three most well-known specials for free for a few days at a time. “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will be free on Apple TV+ from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” can be accessed for free from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be available from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.

Still, logging onto a laptop to watch a holiday special within a certain window doesn’t create that same cozy, nostalgic, even magical effect of watching it on television. It’s unfortunate to think about how the next generation will not have those same experiences without paying a monthly membership fee for Apple TV+. 

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