Cinephiles all over the globe lapsed into collective mourning at the news that FilmStruck, which was essentially the movie snob’s Netflix, would be shutting down. But all is not lost: On Friday, the Criterion Collection, the home video distribution company devoted to licensing and selling “important classic and contemporary films,” announced that in Spring 2019, they’ll launch an independent streaming platform called the Criterion Channel in conjunction with WarnerMedia.
“The Criterion Channel will be picking up where the old service left off,” the announcement reads, adding that viewers can expect “programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries.”
It’s hard to overstate just how formidable and huge the Criterion Collection’s catalog is, and just how much of a gift a subscription-based online streaming service will be to nerdy couch potatoes wanting to hunker down on a Friday night to watch gems like Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, a cautionary tale about the toxicity of yellow journalism.
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime all have their merits, to be sure, but these online streaming services usually prioritize brand-new releases and easily licensed (sometimes subpar) content because their business models dictate it.
While moviegoers obviously want to see the newest and hottest releases, FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection have always opted for quality above all, whether it’s the unsung masterworks, foreign-language dramas that no one your age has ever heard of, or the deeply weird farce that your film professor mentioned in an undergraduate class a million years ago that you only just remembered.