Though it may not feel like it from a viewer's perspective, the sea change in how audiences watch television has happened at blinding speed. Five years ago, one company made the shows, while a separate one aired (or streamed) it. That meant shows like Friends and Parks & Rec were produced by different production companies but were housed under one roof at Netflix. However, with the advent of new streaming services, these shows are getting called home to their original networks. As 2020 draws to a close, fans are reminded this realignment is still happening, as NBC's The Office is the latest to exit Netflix, and the memes about The Office leaving Netflix mark the end of an era.
It is the second year in a row that the end of the year has brought the expiration of another major show that buoyed Netflix's numbers. Last year, Friends closed up shop in preparation for launch on HBO Max later in 2020. This time, it's The Office's turn, with the whole gang moving to NBC's streaming service, Peacock.
For casual fans, this won't be a big deal. One of Peacock's big selling points is that it has an entirely free, ad-supported tier fans can access, where the first couple seasons of The Office will be housed. But for the more hardcore viewers who need all nine seasons accessible at any given moment, it will mean paying for yet another streamer and subscribing to Peacock Premium or Peacock Premium+.
But for some viewers, the fact that The Office is still available elsewhere is not the point. Once upon a time, one could subscribe to one streaming service (Netflix) and get everything. The Office's exit is another reminder that time is over.
Even though The Office will still be available, moving it from one streamer to another is another thing to get used to. In a year that's upended the semblance of normalcy, this is one change too many.
Even though fans know perfectly well that The Office will start its new life on Peacock come Jan. 1, many expressed wariness of having to move to a new platform.
But in the end, fans understand change is inevitable. That's why it's time to say goodbye.
Farewell to The Office on Netflix. Let's all hope it settles in well on Peacock starting in 2021.