America, we need to talk.
About many things, actually, but we’ll limit today to talking about WandaVision‘s streaming schedule on Disney+.
We here in Australia quite like WandaVision. We also love the fact the majority of Australians who reside on the East coast get to watch the show as soon as it airs at 7 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) each Friday.
For Aussies with the biggest time zone difference — specifically those in Western Australia — WandaVision goes live on Disney+ at 4 pm Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).
The tradeoff is that for many of our American friends, new WandaVision episodes release at midnight Pacific Time (PST). Michael Rougeau, GameSpot‘s Managing Editor of Entertainment, argues this situation is “bad for everyone”.
Ummm… hello? What about Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Indonesia — to name just a few? Those of us who can finally watch a globally popular prestige television show during reasonable evening hours? Are we not part of your collective “everyone”?
Rougeau’s words reflect the standard complaint of many Americans not used to staying up to what we could call the “Scarlet Witching hour” to watch an exciting new release. We’ve heard this kind of thing a lot over the years, as Americans cry foul the second their typically well-served market is not being catered to as the utmost priority.
Of course, the US is a big, lucrative Western market compared to Australia and New Zealand, but we oh so frequently cop the brunt of US-centric decisions such as film delays or streaming limited to crappy North America-only products.
“Fans who want to keep up with WandaVision need to stay up into the early hours of the morning every Thursday night, or risk being spoiled the following day until they’re able to actually sit down and watch each new episode,” Rougeau wrote.
Welcome to watching any major television series in Australia for the past decade. We’ve got popcorn, chips, and an entire nation’s worth of salt to season them with.
Amazon Prime’s The Boys is used as an example of a recent show adopting the midnight PST timeslot — a late night for plenty of US citizens.
Prior to this, however, we Australians would flock to timeanddate.com’s Time Zone Converter to figure out when we could watch Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, which would air during American Sunday primetime, Monday mid-morning for us.
This doesn’t even account for the years of limited or prohibitively expensive availability of such shows here. Legal same time streaming as the US wasn’t an option in Australia for Game of Thrones until the later seasons.
What Rougeau fears is the new norm for US and UK audiences with upcoming Disney+ shows — one where people watch the clock at school and work while those in other countries share spoilers online. It’s a reality we’ve already dealt with for many years.
Time to face the music. There is no perfect time to air a popular show to satisfy all international audiences. Someone, somewhere will always be navigating an online spoiler minefield or a tiresome late night.
While I certainly don’t advocate that someone should suffer purely because we have — as much as one can “suffer” over a piece of fiction — a modicum of awareness outside of one’s own borders never goes astray.
By releasing episodes at times suited to countries other than the US, Disney is refreshingly delivering a product considerate of its global audiences and ensuring that everyone, everywhere, gets a full weekend of opportunity to watch new episode drops within the first 48 hours of release.
I also wouldn’t complain if series alternated release times if it meant everyone got a chance to watch their favourite shows at a time that wasn’t arse-o’clock where they live on a rotating schedule. After all… we’re used to it.
Now, let’s get back to enjoying the sitcom about a powerful witch and her robot husband.