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Streaming services are like free cars on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Seriously, everybody’s got one. Check under your chair; you’ve probably got one too. Not to be outdone, NBC has announced their own streaming service. Now you might think that this would be a place where you could watch new episodes of your favorite NBC shows, but you would be wrong. Instead, you’re limited to watching old episodes of NBC shows along with some additional content, and even then, only if they’re comedies.
The new service, called Seeso - because apparently all the actual words have been taken - is a subscription video on demand service designed for the “comedy super fan,” and it will begin streaming in January. According to Deadline, the service will cost $3.99 per month and will give subscribers access to original content, as well as old episodes from NBC’s comedy library. While the focus of the service is very specific, NBC has certainly brought powerhouse names in to work on it. They are promising 20 original comedy series in the first year from names like Community’s Dan Harmon, Parks & Recreation’s Amy Poehler, Tom Lennon of Reno 911!, as well as a new stand-up series hosted by former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac.
In addition to the original content being created specifically for Seeso, they are also promising an "artisanal selection” of classic comedy. This will include HD remasterings of both The Kids in the Hall and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Both of these will be exclusive to NBC’s service so if you want to see a dead parrot in a cage in beautiful 1080p, there’s only one place to see it. All of Monty Python's films and documentaries will also be included.
Finally, NBC’s comedy library will also include the complete collections of Parks & Recreation, The Office (both the US and UK versions) and 30 Rock. Both The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers will also be on the service. It’s not clear if new episodes will be going up after they air on NBC. Since it doesn’t appear any current NBC comedies will be part of Seeso, we’re going to guess they’ll be a significant delay before episodes of the late night shows go up. It also doesn’t look like any of the episodes with previous late-night hosts will be there, which is a shame considering how much great Johnny Carson material they have, along with early David Letterman stuff.
While there’s certainly some great material here, it’s difficult to say how “must see” any of it is. Watching Flying Circus again, in HD or otherwise, would be fun, but once you’ve done that and binge-watched any other shows you care about, will the original content be enough to keep you coming back every month? The $3.99 price point is fairly small, so NBC is likely hoping that you’ll subscribe once to check it out, and then decide $3.99 is little enough that you might as well just keep paying it.