I love me some Criterion Collection. I recognize that it's a kind of self-appointed prestige on the part of the publisher, but what can I say? They have good taste. I am a sucker for those twice-annual sales they put on, and Criterion films make up a pretty large percentage of my Blu-ray library. Weirdly enough, though, I was never a Filmstruck subscriber, which was a cooperative venture between TCM and The Criterion Collection and would have been an easy way for me to get that Criterion fix. Maybe it's just subscription fatigue or the really good feeling of owning a piece of physical media, but I didn't really realize what a special thing we had in Filmstruck until the service was dead and gone as of late last year.
But like a phoenix rising from the cliche, it looks like WarnerMedia is rebranding and reviving the idea with The Criterion Channel. According to The Playlist, the new service launches on April 8, 2019, and will cost $10.99 per month or a discounted price of $99.99 annually. You'll get a few added benefits if you subscribe before the launch date, like a discounted subscription fee and access to a prelaunch Movie of the Week every Wednesday before launch.
Here's the kicker though, and what's probably going to set this service apart from stuff like Netflix and Hulu: You know all those special features you get on a Criterion disc? Y'know, the main reason these stuffed little suckers are worth the premium pricing? Well, all the supplements and documentaries and what-have-you is going to be available on the service, too. But not only that, there's some original programming in the mix too!
As The Playlist puts it:
As for all the extras that you can expect with the Criterion Channel, the service is going to be truly unique with its own original content and filmmaker-focused exclusives including a new Sunday Spotlight, a movie marathon focusing on a different director, star, genre, or theme each week. There will also be a return of “Adventures in Moviegoing,” the guest programmer series that has featured Bill Hader, Barry Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro, and Mira Nair, “Tuesday’s Short + Feature,” “Friday Double Feature,” “Meet the Filmmakers,” “Art-House America,” and “Observations on Film Art,” the Channel’s 15-minute-a-month film school.
The Criterion Channel is going to be available on desktop, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, iOS, and Android devices, and they've got me seriously considering laying down the cash for a subscription. But how about you? Shout out in the comments with your favorite Criterion Collection release and whether you'd drop eleven bucks a month to see more stuff like it.
(Note: a previous version of this post mistakenly stated that some benefits of Criterion's service would be specific to Charter Cable subscribers. The post has been edited to remove that. Sorry about that, gang.)