Why ‘The Brady Bunch,’ ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and More Classic Shows Aren’t Streaming on Major Platforms

by Joe Rutland

Generations of classic TV viewers grow up with a steady diet of shows like The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, starring Bob Denver. With the huge growth of streaming platforms, you can still see some of your favorite shows there. But you will not find some of them available. As quickly as you can say “Sorry about that, Chief,” you will not see Get Smart available. The same goes, sadly, for The Golden Girls. What in the world is going on here?

OK. Streaming platforms and their companies are in the eyeball business. Namely, they want you to watch their programming. You might say that it sounds like what regular network TV does, too. Yes, you would be right. But these platforms also have a little bit of a twist to them. Some of them want you to cut the cord to cable TV. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to not find a lot of platforms encouraging you away from cable television.

Streaming Platforms Shy Away From Shows Like ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Programming matters. The fact that shows like Hogan’s Heroes aren’t on a streaming service sounds silly. It’s another one of those sitcoms people grew up watching. Let’s take a look at two shows for some contrast. As we mentioned, Gilligan’s Island is not available for streaming. But The Twilight Zone is through Paramount Plus. Heck, that show, which started out in 1959, has its very own “channel” on PlutoTV. Gilligan? Our “little buddy” is out of luck. It started running on CBS in 1964 and was on for three seasons.

Which show is more popular? From a long-term syndication rerun prospect, then you might say Gilligan’s Island. Remember, though, that the platforms want people to watch their programs. The Twilight Zone might have more of a “stickiness” to it than Gilligan. As for The Andy Griffith Show, it, too, has its own “channel” on PlutoTV.

Freevee, Roku, and Tubi, which are free, ad-supported streamers, offer a lot of classic TV programming. On Roku, The Dick Van Dyke Show can be viewed in all of its five seasons of glory. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon, Apple, and Peacock will offer some classic TV shows, too.

Yet we’re talking about those 1950s through 1980s shows here. What will bring people to these streamers? Programming will keep people there for a long time. We did mention The Brady Bunch as one show people might want to see more of these days. If you have the ability to download the PlutoTV app, then you’ll find it showing on a “channel” there. Another longtime favorite has been The Honeymooners starring Jackie Gleason. The “classic 39” episodes between 1955-56 aren’t on a streamer. But you can find the “Lost Episodes” sketches around on PlutoTV.