Streaming libraries expand and contract. Algorithms are imperfect. Those damn thumbnail images are always changing. But you know what you can always rely on? The expert opinions and knowledgeable commentary of The A.V. Club. That’s why we’re scouring both the menus of the most popular services and our own archives to bring you these guides to the best viewing options. With this piece, we’re trying something different: As a wider array of movie studios move their libraries to platforms owned by their parent companies, the question of where certain films from certain franchises are streaming grows increasingly complicated. Why license a fan favorite when you can bring those fans in as new subscribers? Perhaps because you produced a popular fantasy series and you signed a nine-year exclusive agreement with a rival’s TV arm before HBO Max or Peacock were ever a glimmer in your eyes?
With that in mind, we’ve selected a handful of the biggest movie series of the past 40-odd years, and to the best of our ability, tracked down which subscriptions you’d need to watch them. We’ve also noted who owns each franchise, so you might know where to go looking when they inevitably leave their current streaming homes.