The influence of the Netflix original programming model continues to augment the way the old cable network warhorses broadcast their programs. Yesterday, NBC announced that Aquarius, their impending period series centered around a young woman who joins the Manson Family and starring David Duchovny, will be streamed in its entirety following the series’ premiere. It’s a major move for one of the great cable network empires, showing the want and ability to try out new modes of release and to quickly allow viewers to sink into the narrative. One catch: the entire 13 episodes of Aquarius will be made available to stream for only a month, meaning you’d have to finish the series by June 28th or so. It’s not perfect and doesn’t give viewers exactly the kind of freedom that Netflix and Hulu allow, but along with HBO’s recent online streaming model upgrade, it’s a positive sign of amicable change and willingness to grow with the times from NBC.
This, however, does not change NBC’s taste in programming, which is very much a hit-and-miss affair. For all Duchovny’s charm and the show’s generally attentive production design, Aquarius relies heavily on generational cliches and attempts to summarize the total tonnage of cultural events and issues in the 1960s in under 13 hours, while also keeping up with an elongated police procedural. Now, if an established major hit with both a large audience and largely positive critical reputation (*cough* Hannibal *cough*) debuted an entire season on its premiere date, the viewership numbers would likely prove staggering. Regardless, the public reaction and numbers that come off of Aquarius will no doubt prove quite interesting, and considering Duchovny’s history and subject matter, the show could very well be a hit, no matter how convoluted and dull some people may find it.
Aquarius is set to premiere on May 28th at 9 p.m.