Disney+ launched to great fanfare and plenty of success on Nov. 12, but the hottest streaming service in town wasn’t without its warts. Luckily, it looks like its most unforgivable sin will be fixed in the near-ish future.
In a statement given to The AV Club, Disney confirmed it would let viewers watch old episodes of The Simpsons in their original 4:3 aspect ratio in “early 2020.” This followed several days of criticism from fans for Disney’s choice to only offer classic episodes of the beloved animated sitcom in a cropped and stretched out 16:9 format.
According to Disney’s statement, the decision to stream The Simpsons exclusively in 16:9 was made to “guarantee visual quality and consistency” across the show’s 30 seasons. However, the “quality” part of that is questionable; as Tristan Cooper heroically pointed out on Twitter, cropping and stretching the old episodes completely killed some visual gags and made other moments look straight-up wrong.
The Simpsons aired in that fullscreen format until partway through its 20th season. Fans were justifiably disappointed when the show’s big streaming debut was nigh-unwatchable from a purist standpoint. Regardless of what you think about the show’s later seasons, it’s generally agreed upon that its most classic episodes were in the seasons that Disney+ aired incorrectly.,
The decision to air them that way is even more baffling in the context of how The Simpsons used to be available to watch online. FX’s Simpsons World website already went through its own 16:9-or-4:3 controversy before finally offering the fullscreen option back in 2015. In other words, this exact same thing has happened before.
If you were hoping to skip Disney+ and legally stream The Simpsons elsewhere, you’re out of luck. Simpsons World shut down when Disney+ launched, leaving only an ad for the titanic streaming service as a virtual gravestone.