More disappointing news from Netflix – M*A*S*H is scheduled to leave on April 1st. A little irony there perhaps; April Fools day and the characters in M*A*S*H are nothing if not fools. Comedic fools rather than idiots of course.
MASH was the book that spawned a hit movie and the movie that spawned the hit TV series. Stationed in Korean during the Korean war, the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is home to doctors and nurses who, mainly, don’t want to be there. Every single character in the series has foibles but every single one of them is completely endearing. Given the backdrop to the series, a particularly unpleasant war, the black humor and sarcasm set M*A*S*H apart from all other comedy series before or since. It deals with difficult issues beautifully. (Interestingly, no peace treaty has ever been signed between North and South Korea; they are technically still at war).
Given that people were in tears when the 11 year series came to a close on TV, we expect people to be equally distressed that it’s being pulled from Netflix. It’s one of the classics that needs a permanent home because it never ages. In a similar vein, many of the classic episodes of Doctor Who which was pulled in February ought to have a permanently accessible home. There is hope though, if not for Netflix fans, as M*A*S*H is distributed by CBS and they are likely to go exclusive on their own streaming platform, or perhaps Hulu/Amazon.
It is exactly a year since M*A*S*H was first streamed on Netflix (that would make sense under contractual arrangements) and the 11 year series has 256 episodes of 25 minutes. That’s just under 4 and a half days of non stop viewing if you start now….