Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
Find out where the acclaimed FX restaurant dramedy will be available to stream in Canada.
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The Bear, a comedy-drama series from FX Productions, starring Jeremy Allen White as a young fine-dining chef who comes home to run his family's sandwich shop in Chicago, debuted its first season on Hulu in the United States on Thursday, June 23, 2022 and received critical acclaim.
In Canada, The Bear is now available to stream on Disney+ under the Star hub, as of Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Note that only the first two episodes were released on Disney+ on that date; the remaining first-season episodes will be added weekly on Wednesdays through September 14.
As Hulu is not available internationally in a manner authorized by its owners, FX had previously announced in May that The Bear would be available on Disney+ in most other countries, but the Hulu premiere came and went without any update on the Canadian release date. On July 11, Disney finally confirmed that the series would be available to stream in Canada starting on August 3.
As of this writing in mid-2022, a subscription to the Disney+ streaming service costs $11.99 per month, or $119.99 per year (when billed annually), in Canada (both prices are before applicable sales taxes). The Star hub is included as part of Disney+ for all Canadian subscribers at no extra charge.
Disney+ announced on Twitter that The Bear would debut in Canada on June 23, the same day as the Hulu release – however, that tweet was later deleted. It wasn't until July 11 that the service finally confirmed it would instead launch in Canada on August 3.
Unfortunately, the reason for the delay isn't clear, and we have not had much success attempting to contact Disney for comment on such matters.
That said, this sort of delay is consistent with how many other "FX on Hulu" series have been handled in Canada since mid-2021. For example, the first season of American Horror Story spinoff American Horror Stories premiered in the U.S. in mid-July 2021, but did not arrive on Disney+ in Canada until about six weeks later in late August.
It's possible that may happen eventually, but it will not be any time soon. While some early "FX on Hulu" series debuted in this country on the FX Canada channel operated under licence by Rogers Communications, the majority of these pre-dated the launch of the Star hub on Disney+.
Since mid-2021, most FX series that debuted on Hulu in the U.S., like the aforementioned American Horror Stories, as well as Under the Banner of Heaven and Reservation Dogs, have debuted directly on Disney+ in Canada. To date, none of those programs have aired on FX Canada, FXX Canada, or any other linear TV channel in Canada.
Yes, and yes. The Bear is rated TV-MA (the equivalent to 18+ in the Canadian TV ratings system).
However, in most of the world (with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and Latin America), Disney+ is no longer devoted solely to family-friendly franchises – it now includes a range of programming for both family and mature audiences, from various subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company. Following the acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox in 2019, these Disney subsidiaries include both FX and Hulu.
Most of this mature programming is under a hub (or tile) called "Star", repurposing the brand name of a broadcaster serving Asia also owned by Disney (and not to be confused with Starz, an unrelated service that operates in Canada through a partnership with Bell Media / Crave).
Since launching Star, Disney+ has regularly reinforced the availability of parental controls to help ensure that mature content would not be visible to young children, or indeed anyone else with a restricted profile.
Thanks to reader Doug L. for emailing a question that inspired this post.
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