HBO: While this is not yet a reality in Egypt, it will be very soon when HBO Max launches in May. Frankly, we’re secretly hoping social distancing continues until this launches, because this is the home that started premier television content and the era now dubbed “the golden age of television.” They started it with arguably the two best shows ever made: The Sopranos and The Wire. With those two, a formula was created: the primacy of writers and good writing, exploration of deep themes, and character-driven stories. The television anti-hero was created here. The sword and sandals and western genres were given new lives here. When it comes to quality of original content, they are the top of the line.
Downsides: Not available in Egypt yet and when it does, it will cost USD 15. The last two seasons of Game of Thrones.
TV recommendations (or the easiest list ever compiled):
Honorable mentions: Silicon Valley, True Detective (ignore season 2), Westworld (Season 1 only)
Prime Video: By becoming the embodiment of a futuristic dystopian megacorporation, Amazon entered very aggressively into the streaming business. It spurred a price war as it could afford to provide services globally for USD 3/month and bundled up with its Amazon Prime and e-commerce services. By going into the streaming game in 2013, the service has had time to build up its inventory of original programming. However, it does not compare to the diversity of Netflix, and its original work doesn’t match up to HBO’s vault. It may be worth buying bundled with Amazon Prime, but for content, not worth one penny more.
Noteworthy original content: The Man in the High Castle, The Boys, Jack Ryan (the Amazon original series, never any of the movies in the franchise), Bosch (featuring the character and world of the Michael Connelley novels)
Apple TV Plus: Not one to be left behind on a tech-related trend, Apple joined the fray pretty late in the game in 2019. While it launched before Disney Plus, it did not have the IP library that came with Disney. Furthermore, production on a number of originals had to be shelved, with the company announcing that it is delaying filming on a number of original shows thanks to covid-19. This streaming platform is the least impressive by both quantity and lack of original content.
Noteworthy original content: For All Mankind, The Morning Show.
Disney Plus: Another streaming service that owes its existence to a vast vault of original content, Disney Plus brings to bear the most valuable IP in entertainment history. In addition to a century’s worth of original Disney content, there’s the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the Star Wars franchise and the entire catalogue of 21 Century Fox movies and shows. For nostalgia points, it doesn’t get better than this. If you enjoyed it when you were 12 and younger, you will find it here. And if you are currently 12 or younger, you will not lack for movies and their television spin-offs.
Downsides: you can get fatigued by the nostalgia. This is the streaming version of the Hollywood machine of spin-offs, sequels, prequels and all the ways to milk a franchise to death. Also, not offered in Egypt yet.
We won’t even attempt to catalogue the original content created prior the launch of Disney Plus in November. We will note that the only original show ordered by the service that is worth noting is The Mandalorian.
Hulu: Since launching in 2010, this streaming service has relied extensively on content licensed from its distribution partners, including NBC, ABC and Fox programs. The platform is also in an awkward place, considering it’s 67% owned by Disney. Consequently, its original programming leaves much to be desired. It is also unavailable in Egypt without a for-pay VPN, so we recommend you skip over this one.
Noteworthy original content: The Handmaid's Tale