If streaming apps were like characters from The Breakfast Club, Tubi would definitely be Judd Nelson’s John Bender character. A little punk rock, a little shady, a little unpredictable, but a lot of fun. Sure, there are ads, and that’s not very punk rock, but if you time it right, you can fast forward right when the ad countdown timer is about to run out and skip the ads. And that’s kind of punk rock.
At the moment, I subscribe to Netflix, Disney+/Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Peacock Premium. I use Netflix and Prime about the same amount. Which is to say not that much. I watch Peacock a bit for older shows. I almost never use Disney, unless there’s some new Star Wars show I want to watch, and the only time I really use Hulu is when I want to watch X Files. I pay for all of those services. I probably don’t want to know how much altogether.
And then there’s Tubi. I watch Tubi regularly. Whether it’s for some dumb 80s sex comedy like Hardbodies or something more serious and mainstream like Sicario. Surfing through Tubi is kind of like walking the aisles at my local video store (before it closed). There’s real variety. It’s got your mainstream action movies, comedies, sci-fi,—all the usual suspects. But then you have a very robust section of off-the-beaten-path stuff—kind of like the cult movies section at your local video store. It’s got a great library of older martial arts movies. There’s anime, a Shout! Factory section, and a bunch of B movie genre schlock. It’s even got a section of porny-type movies. You don’t even have to walk through a curtain to get to it. And it’s got a pretty good selection of older TV shows and nostalgic cartoons from past decades.
The categories are straightforward and clear. And it’s good at recommending stuff I will like. But it still feels a bit rough around the edges, not as mainstream or respectable as Prime, Netflix, or some of the other big streamers. And there’s a vibe to it like you might stumble onto something truly strange, perhaps even weirder and more indy than what you could have found in any video store.
And all of this costs me nothing. As mentioned, I do have to watch ads. Sometimes I forget to FF or I time it wrong and I’m hit with a barrage of ads for laundry detergent. But that’s a great time for a bathroom break, so I think it all comes out in the wash (see what I did there?
But Tubi’s gotten more popular over the years. I can’t remember the stats, but I heard something recently about how much money it made last year and it was not an insignificant amount. And with popularity often comes change. Even Bender was tamed a bit by the end of The Breakfast Club.
But I hope it won’t change too much. And I hope the suits don’t ruin it. Sanitize it to make it more palatable for a more mainstream audience. We need at least one streaming service that mixes a healthy amount of trash and sleaze with the mainstream fare. We need a bit of Descendents mixed in with our Milli Vanilli. A bit of Sgt Kabukiman NYPD mixed in with our Transformers: Age of Extinction. A bit of John Bender mixed in with the nerds and jocks and preps.
But what’s your streaming service of choice? Do you use Tubi? What do you like to watch on there? Is there some other streamer, some hidden gem we should know about? Tell us in the comments. I’ll see you there.