In the wake of outcry from fans, Disney+ has released a statement announcing they will make The Simpsons' episodes available in their original aspect ratio by 2020. Disney+ secured the rights to be the exclusive streaming home for Homer and the gang following Disney's acquisition of many of 20th Century Fox's assets. Once the service launched on November 12, though, a flurry of keen-eyed Simpsons fans noticed the episodes on Disney+ were missing important details on the boundaries due to aspect ratio problems. This aspect ratio gaffe isn't the first mistake Disney's new streaming service has made in regards to The Simpsons, as the show was just one of many to be posted out of order.
The Simpsons is still churning out episodes and earlier this year it was renewed for seasons 31 and 32. By the time The Simpsons season 32 concludes, the animated classic will have a total of 713 episodes, practically guaranteeing the animated classic will hold on to its record as the longest-running prime time scripted show in history. It's an incredible milestone for the series to reach, but now it seems the The Simpsons' lengthy broadcast history is causing some issues when it comes to the new world of streaming television.
Per Variety, the issue at hand stems from the change to a higher definition on Disney+. While most episodes of The Simpsons were made to be watched with a 4:3 aspect ratio, Disney+ adjusted it to a 16:9 HD format. What happens, however, is this cuts out areas of many scenes, ruining a few jokes and angering fans who can now only stream Bart's pranks and Lisa's one-liners on Disney+. In a statement, Disney revealed they posted all episodes of The Simpsons in 16:9 high definition, "in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons." Disney has also admitted their working on fixing it, stating:
"Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options... As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of The Simpsons available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series."
This may seem like a minor issue, but it's just one of many defects thus far with Disney+. Launch day saw login problems and it still doesn't include key films from Star Wars and Marvel. Disney + may also never include the Indiana Jones movies, and it's already been confirmed that Disney+ will never house the MCU Spider-Man films starring Tom Holland.
Still, there's no discounting how impressive the collection of television and movies available to stream is on Disney+. The entire catalogue of The Simpsons episodes is just one of many draws to the service. And while Disney+ may not have considered the fact that fans want the option to enjoy these Simpsons episodes in their original format, it's a good sign the company is willing to accommodate such requests.