As hard as it is to accept, the Harry Potter weekends Potterheads knew and loved are about to change. The ownership rights to the series are switching companies, which means Freeform won't be able to air giant blocks of Harry Potter programming whenever they feel like it. For fans who are already wondering where to stream all the Harry Potter movies once they leave Freeform, there's actually some good news: a lot of places. And soon. According to The Verge, the complete Harry Potter series is making its debut on HBO in January 2018, where the cable channel will ring in New Year's Day with a marathon of all eight films, plus Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, which has been available on HBO for some time now.
As shown by the increasingly tarnished logos at the beginning of each film, Harry Potter is owned by Warner Bros. Warner Bros. and HBO are both owned by Time Warner Cable, so it's honestly surprising that all eight hadn't been migrated to the premium network before now. Also, Harry Potter moving to HBO is actually a development worth celebrating. It's admittedly difficult to detach from the idea of spontaneous Freeform Harry Potter weekend marathons, not to mention the ones fans expect ever Halloween and holiday season. Here's the thing, though: Once all eight Harry Potter films have migrated to HBO, that will be the first time the complete series has been available to watch or stream anywhere. With the exception of a personal DVD collection, of course.
Really, though, never in the franchise's 16-year film history has every existing Harry Potter been available to stream in the same place. Previously, some would be on Netflix, some would be available through HBO, and maybe one edited for television could be available through your cable provider on demand. But now, at long last, even though it's kind of a bummer to lose out on Freeform's Harry Potter weekend bonanzas, fans will be able to construct their own. Fast forward through the sad parts! Skip to the good ones! Pause to get another pumpkin juice from the fridge! See? You're probably feeling better already. Is there a spell for that? Hermione would know.
In addition to HBO, the rights of the Harry Potter series will switch from Disney/ABC to NBCUniversal in 2018, according to the New York Times. So, if you had Freeform, but you don't have HBO, you don't have to panic. "Harry Potter Weekends" could very well arrive on USA or SyFy, both of which are operated by NBCUniversal by Spring 2018. Again: The Harry Potter series will still have a home on basic cable. It'll just be on different networks than you're used to. But hey, better USA and SyFy than nothing at all, right? Even if SyFy abbreviates "Science Fiction" that way.
So, though it doesn't seem as if Harry Potter will move onto Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, it at least won't be confined to HBO. Once the rights switch over to NBCUniversal, it means that all eight movies will potentially air on NBC, USA, Bravo, SyFy, and any other station owned and operated by them. Remember when the Olympics were on, and how it seemed as if every channel's regular programming had been replaced with sports? It could be like that, but with Hogwarts.
Of course, that's unlikely; even Harry Potter probably won't take the place of NBCUniversal's news channels, financial news channels, shopping channels, and smaller properties like "Chiller." But, it's just one positive example of what could happen once Harry Potter leaves Disney-ABC. To really get on fans' good side, at least one NBCUniversal channel should probably think about airing a Harry Potter weekend-style marathon once they're able to. It would be a real Neville Longbottom move.