Snoopy looking at the tree

Free The Great Pumpkin You Ghouls.

More than a week has passed since Apple TV+ announced that it acquired the rights to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as well as the other “Peanuts” holiday specials, and I’m still upset. Because of this new deal, the Halloween animated favorite, which has aired on broadcast television every year since 1966, will not be viewable there for the first time in 54 years. Snoopy Christmas Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas, broadcast-TV staples of the holiday season, also won’t air on either of their previous homes, ABC or CBS, this year. The only way to see them is on the streaming platform that gave us The Morning Show and Dickinson.

It is a gargantuan understatement to note that there are far bigger issues to be upset about right now than the relegation of children’s animated shows to a subscription streaming service, especially since Apple TV+, at least for this year, plans to make the specials available free to nonsubscribers for short windows of time around Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But I am still upset about it.

Evidently, I am not alone; nearly 200,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that the specials be restored to the more accessible airwaves. Is the semi-absence of Linus and his obsession with a sizable winter squash as pressing as the upcoming election or the rise in coronavirus case numbers? Of course not. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s this: It is possible to be outraged and distraught about a vast number of things at the same time.

There are a few reasons why this decision, Snoopy Christmas sprung upon an unsuspecting public midway through October, when they were just blissfully assuming they ‘d be able to watch Charlie Brown say “I got a rock” at some point before Halloween, is upsetting. The “Peanuts” holiday shows are a long-standing tradition. Yes, for quite some time, you’ve been able to watch them on DVD or Blu-ray, but the fact that they would be broadcast often twice before the relevant holidays they commemorate made them available to everyone, regardless of whether they could afford a streaming subscription or a device that provides access to Apple TV+. As long as you had access to a television of any kind and a basic antenna, you and your family could watch.

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