July 1st, 2015 Update: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” has been added to Netflix! Plus, Seasons 6-11 are now listed in broadcast order rather than production order.
April 1st, 2015 Update: Seasons 6-11 were added to Netflix on April 1st but not the series finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” Also, the last six seasons are ordered by production block rather than by broadcast season.
As I reported a few weeks ago, as of today the first five seasons of M*A*S*H are available for streaming through Netflix (the United States version, at least). Here‘s the Netflix page for the series. Presumably the remaining seasons will be added at a later date. I took some time this morning to examine the series on Netflix using both a TV set and a computer.
Not surprisingly, M*A*S*H is not streaming in HD on Netflix. There has been no additional remastering and the video is identical to the DVDs. The quality appears somewhat lower on my 40″ HD set but that may be due to my Internet connection. Watching the first episode on DVD and Netflix side-by-side on my computer it was hard to tell the difference. It did take a few moments for Netflix to clear up but again that’s likely my Internet connection. Netflix does seem to be a slight bit darker.
The episodes on Netflix are presented uncut the way they are on DVD. They are all 24 to 26 minutes long. However, both “Welcome to Korea” (Season 4) and “Bug Out” (Season 5) are split into two separate episodes on Netflix rather than one episode on the DVDs. I’m not sure why. These two episodes were originally broadcast on television as hour-long specials and were split in two for syndication but are not split on DVD.
Audio is in English with the laugh track. There is no option to watch the episodes without the laugh track. Captions are available in English only.
Netflix has rated M*A*S*H PG-13: Parental guidance suggested. May not be suitable for all children. It has a Common Sense Media Rating of AGe 13 (OK for kids 13+). Here’s what Common Sense has to say about M*A*S*H:
Parents need to know that M*A*S*H* is an outstanding dark comedy set during the Korean War at a mobile military hospital. Based on the classic 1970 movie, the show includes scenes of operating rooms with visible blood, wounded soldiers writhing in pain, and frank discussion of death. Though many of the characters are pro-military, the main characters are firmly anti-war and speak regularly and cynically about war and the military. Many episodes include veiled discussions of sexual activity, and there’s some kissing and groping, though it’s usually in a comedic context. Several characters drink regularly, one cross-dresses in an attempt to get sent home, and most are prone to playing practical jokes on each other. Older tweens and young teens will likely enjoy the show for Hawkeye’s wisecracks and the broader humor, but its more subtle messages may not kick in until kids are older.
(I regularly use Netflix but had never noticed the Common Sense Media Ratings before. The full M*A*S*H review includes details on violence, sex, language, consumerism, positive role models, and more.)
Bottom line: It’s great to see M*A*S*H on Netflix because it means millions of people may be introduced to the show. If you already have a Netflix plan with streaming, you might find it easier to stream episodes from the first five seasons rather than having to keep switching DVDs. If you’ve been thinking about signing up for Netflix maybe M*A*S*H being available for streaming will be the push you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t have Netflix and don’t want it, you’re not missing anything, especially if you have M*A*S*H on DVD.