M*A*S*H Streaming on Hulu

M*A*S*H began streaming on Hulu yesterday (June 29th), nearly a year after Hulu and 20th Century Fox signed a deal to bring some 3,000 episodes from more than 25 TV shows to Hulu.

Hulu's M*A*S*H loading page.

M*A*S*H is now streaming on Hulu. The episodes have reportedly been remastered in HD and are now 16:9 widescreen.

I don’t subscribe to Hulu, so I haven’t been able to watch any of the episodes, but I’m told the show has been remastered in high definition and cropped to 16:9 widescreen. Although I’m happy the show has been remastered in HD, I don’t support cropping the episodes to 16:9 widescreen. The show was filmed with a 4:3 aspect ratio in mind, that’s how it originally aired, and that’s how it should remain. The producers never intended it to be shown in 16:9 widescreen. Every shot was composed and framed in 4:3. Hopefully, 20th Century Fox had the episodes remastered in 4:3 full frame as well. That way, if M*A*S*H eventually comes out on Blu-ray, the episodes will retain their original 4:3 aspect ratio.

Can someone with a Hulu subscription can provide some screen captures so I can compare the new HD, widescreen episodes with the DVDs?

Also, apparently the iconic Season 4 finale “The Interview” is streaming on Hulu in color. Finally, the five hour-long episodes (“Welcome to Korea,” Bug Out, “Fade Out, Fade In,” Our Finest Hour,” and “That’s Show Biz”) have been split in two on Hulu. That’s how they air in syndication and how Netflix streamed them. They’re available in their original form on DVD, however.

(Thanks to Dan.)

18 Comments

  • Bob Gassel says:

    Original framing…

    https://i.imgur.com/ekcVDm1_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium

    New HD widescreen…note how the clock has been repositioned and you can see more on the sides…

    https://i.imgur.com/IyLbbOL_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium

    • Sven Vollstag says:

      …more on the sides but less on the bottom…
      …and a new guy on the left appears to be wearing a digital wristwatch…
      …this does not bode well…

      • John Baumgartner says:

        Wow, you must have 8K television to discern what type of watch that is! As a life long watcher and fan of MASH, I think this conversion and HD upgrade is fantastic and feel it’s truly consistent with the framing intentions of the filmmakers. Also, it just looks beautiful.

  • Ferret Face says:

    While it doesn’t matter to me, since I have the DVDs and don’t have Hulu, I’m happy for those who’ve been waiting for them to get off their butts and add it, lol. And of course, the more options for people to discover the show the better.

    “Also, apparently the iconic Season 4 finale “The Interview” is streaming on Hulu in color.”

    Honestly, that seems like it would hurt the episode, at least in my opinion. Obviously it’s still a great episode no matter what, but the black and white gives really goes well with the episode’s style.

  • Dan Morgan says:

    Awesome!! I know what I’m watching at happy hour!!! 😛

  • BDOR says:

    Has the picture quality for Seasons 4 and 5 improved in comparison to DVD? On DVD, Season 4 is dark and fuzzy, and Season 5 has the same problem with some episodes, while others are really orange.

  • Dan Morgan says:

    Here is something I noticed, 3 episodes of the 1st season have an alternate opening theme song that is heard only on the DVDs, but not the hd Hulu versions.”The Army-Navy game”, “Sticky Wicket”, and “Major Fred C. Dobbs” uses this alternate opening theme. So why isn’t the Hulu episodes using this theme. Wouldn’t the original source (or negative) for those episodes also have this theme, or I wonder if they remastered one intro and used for all the openings to save a little work excluding the “Pilot”. Not a complaint but an observation.

    • BDOR says:

      What about Season 5? On DVD, the opening credits featured the same chopper footage as Seasons 1-4, yet in syndication, they use the chopper footage from Seasons 6-11.

      • Bob Gassel says:

        The season 5 opening is now corrected to use the same chopper footage as seasons 1-4, like it originally aired.

    • Bob Gassel says:

      Not to worry, other than that alternate theme being replaced, the rest of the anomalies seem unchanged…the alt shot of BJ approaching the chopper in a few early season four eps, and the unique “trumpet” theme used only the season nine premiere “The Best of Enemies”…

  • Rupert Baseart says:

    I’m almost always against an aspect ration change from the original. For example, From the Earth to the Moon was created in 4:3 and re-released on 16×9 and, in my opinion, is a disaster.

    I’ve been watching 16×9 M*A*S*H on Hulu and I’m surprised how well it works. Scenes can look problematic form the cropping but the actual transfers are remarkable. I assume this was a long restoration project because the clarity is stunning.

  • RJ says:

    I haven’t seen any of the newly remastered episodes on Hulu, only a handful of screen caps. I fully support the new, high definition transfers. But high definition doesn’t require a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. No matter how well the widescreen looks, M*A*S*H isn’t meant to be seen in widescreen.

    I’m not saying fans shouldn’t be watching or enjoying the episodes on Hulu. Just keep in mind you’re watching a widescreen interpretation of M*A*S*H, not the episodes the way the producers/directors/cinematographers filmed them.

    (For the record, I feel the same way about any TV show filmed or videotaped in 4:3 and cropped to 16:9, with the possible exception of the few TV shows filmed or taped in 4:3 but safely framed for 16:9. It’s like colorizing a black-and-white movie. It may look nice, but it’s not the way the movie is meant to be seen.)

    • BDOR says:

      As someone who films in HD, I can tell that this is true: HD doesn’t always have to be specifically 16:9, and cropping something in widescreen doesn’t automatically make it “HD.” As long as the pixel height is 720 or higher, it’s HD no matter how wide it is. Full HD is 1920×1080 pixels, and while my camera films in such resolution, I frame and edit my footage in 1440×1080 for 4:3 – I’ve never been a fan of widescreen, 16:9; not just for the cropping from 4:3 losing the tops and bottoms of the picture, but if something was naturally filmed in 16:9, why do we need to see what’s happening in the background off to the sides when it’s the action in the foreground in center frame that we’re supposed to concentrate on?

  • John Baumgartner says:

    As a TV director and life long watcher and ardent fan of MASH, I think the Fox/Hulu conversion and HD upgrade is fantastic. It’s truly consistent with and respectful of the framing intentions of the filmmakers (with practically no cropping, but rather adding). Also, it just looks beautiful! Although the color INTERVIEW is a bummer.

  • Jackie du Bois says:

    I watched the whole series on Hulu…and they cut the credits on the last episode! That, along with the weird cropping and varying theme songs had me wondering if that was how I saw it when I fiest saw the reruns back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was so strange to actually see the show in order too…the local TV station played it out of order and made “Goodbye”, a Sunday after special they only showed once every few years…

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