‘The Simpsons’ Finally Streaming on FXX in Proper, Original Format

By February 14, 2015

When every episode of “The Simpsons” arrived on FXX, and eventually on the Simpsons World app from the network, fans had their excitement dulled a little bit when it was revealed that older episodes were cropped to fill 16:9 widescreen televisions instead of sticking with the original 4:3 full screen format. But we have good news.

Series showrunner Al Jean just announced on Twitter that the first seven seasons of “The Simpsons” are now available to stream in their native 4:3 format online, with arrival in the show’s application sometime soon. In addition, the rest of the episodes that are supposed to be that size will be added sometime soon as well.

Here’s Al Jean’s tweet delivering the good news for purists of “The Simpsons” classic episodes:

For the casual viewer, this may not seem like a big deal, but cropping “The Simpsons” to fit widescreen televisions means we’re not getting the whole image. Even if it was remastered for high definition and cropped with attention to detail, that’s just not how those episodes were meant to be viewed. Therefore, it’s nice to see the older episodes played in the appropriate size, despite modern television standards. Here’s a comparison between the FXX cropped version and the original format:

Format comparison for broadcast of 'The Simpsons.'

This is exactly the kind of treatment “The Simpsons” should have been given immediately, much like the high-definition remaster that HBO completed for their revered series “The Wire.” That show was also a 4:3 formatted show, but when it was upgraded to HD last winter, it wasn’t simply cropped to fit widescreen televisions. In fact, the show was shot on 35mm film, so there wasn’t any cropping to be done, and the show actually looks even more pretty.

Television shows should always be viewed in their original format size when possible. And when it comes to a show being “upgraded” from 4:3 to widescreen televisions, sometimes people don’t even realize what they’re losing in image composition and also quality. Frankly, I’m glad that fans were vocal enough to get FXX to make these episodes available in the format they were made to be seen.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.
  • KevinPPark

    i remember watching and i was like something ain’t right…the damn widescreen…why would they tamper with something so unimportant?? jeeze..

  • USAjoe

    BEST NEWS EVER.. the cropping really annoyed me! Can’t wait to see the Simpsons in the way it was originally intended.