Disney Plus is finally giving “The Simpsons” fans what they’ve been clamoring for: Most of the iconic animated sitcom’s older episodes will be available in the original 4-by-3 aspect ratio starting May 28.
When the streaming service launched last November, it presented the full batch of “Simpsons” episodes in 16-by-9 format. That cropped out key details from older episodes — literally destroying some of the sight gags. After a backlash, Disney said it would restore the first 19 seasons and some of Season 20 in the original pre-HD aspect ratio.
Now, months later, the archived episodes of “The Simpsons” in their original glory are nearly ready to come to Disney Plus. Al Jean, the show’s longtime showrunner, writer and executive producer, announced the release date for the 4:3 episodes on Twitter.
“As always you have been heard!” he tweeted Wednesday. “@theSimpsons episodes will be available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio on #DisneyPlus beginning 5/28.” Disney Plus’s Twitter account confirmed the move in a follow-up post.
As “an added bonus,” the Oscar-nominated “Simpsons” short “The Longest Daycare” — starring Maggie — will premiere on Disney Plus on May 29, Jean announced.
Last fall, Disney said it offered “The Simpsons” episodes in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch, with the older eps cropped to fit the format, “in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons.”
Which means the Disney Plus team were not the best students of history. When FX Networks launched the Simpsons World app in 2014, it also cropped older segments into 16:9 — which also aroused fan ire. In fact, Jean’s May 20 tweet was in reply to the tweet he posted on Feb. 12, 2015, announcing the first batch of old “Simpsons” episodes in 4:3 coming to Simpsons World.
After Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney Plus became the exclusive subscription VOD home of “The Simpsons.”
“The Simpsons,” from creator and executive producer Matt Groening, last year was renewed for Seasons 31 and 32 by Fox Corp.’s Fox broadcast network. The show remains the longest-running primetime scripted TV show in history after surpassing “Gunsmoke” with season 29.