這是胡說八道: The Demise of Drama Fever
Those who are familiar with me know that for almost a year I have been watching a large amount of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean television media. I stumbled across some shows on Netflix, and then friend of the show Moji from the TV Movie Mistress introduced me to Drama Fever, a streaming site with large selections of the aforementioned shows, along with Japanese media. Even though Asians and Asian Americans are woefully underrepresented and presented as racist caricatures out of Hollywood, sites like Drama Fever offered content straight from the culture. The content was created by individuals familiar with the culture, showing themselves in a variety of nuanced roles. It was refreshing. For those looking to reinforce language learning, it was an immersion without the annoying nasal White American dubbing that tends to take place.
As recently as two weeks ago, Drama Fever promoted exclusive content-shows that were currently airing in their home countries, or had just wrapped a run and were now available to Western audiences via the site. As recently as TWO DAYS ago, the site login screen had announcements of shows that were en route. Then, yesterday at 2:13 p.m., an article ran in The Hollywood Reporter announcing that Warner Brothers was shutting the service down. I didn't even know that Warner Brothers had sunk their teeth into Drama Fever, a site that had been in operation for 9 years, but apparently they purchased the site in 2016.
I was deeply disappointed. There are other sites, but none of them were as sleek, streamlined, and professionally captioned as Drama Fever. My subscription was 4.99, which I paid in two places-both directly on the website, and through the Amazon Channel feature. The content was worth it to me, and I wanted to provide them the support. Last month, we were notified that the price was increasing by 50 cents a month-it seemed low, but for the quality content we were getting, I didn't mind. I would have been willing to pay more for it-that's how good it was. That said, I figured with this announcement, I'd at least have until the end of the month to finish watching shows I was currently covering over at TV Movie Mistress. Then I log in to the site and get this screen:
It's a little blurry. But the essence is this-on the same day they made the public announcement that the site was going down, just a week after taking money out of my bank account, I can't get to ANY OF THE CONTENT I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR.
That's a Chinese phrase by the way. Your computer isn't glitching. Your browser isn't corrupted. I deliberately put that in the title of the article and here. It means THIS IS BULLSHIT!
Warner Brothers purchased a company that maybe wasn't doing the best, or maybe it was and decided to capitalize on how well it was doing with a buy out. Under Warner Brothers' leadership (the same leadership that has given us the DC Online Streaming service which, by all accounts, leaves a LOT to be desired), the same leadership that gave us a disjointed, needlessly violent, Tarantino vision of Teen Titans, Drama Fever is gone. Representation is gone. It disappeared in one of the most unprofessional ways I've not seen since April and the Universal FanCon debacle.
The fact that two days ago the site was advertising new content and now is completely shut down tells me the employees were blindsided. If it sounds familiar, it is because it is the same thing that happened to the employees over at Telltale Games. And fans are rightfully furious. It's a death blow to getting a variety of entertainment that isn't White washed by Hollywood. More than that, it's a violation of the terms of service. Premium members, individuals who were either paying monthly like myself, or annually like many others, were told we would receive a 30 day notice prior to any changes, including shuttering of services. No one, myself included, even received an email. I discovered the news of the closing via the article link in a Facebook post. It is why I thought I had at least thirty days-because of course they would be sending emails.
Warner Brothers could have stayed away. They could have let someone else acquire the property. To purchase a property, which provided a representative peek into Asian cultures, and then to shutter it in such an unprofessional manner-well I guess that's just how we do business now.
I am devastated, broken hearted, and furious. Warner Brothers couldn't just focus on that shitty comic universe they can't get to make decent amounts of money, or the murderverse they insist on promoting. They had to come and damage something that was really important, and not just to Asian and Asian American communities. As a person of color, I loved seeing other cultures and how they see themselves. I loved listening to their language, watching their mythology, and their depiction of their family dynamics and relationships. Frankly, it was nice watching media that didn't center or deify Whiteness.
Drama Fever's shuttering was a loss that could and should have been avoided. Warner Brothers just can't help but poison everything it touches. Now we are left with a gap in coverage, and this bullshit:
Fuck Batman indeed. And, apparently, fuck customers and fans. That seems to be Warner Brother's new motto.