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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

2020 brings moving day for ‘Friends’

From left: Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and Courtney Cox in "Friends."
From left: Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and Courtney Cox in "Friends."Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.

They’re not there for you, like when the rain starts to pour and you want to zone out. They’re not there for you, Netflix subscribers, like they’ve been there before.

“Friends,” which originally ran on NBC from 1994-2004, has had a surprisingly vigorous afterlife, largely thanks to its availability on Netflix. I watch it on a regular basis, despite — or, perhaps because of — its mediocrity and its poorly dated humor. So much comfort TV is not high quality, offering instead a kind of brainless, soothing, and, in this case, nostalgic pleasure.

The 236 episodes will be available in the spring, probably in May, but only on the forthcoming WarnerMedia streaming service, which will be called HBO Max. Yup, you’ll have to subscribe for $14.99 a month in order to see the gang of six (along with plenty of other movies, TV shows, and original content). Reportedly, HBO Max paid $425 million for exclusive streaming rights to “Friends” for five years.

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In the meantime, you can still find reruns on TBS and Nickelodeon, or shell out more than $100 for the 32-disc complete-series box set.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.