This may not be the Great Mythical "Friends" reunion TV movie, but let's just call it The Next Best Thing instead: The entire run of "Friends" is coming to Netflix early next year.
An official announcement has not yet arrived, but that is a formality at this point: Twitter exploded with the news a little under an hour ago, essentially burying HBO's big announcement that it would offer a streaming service — a la Netflix — early next year.
And one-upmanship was clearly the plan: Netflix stock was expected to take a hit when the HBO news arrived, and in fact, Netflix stock did tumble after the HBO announcement, and it's unclear whether this deal will turn investor sentiment ("Friends" comes with a price tag, after all, and while it's exciting to viewers, maybe not so much to stock-pickers.)
Nonetheless, "Friends" is still a coup: One of the most popular series in TV history, still a draw, and still hard to find on TV except for the most devoted of fans, who largely rely on their DVD collections these days for sustenance. This deal means that all of the episodes — roughly 220 give or take a dozen — will be instantly available Jan. 1, 2015. Jerry Seinfeld also recently confirmed that discussions are underway for a "Seinfeld" move to Netflix, which would arguably be an even bigger coup for Netflix, which has essentially predicated its entire business model on TV reruns.
That HBO deal? They still have "Game of Thrones," and that looks like a pretty strong equalizer, too.