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'Free' bird: NBC's Peacock streaming service takes wing

Nick Mohammed, left, co-stars with David Schwimmer in

Nick Mohammed, left, co-stars with David Schwimmer in the workplace comedy "Intelligence" on NBC's streaming service Peacock. Credit: SKY UK

The Peacock has just about landed. To which you may say, "So what?"

Another streaming service, another month (this one launches July 15.) We've got a lot of those already. But perhaps there is reason for anticipation. Foremost, Peacock — progeny of media giant Comcast-owned NBCUniversal — will be free. 

Or sort of free. (More on that below.)

It will also be boundless. Most intriguing of all, Peacock will offer some original product, including series like "Brave New World" (see review). 

For your handy guide, let's go the questions:

Free or not? 

Free, with an asterisk. The free version will get you access to freshman NBC shows the day after their broadcast airing (and one week after for returning series). There will also be access to more than 7,500 hours from the NBC (and Universal) vault, including movies. For five bucks a month, you get pretty much everything else (up to 20,000 hours) including some live sports events when those return.

The catch: Both of these tiers come with commercials. (A $10 version is ad-free.) NBC is calling the ad load "light" — about five minutes per hour. 

Is "free" unique?

Not exactly. Other streaming services out there — notably Pluto TV and Tubi — already offer lots of free content; Pluto also has some live TV channels. But NBC Universal thinks this "free" option is the right one in an increasingly crowded pay streaming field.

How to stream this?

Peacock will be available on Apple and Google devices, Xbox One, and Vizio and LG smart TVs. The web app is PeacockTV.com.

What are the originals?

While not all arrive on launch day, new shows will include a spinoff of "Battlestar Galactica" (TBA) that may even be called "Battlestar Galactica" although apparently not to be confused with the classic that wrapped in 2009. Meanwhile, there will be reboots of "Punky Brewster" and "Saved by the Bell." A series based on "MacGruber" (with Will Forte) will launch eventually.

Also this: An Alec Baldwin-starring drama based on the podcast "Dr. Death," about the real-life Texas neurosurgeon who killed or injured dozens. (The Massapequa-raised Baldwin plays one of the other surgeons who catches him.) A few dozen originals are planned, in fact. 

What are the originals arriving on opening day?

Beside "World," these include "The Capture," a conspiracy thriller about a soldier in Afghanistan who may have been falsely accused of murder starring Callum Turner, Ron Perlman.

"Intelligence" is a workplace comedy with David Schwimmer as a bumbling National Security Agency agent sent to an English spy agency where he tries to bigfoot his co-workers.

There's also "Psych 2: Lassie Come Home," a movie based on the USA series (2006-14) which again stars James Roday and Dulé Hill. There will be a handful of sports and kids series.

What about that library?

 "The Office" arrives next year, but in the meantime just about any other NBC series will be here and then some (USA, Syfy, and so forth). The movie vault is vast — Universal, DreamWorks, some from Paramount including "The Godfather" trilogy.

Peacock will also air many series from ViacomCBS, too, including Showtime, BET and the CW shows.

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