Showtime’s alternative dark-comedy Weeds kicked off season eight with a literal bang last night, and you can watch the premiere for free on YouTube or right below. Just remember two things: This particular episode is not for the squeemish, and don’t expect Showtime to put up any other new episodes from the season for folks who don’t have traditional cable and Showtime channel subscriptions.
We’ll avoid sharing any major spoilers, but suffice it to say that Weeds protagonist Nancy Botwin starts off the season in a difficult situation, and the momentum is clearly there for the show’s conclusion; the writers have said that this season will be the show’s last. To see what we’re talking about, watch the full episode embedded below. Like almost all Weeds episodes, it’s a bite-sized 27 minutes in length.
Showtime has made this episode available for free online to get you hooked on the show so you’ll actually subscribe to its cable channel, which you need a traditional cable or satellite TV subscription to get. HBO did the same thing with Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom last week. In both cases, further episodes in the season won’t be available online for non-subscribers anytime soon.
Both HBO and Showtime offer apps to subscribers that let them view almost any episode of any current series on the web, on tablets, or what have you. If you don’t have cable, you’ll have to wait until the episodes hit iTunes or Amazon Instant Video at least a year from now.
Showtime’s reasons for withholding its content from the web, streaming TV services, and mobile devices are similar to the reasons that HBO does the same, with the additional issue that Showtime owner CBS is known to be particularly cautious about licensing its content to be streamed anywhere but its own properties.