Roku Originals is the new (and longer) way of saying “Quibi,” and they launch on May 20. Yes, Roku is finally ready to launch the Quibi shows it acquired at the start of the year. And it’s making a big deal out of it with Streaming Day, a launch event that will include the arrival of Kevin Hart’s LOL! Network coming to The Roku Channel.
Quibi shows will debut in the Roku Originals section, which will be a tab under Home in the Roku Home screen (all your other tabs will stay there, just moving down a row). We’ve got the full list of titles below, which includes Chrissy’s Court, but it’s good to take a moment to wonder why this is happening.
Quibi, if you don’t remember, was the big new streaming service of 2020 that didn’t live to see 2021. Quibi, which is short for “quick bites” bit the dust after some pretty bad timing: its mobile-only videos launched right at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when nobody was being mobile.
How Roku Originals changes Quibi’s shows
Now, Roku is ready to re-launch 30 of Quibi’s shows, and improve them in three notable ways. First, they’re now free (you had to pay at least $5 per month before). And now you’ll get ads between episodes, not during. Just as importantly: the Quibi shows are now not just limited to the Quibi app. They’re in The Roku Channel, which is everywhere: iOS, Android, Samsung Smart TVs, Roku devices and TVs and TheRokuChannel.com.
Of course, since the TV is one of Roku’s most important screens, you won’t get the ability to rotate Quibi shows to portrait orientation, one of the cool features Quibi had on mobile devices.
There isn’t even a sign-up process. You’ll see Roku Originals when you open the Roku Channel, and you can just hit play. This is the latest part of Roku’s bid to be the destination for free ad-supported content.
All of this ease of use — and lack of a paywall — is clearly Roku’s plan. The streaming service certainly believes in the content, it just thinks that phone apps weren’t the best distribution method.
The Roku Originals we want to watch
If it wasn’t a part of the original Quibi launch lineup, I pretty much never got around to watching it (save for Speedrun, a gaming news show that a friend of mine worked on). I’m sure that some will check out Chrissy Teigen’s show Chrissy’s Court, but the reality TV in the court room genre just isn’t my thing.
Chrissy’s Court is one of many celebrity-focused reality TV shows in the Roku Originals/Quibi lineup And if Ms. Teigen isn’t one of your faves, then they’ll probably have one show that suits you. I’m curious about Bad Ideas with Adam Devine, a reality show featuring the comedian known for co-starring on Workaholics. Roku will also play home to Fight Like a Girl, which focuses on the women of the WWE — including two of my favorites: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.
The revival of Comedy Central’s Reno 911!, though, is exactly what I’m looking to check out. And since I can never get enough of cooking and food-focused content, I’ll definitely give Shape of Pasta another try.
Roku Originals day 1 launch list
- About Face
- Bad Ideas with Adam Devine
- Big Rad Wolf
- Chrissy’s Court
- Cup of Joe
- Die Hart
- Fight Like a Girl
- The Fugitive
- Gayme Show
- Iron Sharpens Iron
- Last Looks
- Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand
- Most Dangerous Game
- Murder House Flip
- Murder Unboxed
- Reno 911!
- Shape of Pasta
- Thanks a Million
- You Ain’t Got These
Quibi shows not on the Roku Originals day 1 list
Some of the original Quibi shows aren’t included. Most notably, the thriller Survive (starring Sophie Turner) is nowhere to be found.
Also, Golden Arm — where Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) gets an actual golden arm — isn’t in the launch list.
These shows are likely coming in the next year, as Roku plans to roll out the rest of Quibi’s content over the next 12 months.