These days, TVs are rectangular in shape. This is a departure from the old days of CRT TVs which were more boxy and squarish. This means that TV shows made for the older era adopted a different aspect ratio, 4:3, versus today’s aspect ratio which is 16:9. Unfortunately, this makes adapting older TV shows to modern day TVs a bit troublesome.
This is evidence in Seinfeld, the hit comedy TV show from the 90s which has recently made its way onto Netflix. The show was one many had been eagerly anticipating, even for those who have seen it multiple times in the past, but unfortunately, Netflix’s 16:9 aspect ratio has “ruined” some parts of the show.
— Brandon (spooky version) (@Thatoneguy64) October 1, 2021
This is because in addition to the comedic jokes told in the show, some of it relied on “props” which unfortunately got cut out when Netflix used the 16:9 aspect ratio. This is evidenced in one of the episodes titled “The Pothole”, in which the titular pothole was actually cut out from the frame in the Netflix version.
We’re not sure if there are other episodes that are similarly affected by trying to adapt 4:3 shows to 16:9, but it’s something to take into consideration. That being said, it isn’t all Netflix’s fault. Seinfeld has found its way onto other modern day streaming platforms in similar aspect ratios in the past, but given the renewed interest in the series, especially with Netflix scoring a coup on such a hit show, many are now discovering it for themselves.
Disney ran into similar issues in the past with some of its older shows before making a change and releasing shows in their original aspects, so maybe Netflix could do something similar in the future as well.