It’s a free app
Pokemon TV is a weird concept, but it’s free, and ready to go on Switch, so it’s worth giving a shot nonetheless. Essentially, the app is attempting to emulate the feeling of cable surfing, with stuff cycling in and out, just filled with Pokemon content. You also have the option to log in via linking your Pokemon Trainer Club account, or using the app as a guest.
Here’s the rundown from Nintendo:
“Pokemon TV is a fun way to watch all sorts of great Pokemon programming! Enjoy the adventures of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends—along with animated specials and highlights of Pokemon Championship tournaments. Find loads of great Pokemon TV content to watch in one convenient place—hundreds of episodes (including full seasons), animated specials, and thrilling Pokemon Trading Card Game and video game competitions. Content changes periodically!”
Having actually tried it, here’s what it actually has at the moment:
- Pokemon Kids TV – 12 episodes (cute shorts, typically set to songs)
- Pokemon The Movie: Hoopa (leaves service on September 3)
- A smattering of seasons of the TV show, from 1-2, to 6, 10-13, to 20-22, to 23 – episode count varies from 12 to 51
- Pokemon Generations – 18 episodes
- Pokemon Origins – 4 episodes
- Those Twilight Wings shorts that are free on YouTube
- Smatterings from the Player’s Cup series as well as Top Deck Academy
You can pretty much tell immediately that this service is going to be useless for some of you. Similar to streaming content homes that have random seasons and random episodes of shows, Pokemon TV follows that same spirit. It’s perfect for kids whose parents want them watching something safe and controlled (away from the horrors of YouTube surfing), but general audiences can access most of this content elsewhere, with a better UI and better quality. One of the few real gems is the Hoopa movie, but that’s on Hulu currently, as well as the Pokemon channel on Amazon for $2.99 a month.
As someone who has followed Pokemon content through the streaming era, the way it’s handled by The Pokemon Company currently (contracting to random services) is extremely annoying. I hope that one day they can get it all together and actually house their content under one roof. For now, Pokemon TV is a lot like the Pokemon catalogs on any given service: incomplete.