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I love Netflix as much as anybody else. The unlimited selection of movies, TV shows, and documentaries are enough to keep anyone busy for many lifetimes. Netflix has proven itself a giant in today's media landscape, and with good reason; they have great content and a great platform to show it.
Netflix has sure come a long way. Started in 1997 as a video-delivery service to rival Blockbuster, Netflix only started streaming content online in 2007. In 2013, Netflix had over 20 million subscribers, and streamed their first original show, Lillyhammer, in 2012. The next year, House of Cards, which cost almost 100 million dollars to put together, premiered on the service and proved Netflix was a serious contender in the original content world. Netflix then began to slowly introduce creator-focused content slowly, and gain more traction. In 2017, Netflix has created 1000 hours of original content costing 6 billion dollars. Netflix seems like an unstoppable entertainment force.
That is not necessarily a good thing.
A large quantity of programming does not mean the content is high quality. Netflix creates so many shows that it is hard to keep track of what is there. This leads to an overlap in content and a diminishing of the overall quality.
Netflix prides itself on being a creator-centered model, but that is also problematic. Giving artistic freedom to so many shows means that many shows will overlap. Take, for example, Judd Apatow's Love and Aziz Ansari's Master of None. Both are millennial-centered comedic love stories following one couple's ups and downs in the 21st century dating world. These shows have a lot of similarities in their style, themes, and characters. I like that creators are given so much room to express their visions, but possibly some guidance is needed to avoid overlap. Robert Carlock (writer of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) says how he envisions a shared Netflix universe in his show's world (a character goes to Litchfield Penitentary, the jail from Orange is the New Black). Within this one show, I would appreciate a grab-bag of Netflix shows, but this might take some intense overhaul in the Netflix offices.
I understand Netflix's logic; Netflix has thousands of shows for everybody, so there are audiences for all different types of shows, and the shows are not fighting for airtime, so there can be many options. My problem with that is that these shows have the Netflix seal on them. A symbol on a product is usually a seal of approval on that specific product. When I see a Netflix symbol on a show, I demand a certain type of quality. So when a show is generally disliked under the Netflix label, it diminishes the validity of the symbol.
I am a big fan of shows made with this symbol, and I want to be excited by every show that Netflix releases (as a big fan of so many). But it is hard to do this when there is so much content being made. We live in an age where we can demand the highest quality entertainment, and I look forward to seeing what bold choices Netflix makes next.
With such an inundation of options, let me know what Netflix shows I might have missed that you think are worth watching.