Welcome to January’s random blog post, I managed to miss December’s, what with it being Christmas!
So, maybe Netflix hasn’t exactly changed our lives, that was a tad dramatic! But it has had an impact on the way in which we consume TV and film, of course it isn’t the only streaming service but as it’s the one I have and love, it will be the focus of this blog post.
I’ve had Netflix for a number of years now, back when it was mostly indie films and obscure content you couldn’t get anywhere else. And, although it still has that, it now has a plethora of TV shows and films to feast on too. Netflix seemed to do a lot of things all at once, first it eliminated adverts. Round of applause for that! Second, it provided a mixture of content so that, for the most part, there was something to suit everyone. Third, it introduced binge watching in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.
I’ve always been a binge watcher. I would buy a TV series on DVD and watch it start to finish in a couple of days, or I would record a series on TV and store it up to watch all at once. The majority of the time, I was watching TV series’ that I had seen before but I wanted to revisit. Now though, I can access a whole series of something I’ve never watched before without the risk of buying it and not enjoying it. Not to mention the fact that it saves your place and you don’t have to get up and change the DVD every four episodes!
Paying your monthly fee gives all the reward without the risk. When I was a teenager who never slept at night, I used to watch films that were on the TV, Channel 4 in particular used to show a film every night and in this way I watched a whole host of films I would never have come across otherwise. This, sadly, isn’t the case anymore unless you pay a premium for something like Sky Movies. I also have a vast collection of DVDs but I would only buy films I had either already seen, or that I had on good authority, were good. Meaning I was missing out on the films that didn’t necessarily make it big or the independent films that unless you were a real film buff, you just didn’t come across. Netflix has changed that completely.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some real crap on there, at least for my tastes. There have been many films I have started watching and turned off five minutes in because it was rubbish. Now, if I was paying close on £10 to go to the cinema then I wouldn’t have walked out and instead suffered through the rest of the film. See, no risk! And for me films was the driving force behind the subscription.
But it’s not what I have grown to love about Netflix, although it is a huge advantage. You might remember when Netflix announced they would be cutting a lot of their content to make room for Netflix originals. It was a huge risk because it cut out some great films and TV shows and no one knew if they had any good content of their own up their sleeve. As it turns out, they did. Sure, there are great shows on normal TV too but for me, asking whether you’d watched the new show on Netflix overtook talking about the weather.
I think Orange is the new Black was the show that made me sit up and take notice. It was so fresh! Great writing, superb casting and the right balance of comedy and drama. Yes it is maybe a little risque and hard hitting but it pushed the boundaries and took a risk and I congratulate them on that. It’s not hard to notice that Netflix has manged to create a formula that appeals to both genders which I think is important too. There are some shows are so crudely aimed at men that it puts me off! Of course there is now a whole slew of Netflix originals to feast on, though of course, they are not to everyone’s taste. Stranger Things turned out to be a phenomenon although I didn’t rave about it myself. There is The Crown, Designated Survivor, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to name just a few!
Of course, I can’t really write this post without mentioning Making a Murderer! You couldn’t throw a stone without hitting someone who had binge watched that programme, and it still sparks debates. It was a documentary that got people talking and thinking and connecting in a way that few programmes manage. And because of it, Netflix now has a whole host of documentaries available, of which I have watched many, to get people thinking instead of just trying to entertain.
I also have Netflix to thank for programmes like Once Upon A Time, which was cancelled on the mainstream channel I first watched it on. As well as programmes like Pretty Little Liars which I can watch the next day, after an episode is released in the USA, something which is typically unheard of. I also would never have watched great series like Chuck and Orphan Black if it wasn’t for Netflix.
I think it’s easy to forget just how expensive it can be sometimes to watch great shows that are only available on premium channels and this is one of the great things for parents too. It’s child friendly section is full of films and TV programmes that they might not get to watch otherwise. There are so many parents out there that can’t afford to buy their child a new film every week, or pay extra for all the kids channels. Of course, you still have to pay for a Netflix subscription but if offers so much.
Okay, this is starting to sound like an advertisement now…a very long one at that! I would also like to say there are other streaming services available too!
I’d just like to add how Netflix has changed things for me more personally. I am ill…a lot! If you read my blog then you’ll know that I have an Inflammatory Bowel Disease which when it flares up can leave me stuck in bed for days at a time. Honestly, other than reading of course, Netflix gave me something to do! When I was admitted to hospital last year I was able to put my earphones in and watch it on my tablet to block out the fact that I was on my own stuck in hospital. When the lights went out at night and I couldn’t sleep, I could distract myself with shows and films to my hearts content.
So there, I’m done, I just wanted to put that out there! A slightly lighter topic for this months random post. Well done if you made it this far…
Do you have Netflix? What great shows and films have you discovered on there?
November’s random post – Body shaming
December’s random post – Sexism in the modern world