So, come over and watch Netflix. We’ve all heard it, and all I can say I hope there’s more truth in the hidden meaning of that phrase than there is in any hope of actually watching the subscription service because, to be honest, there really isn’t that much that’s worth watching on the channel. Like a million or so other Australians, I signed up for the free period of Netflix when it launched in Australia this year. I thought, you know what, I bet there’s something to this. After all, I’d heard how it had changed people’s viewing habits – and more importantly, the massive profits had brought about a whole new plethora of great quality T.V. shows. Sounds good, I thought. Sign me up.
And now, three or four months into the experiment, I can honestly say that I’ve opened the app less than five times. Don’t get me wrong: I know that there’s often a take-up gap with new technologies, where it’s all a little bit frustrating, and you wonder why you bother. I was prepared for that, and willing to put up with a bit of annoyance to get over the line. It’s not like Foxtel was brilliant when it first came to Australia. Well, that might be a poor example. With the exception of sport and Pawn Stars, I don’t watch a great deal of Foxtel.
So what’s the problem with Netflix? Well, to put it bluntly, there isn’t a great deal that I want to watch on the channel. I like to watch a series from start to end, a couple of episodes each night. I enjoy viewing things on demand, rather than being forced to wait from week to week. I don’t watch much in the way of reality TV shows, so I’m not trapped by live viewing needs. I don’t even watch the really new and popular shows straight away – I’m still working my way though other TV shows that I wanted to watch. So, on the face of it, you’d think I’d be the perfect Netflix viewer.
But I can’t find anything that I want to watch. I like crime dramas – so I thought I’d watch Dexter. Couldn’t find it. Sigh. It wasn’t on iTunes either. Fair enough, I thought. You can’t expect everything to be there. I’d heard good things about Spiral, a French crime drama that was shown on BBC and SBS. No dice with that one either. Perhaps, thought, there was a distinct lack of quality crime dramas on Netflix. Fine, I thought. Change of genre. Another TV show I like is Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. There’s something about his willingness to try new things, his self-deprecating wit and his charisma that makes No Reservations great viewing. But again, Netflix left me with nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. It could suggest a whole bunch of shows like No Reservations – some even with Bourdain in them – but none of the actual show itself. Not exactly what I had in mind.
So Netflix was nought for three, and I was left wondering: what’s the point? Are my viewing habits so niche that Netflix can’t help me out? Or is this a common experience?
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