Netflix is running out of shows for people who have already mined its library for all the quality they can find. These poorly planned, written and produced properties are all over the site, and far outnumber the diamonds that have been taken up by the cultural consciousness. A European Parliament ruling might be changing the zoning rule so get access to American Netflix anyway, but their programming schedule (an executive said that they were aiming for a new release every two weeks) seems to be lending itself to quantity over quality anyway.
“Not having to conform to conventions of plot or production stemming directly from its method of delivery [is a huge advantage]”
It is clear that Netflix presents a unique opportunity for smaller productions to get creative control and get their idea picked up by a distributor. Aziz Ansari, creator, writer and star of Master of None said on a Reddit AMA: ‘On Netflix, we never had one issue with content [being too sexual/graphic]. Also, no need to edit to commercials. Most importantly though, Netflix really believed in us and told us they wanted to go straight to series and do 10 episodes. No pilot/development process.’ The platform has a lot of advantages in its novelty, not having to conform to conventions of plot or production stemming directly from its method of delivery.
There have been a lot of articles about how Netflix and other streaming services are changing the nature of TV (including in this section), but few on the fact that a lot of Netflix Originals are shit. Along with Google’s targeted advertising, Netflix’s taste algorithms got a lot of press for being able to consistently suggest shows that you want to watch based on viewing habits, as well as anticipating taste for producing new programming. House of Cards was huge when it first came out, and although it may be wildly out of touch with the current political climate (but so was everyone) it is still incredible (I sometimes re-watch just the first episode because it’s so tight and Kevin Spacey is amazing in it).
“A $4.1 billion dollar company can afford to have some flops, but the volume of sub-par shows begs the question: why not just make something better?”
On the originals tab it is a mix of one-off stand-up shows, features and TV, and ranked from highest rated to lowest by about two-fifths of the way down there isn’t a way to see how these the got made. Netflix’s audience has definitely caught up with the library and so the demand for ‘what is new’ is high. A $4.1 billion dollar company can afford some flops, but the volume of sub-par shows begs the question: why not just make something better?
Maybe it is audience retention, with other services entering the streaming market (Amazon is doing very well with Mr. Robot, Man in the High Castle and the new Phillip K. Dick miniseries being announced) they need to be competitive. To be honest, I just don’t see the point, they might be keeping the attention of some in between the Marvel TVU releases and House of Cards season 4, but for something that was acclaimed for raising the bar for serialised TV narratives, it does produce some shit.