How has it revolutionized our viewing habits? FYI breaks it down.
By: Anwar Solasi
It’s quite extraordinary when you think about it. Let’s go back even a decade. Would anyone have thought possible that a film like Roma would be nominated for an Oscar? Or that we would be playing out a real, live version of the 1980’s and 90’s ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books on Bandersnatch?
This is the power of Netflix.
Roma is an absolute masterpiece, but it wasn’t viewed on cinema screens. Streamed exclusively on Netflix, there was a fair bit of controversy and furor over its Oscar nomination with cinema heavyweights like Steven Spielberg chiming in on what exactly constitutes a ‘film.’
A few weeks later, Spielberg signed up with Apple TV+ for a series of original content.
This is the power of Netflix.
It would be an understatement to suggest that Netflix has, indeed, revolutionized contemporary viewing and content.
In the last few years, Netflix has proven to be a game changer. Shedding the ‘just for TV’ tag, it has become a behemoth all unto its own. With original series of quality programming ranging from the surreal like Black Mirror to the uniquely witty yet hard hitting Bojack Horseman, to drawing in big name talents like Sandra Bullock with Birdbox, Netflix has shown what diversity in programming looks like. It even did the impossible with the superhero genre – making Marvel palatable on the small screen. The first seasons respectively of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones stand right up there with some of the best cinematic counterparts.
What this has effectively achieved – Netflix’s constant bending and twisting of the traditional and conventional, is that it has allowed others to up their game as well, and jump into the proverbial pool of immense potential.
You need to look no further than Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and Disney+. The future is well and truly now.
And honestly? It really isn’t rocket science as to why or how Netflix has captured our collective consciousness the way it has. The accessibility aside, the comfort to one side – the sheer options are what tick all the right boxes. Sometimes, literally. Every possible genre under one cohesive, personalized belt is like having an old, familiar friend awaiting you every night as you sit down with your choice of beverage – willing you, nudging you into your preference of the day. “What’s your poison?” – it asks, seductively. And then proceeds to kill you. Softly.
You often hear the offhand comment, ‘it’s like it knows me.’ Well, it does. It is designed to do just that. It is designed to offer, cajole, and entertain. It is your best friend and crack dealer all rolled into one.
Can the Netflix train survive, though? Judging by the look of things, it will thrive. That trendsetting role it has assumed, will only cement itself further with more original programming in the works. The real question, then, is not so much this, but how others will compare. Can a fatigue of programming set in? With Marvel pulling out and heading to parent channel, Disney, could more defections, so to speak, take place?
As always, the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is a well oiled machine which runs on revenue. There are plenty of stakeholders, investors involved who are there to ensure that this new wave of programming, this current way we feed ourselves content – not only continues, but grows.
Perhaps the most interesting question is whether or not we will evolve as well. How will the boundaries of contemporary viewing continue to be pushed and challenged? How long till we become a symbiotic whole – the viewer and the film /show seamlessly bound together as one, common experience. Netflix and the like, are after all, already such an intrinsic part of our lives, it’s curious to see how far that envelope is pushed, in the future.
Till then. The world is your Netflix.