On October 20, 2015, the Spanish audiovisual world and the way we consumed series and movies was about to change forever: for rates between 7.99 and 11.99 euros, Netflix arrived. And nothing would ever be the same. Seven years have passed and the audiovisual panorama is very different: the number of available platforms exceeds the fingers of two hands, the prices of the service have risen notably (current rates range between 7.99 and 17.99 euros) and the quality of the brand has suffered, going from being “the streaming that recovers the series that others cancel” to being “the streaming that cancels”.
In other words: in these years, popular sentiment towards Netflix has worsened. It has gone from being your friend to your enemy, from bringing you what you wanted to see to flooding you with series and movies, some – why deny it – of extremely poor quality. Binge watching doesn’t always work, and we all have series and seasons hanging because the algorithm has decided not to notify us that they exist. It’s time to be honest: the algorithm does not workor at least not like it did in 2015.
And, despite everything, Netflix is still worth it. Yes, at these prices. Yes, with this quality. Yes, even if they didn’t make changes (which they will). No, I have not received any briefcase. Let me explain it to you.
Abortion for some, American flags for others
In the beginning, Netflix had series from all the networks, which they gathered there because there was no other possibility. Now, with each production company bent on setting up its own streaming, Reed Hastings’ company has had no choice but to produce more and more content to be up to par. And among this content, there is more and more of everything and for everyone.
Cooking reality shows? Of love? High budget series? indie? Blockbusters? Author cinema? Entertainment? Netflix pulls everything except sports and news (for now, at least) with the intention of reaching as many audiences as possible. And this is good, among other things because everyone has the right to enjoy television. Increase the pace of releases each week to a stressful point, but there is always something designed for you. If it is not a new batch of episodes of ‘¡Niquelao!’ or ‘The Circle’ could be a monologue by Bo Burnham, a series like ‘The Bridgertons’, the new Sorrentino, ‘The Adam Method’ or a new surprise season of ‘Master of none’.
If there is something to recognize Netflix, it is that in its search to find a new public has not left aside the usual and has continued to cater to niches. It is one of the best services in terms of youth and adult animation, and the classicism of some projects is directly linked to the risk of others. Whether we like it more or we like it less, it is fair to say that producing series like ‘BoJack Horseman’, ‘Murderville’ or ‘SMASH’ is not a safe value. Another thing is that later they are canceledbut we’ll talk about that later.
round of recommendations
I’ve already dropped some titles that you may have missed – the algorithm doesn’t always pick the best for you, and that’s why it is increasingly important to rely on word of mouth. There are those who did not know that the wonderful second season of ‘Russian Doll’ was already on the air, or that ‘Hilda’ had a movie at the beginning of the year that continued the series. It is interesting to do a small review of the most original productions (and less publicized) of the company. They are not all that are, but they are all that are.
For example, ‘w/Bob and David’, four episodes of the pseudo-reboot of ‘Mr. Show’ that Bob Odendirk and David Cross gave us and that, somehow, has continued in spirit the great ‘Why don’t you go? with Tim Robinson’, a collection of absurd humor sketches that is a miracle that exists. But for a miracle, that of ‘Arcane’, a series of drawings based on a video game as difficult to adapt as ‘League of Legends’… And what’s more, it’s wonderful!
If we go into the cartoon worldmaybe we’ll never end: the mix of genres from ‘Love, Death & Robots’ to the adorability of ‘Hilda’, the dry humor of ‘F is for Family’, the anti-nostalgic hit of ‘Saturday morning all-star hits ‘, the wonderful return of Craig McCracken in ‘Kid Cosmic’, the fascinating, rarefied and philosophical ‘The midnight gospel’ or the spiky and reflective humor at the same time of ‘Cut along the dotted line’… There is life, although not it seems, beyond ‘BoJack Horseman’. If we talk about anime, we may be here until tomorrow: The offer, between ‘Aggretsuko’ and ‘Beastars’, is immense, and it has been improving and learning from its initial mistakes.
but on netflix we also saw comedy talents become strong such as Hannah Gadsby and her milestone ‘Nanette’, Bo Burnham and her titanic ‘Inside’, Anthony Jeselnik and ‘Thoughts and prayers’ and even established artists had a niche: Garfunkel and Oates, Sarah Silverman, Ricky Gervais, Ali Wong, the ill-fated Louis CK or the controversial Dave Chappelle. Aren’t monologues or drawings your thing? It’s okay.
Cascoporro movies and series
I’m going to do my best not to recommend series like ‘The witcher’, ‘Roma’ or ‘Stranger things’. You already know that there are: all the machinery of Netflix has taken care that you know that they are there. But the most interesting thing about the big N (excuse me from Nintendo) is scratching the surface and going a little further, with great material that, for some reason, has been left floating in the air. Because yes: Netflix has to work so that we find out about the hundreds of productions that they release annually. If the general public believes that everything is ‘Elite’, we have a problem.
Because not everything is ‘Elite’, not even in Spain: ‘The time I give you’, for example, is a great series that you can watch in one afternoon and with which you will end up crying your eyes out. And since you have your tissues close, continue with the short ‘If something happens to me, I love you’, which won the Oscar for best animated short film (this year ‘Robin Robin’ was nominated, from the Aardman factory) without the Netflix itself seems very interested. As he doesn’t seem very interested in promote your asian content beyond ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Alice in borderland’: shows like ‘Terrace house’ and ‘I’m old!’, Korean dramas like ‘It’s okay to not be okay’ or ‘Love alarm’ hope that fans discover for themselves.
The same goes for the portrait Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese they make of the American metropolis in ‘Let’s suppose that New York is a city’ or with ‘Where is my body?’, one of the strangest and most beautiful films of recent years. Hardly have time to sit? No problem: ‘Bonding’ or ‘The end of the f***ing world’ offer you little pills of awesomeness in 15-20 minutes. Do you have more time? You can dive into ‘Dark’, ‘Sense 8’, ‘Godless’ or ‘Please like me’.
Is yours the cinema? Yes, you know about Oscar and award-winning movies, but in addition to Fincher, Scorsese and Cuaróndirectors of the stature of the Coen brothers (‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’), the Safdie brothers (‘Diamonds in the rough’), Paolo Sorrentino (‘It was the hand of God’), Jan Komasa (‘Hater’), Paul Greengrass (‘July 22’), Richard Linklater (‘Apollo 10 1/2’), Guillermo del Toro (‘Pinocchio’, coming soon), Soderbergh (‘The laundromat’)… And even the very Paul Thomas Anderson directed a short musical of 15 minutes, ‘Anima’, lost among the content. Almost nothing.
The cons of the pros
Yes, there is quality content -regardless of who it weighs-, but on it is the ghost of sudden cancellations and the lack of promotion of everything that is not a guaranteed bombshell (yes, Netflix, we have already learned that there is a reality show about the Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend, show me something that interests me, please). And it is totally true. It seems that to avoid the constant guillotine, the company is going to bet on miniseries adaptable to more seasons, as he has done with ‘Russian Doll’, to avoid repeating mistakes like that of ‘Insiders’, whose second installment they don’t know where to put without making a lot of noise. Of course, this solution does not prevent the fans of ‘One piece’, after the immediate cut of ‘Cowboy Bebop’, from already looking at the Going Merry with fear.
Not everything Netflix does is good, far from it: it has, like everyone else, terrible clunkers, but the total production is not as many paint it. It’s not HBO and you have to dig around, machete in hand, like an explorer in the jungle, but at least twice a month they put out something specifically for you. It’s your business modeland until now it had worked for them, but the impoverishment of the brand image caused by dozens of factors (the suffocating fomo, the excessive hype, the accumulation of premieres, the sensation of lower quality, the increase in prices…) has caused that the immovable totem is beginning to fall.
Frankly, looking at the last seven years, It would be a shame if Netflix disappeared, although Elon Musk bothers him. It is true that his changes to cover the largest type of public have not always been successful, and it seems that his services for new projects and cancellations are carried out by two totally antagonistic people, one based on exacerbated creativity and another on cold data, but, deep down, we all know that the next bombshell that is going to make us all talk for weeks is here. And it is that, if a cancellation hurts us as much as these, it is because the original product was very good. Leaving that residue, even if it hurts us, also has merit, even if the wound is still open.