Time to Cancel Netflix?
by Joseph Avery-North
Ah, Netflix. You survived the dot-com bubble burst. You essentially pantsed Blockbuster and punted them down the proverbial stairs. You were the juggernaut in online streaming. I used to love you. But you’ve left so many cracker crumbs in my bed, offering less each day to distract from those crumbs, that I think it’s time to kick you out of my bed and to the curb.
I’m picky when it comes to tele. I watch documentaries, select sitcoms and some sci-fi so my options are even fewer as a result. And the prices kept going up. Sure, Netflix is still cheaper than cable TV and a fraction of the cost of what we in Canada get bilked for by our evil telecom companies. We’re only paying $14.99 CDN a month, the price of 1/4 of a cup of coffee a day. But for what?
It’s well known that other countries get less selection than the American Netflix offers so going through Netflix, looking for something to watch, isn’t much different than the old joke about cable TV – “X number of channels and nothing on.” I don’t care about regional licensing and the business side of things. I’m the customer, I want selection. I want options.
And Netflix does a lot of dumb things. Like a lot a lot.
Arrested Development, that bloody brilliant sitcom that was cancelled after a truncated third season because the average viewer didn’t have the brain power to get the multi-layered myriad gags, callbacks and meta humour – it was best remembered that way, brilliant and gone too soon. But no, Netflix brought it back for two new seasons. Of crap. Unfunny, cringe inducing crap. Way to tarnish a memory, Netflix.
Things that should stay cancelled aren’t. Things that shouldn’t be cancelled are.
Santa Clarita Diet was cancelled. In the oversaturated undead genre this was a gem. Hell, I’d willingly pay $15.00 a month just for 10 episodes a year of Timothy Olyphant’s charisma and crackling on-screen chemistry with, well, anyone that’s in the same frame. Even a fork.
Note – Contrary to what my wife says I do not have a man crush on Timothy Olyphant. He’s just awesome in everything he does.
The Punisher was cancelled. I’m not a comic book guy. I don’t read them or collect them. I’m not big on shoot ’em up action flicks either. But I liked The Punisher. With apologies to Andrew Lincoln, who can play a psychological break and unstable, unhinged no-one-should-ever-follow-ever leader better than anyone, Jon Bernthal was easily the best actor in the first two seasons of The Walking Dead and in The Punisher he was a hipster-hating-ass-kicking-justice-seeking one-man army. And The Punisher was awesome on another level – in that universe everyone is 4″ taller.
Jon Bernthal is listed at 5’10 but Frank Castle’s mugshot shows 6’2″ (with hair at 6’4″). So while the gifted, gorgeous Amber Rose Revah is 5’4″ Madani is now 5’8″. Which means in the Marvel Universe I’d be 6’6″. Sweet! But nope, cancelled.
And then there’s Netflix’s habit of randomly rearranging everything. Half the time I sign in, regardless of device, “My List” and “Continue Watching” have disappeared or been shuffled down the screen and I’m scrolling through lists of what someone considers a catchy, clever category description.
My personal favourite though is “Popular on Netflix” and “Trending on Netflix”. It’s redundant, the shows largely duplicated between categories, and it makes me wish that Netflix would make redundant the employee that comes up with less than catchy category names but doesn’t know what a synonym is.
And who comes up with the maturity ratings? Seriously, who writes these? Let’s look at a couple.
Star Trek, the original series, is rated “TV-14 sex, fear”. What sex? Where? Those chaste 1960s TV kisses with no tongue? Is that sex? Damn! According to the Netflix definition of sex I’m now entitled to put so many notches on my bedpost it’ll be like Attack of the Million Strong Termite Army. Oh wait… that would also include aunts and grandmothers. Eeeeewww! As for fear… Look out, redshirts! Wobbly papier-mâché space rocks at 2 o’clock!
While Star Trek’s rating is laughable, the rating for the World War II in Colour documentary is just wrong. Very wrong.
Netflix rates this documentary series as “TV-MA nudity, smoking”. Despite actual footage of war, the corpses of soldiers and civilians, the unspeakable atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps and the holocaust some soldiers sharing a ciggy are what we need to really concern ourselves with. The nudity in question – the corpses of concentration camp victims.
Netflix can string together six or seven word descriptions for content warnings on an animated show like Family Guy but can’t adequately convey the true content of a 13-part documentary on the most brutal, heinous war in human history.
As for Netflix Originals – ugh. Black Summer, Disenchantment, Pacific Heat, Paradise PD, Space Force… pfft.
Netflix brought back Arrested Development but gave us Black Summer when they could have resurrected Z Nation and gave us Paradise PD instead of reviving Brickleberry. Upon reflection though, I guess I’m thankful considering the aforementioned butchering of Arrested Development when they revived it.
Not all Netflix Originals are bad. But their habit of cancelling the good ones coupled with the lack of other content I want to watch means there’s little reason to keep Netflix.
All the Ken Burns documentaries are gone. I’ve re-watched Archer so many times that my wife and I randomly drop phrases and quotes into our daily conversation. Netflix still has Star Trek though – TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. But I’ve seen those a bazillion times over the years as you can infer from my last article.
There are other streaming options. For less. And with other benefits. Amazon Prime Video is half the price and has perks. When we got it last month I was amazed to discover they had old sci-fi B-movies. I love old sci-fi B-Movies! They also had Parks and Recreation. They had Superstore. All the Sharknado movies. And amongst their originals, The Man in the High Castle. They’re not perfect (the end of The Man in the High Castle proves that) and they make goofy mistakes…
Die Hard – starring Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia… I swear Bruce Willis was in this! But goofy mistakes aside, Amazon Prime is the better value. My wife wonders if we should keep both. I don’t see the point. Netflix has less of what we want each day. Amazon offers more of what we do want for, oh yeah, half the price. Plus, Amazon Prime also promises to offer me more Timothy Olyphant content than Netflix.