October 30, 2018 by phicks2012
I got a Netflix account years ago because it enabled me (both economically and frugally) to watch TV shows and Movies not generally or easily available on my normal cable TV line-up, and it was GREAT! Now, of course, more and more things are available On Demand via cable and live-streaming, but I still have a Netflix account because it continues to fill in the blanks and give me a wider range of viewing options — for very little additional cash outlay.
However, now Netfix is beginning the inexorable shift toward wanting to be a regular Network, and that means creating their own “Original Programming” and making them just as vulnerable to bad programming choices as the others.
Okay, so “The Critics are Raving” about some of the original Netflix series now being aired, and I do sort of like a couple (like Stranger Things). There are probably others I really ought to try out, but it’s an established fact that my tastes don’t often run parallel to the tastes of “The Critics” — more often lateral or perpendicular. 😉
The fact is, that just as with the more traditional networks, there are shows I simply have no interest in watching, and those are all too frequently the ones that pop up first at the top of my Netflix Home Page as “Trending” because they appeal to a demographic to which I simply do not belong. That demographic all too often seems to include 1) people who compulsively follow celebrity gossip and actually “care” what or who Kim Kardashian is doing or wearing, 2) Viewers who think the Real Housewives (ANY of them) are unscripted, and who honesty enjoy watching Jersey Shore, or are praying they’ll somehow bring back Honey Boo-Boo, and 3) Folks who are entertained by train wrecks. Note that these categories are in no way mutually exclusive, and that a great deal of actual over-lap does quite naturally occur.
But on Netflix, to find something to watch that isn’t already on my “List”, I pretty much have two choices.
1) I can scroll though an interminable catalog of shows I don’t find especially enticing, hoping against hope to find something remotely compelling, and discovering that all of the categories seem to contain the same selections (often bearing little apparent relation to the “category listing” in question).
2) I can use their search engine in an attempt to find a particular genre or feature. However, this has changed from how it used to function, so it took me a while to figure out how to make this work for me again. I’ve discovered that when I search for a TV show or movie by name Netflix will not simply tell me that they don’t have it, and that filling in the search box alone is mostly useless. In addition, I have to click on some easily-missed qualifiers at the top of the page to narrow things down, and THEN my screen will fill with an inventory of suggestions that are at least marginally close.
I undertook a Live Chat with a Netflix agent to ask for other useful suggestions, and was hoping for personal input, but I got nothing except obviously scripted boilerplate responses, leaving me to wonder whether or not the agent was actually even reading my comments and questions. My best guess was “NO”. When I asked if she could drop the canned responses for a minute and just answer me, she responded with another obviously canned response, so I ended the chat in frustration — and when the survey popped up I gave her (and her script writer) a really bad rating.
The only thing I did find out via that chat that was useful is that Netflix supposedly does try (if they can) to get shows and films requested by their viewers, so the plan now is to put together a list of suggestions and to become REALLY ANNOYING.
In all fairness though, Netflix does still have some good selections that haven’t yet been edged out, and it has fewer bad reality shows than most other networks, and I can’t really blame them for branching out when my cable provider (just for example) is probably eating into their previous customer base by offering more and more things On Demand.
Once upon a time you could only get a very few past episodes (if you missed them the first time around and didn’t manage to record them on your DVR) of favorite TV shows On Demand or live streaming, while Netflix often offered the entire series, but that’s no longer the case — except that some of the episodes offered “On Demand” are free to watch, and others are not and are Pay-Per-View. I don’t do Pay-Per-View. Edge there to Netflix.
Still, to compete, services like Netflix have to offer a wider selection and to produce programs not available on other networks. I get that. It’s necessary. However, I really hope they WILL continue to take viewer requests, and I’d really like to see their agents ditching the boilerplate and actually going back to listening and responding as human beings to their customers. That would be nice too!