I think it's time for me to tell Netflix "see you down the road." Why? Well, it's as simple as trying to find the space in my streaming budget for a show that Netflix itself just lost.
This impulse of mine, I'd argue, is the best thing about TV in 2022: you always have month-to-month control over all of your streaming purchases. If I somehow got tired of live TV, I could cancel Sling TV and come back when the shows I want come back on the air (for example it's finally time to watch South Park season 25, but that's on Comedy Central, as it's not a Paramount Plus special).
Because no matter how popular a service is, even if it's one of our best streaming services, your subscription should only be based on if you believe you're getting your money's worth. And since Netflix is raising prices, (and big non-Netflix shows such as the Halo TV show are getting revealed) there's no better time than now to examine your relationship with it.
Netflix lost a show I really want to watch
Somehow, in the midst of all of December's chaos, I missed the news that AMC's Halt and Catch Fire was finally leaving Netflix (on Dec. 14, 2021). The series is a reimagining of the start of the PC revolution, starring Lee Pace (who famously played Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy), Scoot McNairy (who's also been in Narcos: Mexico) and Mackenzie Davis (who starred in the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror).
It was one of those shows that I started, liked enough to watch half a season of and then de-prioritized as something new caught my eye. If I'd been paying attention, maybe I would have resumed watching it by the time it left. But that didn't happen.
Instead, I only remembered how much I wanted to watch Halt and Catch Fire after I watched HBO Max's incredible adaptation of the novel Station Eleven. The two shows have one thing in common: putting Mackenzie Davis in a starring role. Davis, if you've never enjoyed one of her performances, is a singular talent on screen, and constantly compelling.
In Halt and Catch Fire, Davis plays Cameron Howe, a wildly intelligent and creative programmer whose ideas are too novel for her colleagues, creating constant debate and turmoil. Howe's pitches involve a computer that is more like Alexa, engaging with the user conversationally. And Davis performs the role perfectly, delivering dialogue with all the crackling intonation it needs.
And now that I'd watched all of Station Eleven, where she owned the screen as Kirsten Raymonde, I needed to finish what I'd started. But Netflix was all out.
So, where is Halt and Catch Fire streaming?
AMC, the cable channel that gave us other popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad (both of which are still on Netflix) took Halt and Catch Fire for its own streaming service: AMC Plus (styled, of course, as AMC+).
AMC Plus only has a 7-day free trial, and costs $8.99 per month (opens in new tab) after that. So, I started up said free trial, finished the first of four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire immediately, and started to do the math about watching the next three seasons.
I've got 30 episodes of Halt and Catch Fire (each around 45 minutes) left, which works out to around 22.5 hours. And while I could see myself watching almost four hours a day of the series for the next week, I don't have that amount of time.
So, I looked back at Netflix pricing — which will soon go up to $19.99 per month for 4K streaming — and I decided I need a break. Disney Plus isn't killing it with me, but its much more affordable price is easier to handle, especially when it delivers like the The Book of Boba Fett episode 6 cliffhanger ending did. It's even got Cool Runnings for the Olympics & comedies crowd.
Netflix's February doesn't do much for me
Fortunately for me, my Netflix account is set to bill on February 9, 2022. This gives me enough time to check out Kirsten Bell's new wine-and-murder mystery series The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (though reviews aren't that strong), and All of Us Are Dead, a highly anticipated South Korean zombie thriller set in a high school. Both are highlights on our list of new movies and shows to watch this weekend.
But once February hits, I'm not so sure I need Netflix — hence why I can slice it out without remorse. Murderville, a faux-true crime series that uses sketch comedy to let comedians such as Will Arnett and Kumail Nanjiani make laughs while solving murders, has a premise that is repelling me away. I was never fascinated by the story of grifter Anna Delvey, so I can hopefully skip Inventing Anna, the Shonda Rhimes series about Ms. Delvey. And I'm not a dating game type, so I can barely see myself watching Love Is Blind season 2.
Netflix is trying its best to be topical with that Kanye West docu-series, but I don't miss the old Kanye that much.
There's the one thing that could tempt me: The Cuphead Show! The adaptation of a video game I enjoy watching others play (but I'm not good enough at to make decent progress at), this series has my name written all over it. But, honestly, I think I can wait.
So, take it from me, readers. Take the time to think about the next month of expected content from the streaming services you pay for. Feel free to cancel your Netflix subscription. What's the worst, you come back a little later?
I know I'll be back for stuff like Stranger Things season 4, and whenever the folks at Black Mirror come up with a technological nightmare more cringe-worthy than NFTs, Netflix will be right where I left it. And there's one more show that's getting me to come back to Netflix.
And speaking of cancelling things, here's why I'm ditching my Apple TV for Roku.