Earlier this month, I canceled my Netflix account, something I've always wanted to do, but never before felt ready to try. It all happened because Netflix lost the one show I wanted to watch the most.
And now that I've finished that show? Well, the good news is that I'm keeping Netflix turned off (at least for the immediate future). In its absence, I've had no lack of shows to watch, thanks to three other streaming services that are meeting my needs for shows. Heck, one of them just added a movie I've wanted to see (without going to the cinema).
This entire process, as I'll document below, shows that Netflix does not have a strangle-hold on the world of streaming. It may be ubiquitous. Shows such as The Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna may dominate social media, and there's a ton of buzz around the Bridgerton season 2 teaser trailer, but you don't need it every month. In fact, you may also be asking should you cancel Netflix?
I say "every" month for a reason — I've already come across a reason I may need to go back to Netflix. For now, though, I'm happy without it. Here's why.
HBO Max has been killing it
While I left Netflix because of Halt and Catch Fire leaving Netflix (and its new hefty $19.99 monthly price for 4K), I have no immediate intention of leaving HBO Max, which isn't cheap either, at $15 per month.
That's because between Peacemaker, Euphoria and The Righteous Gemstones, HBO Max has been on fire as of late. All three shows are currently proving that while Succession was HBO's most buzzed about show last fall, the service is far more than just that one show (while Netflix can often times feel like the place that is eventually bringing Stranger Things and The Witcher back at some point).
And while those shows will end soon, that amount of concurrent quality gives me reason to expect more. From Euphoria's constantly anxious and manic/depressive energy to Peacemaker's himbo energy to all of the hilarious family drama of Gemstones, HBO Max is great at giving me a range of vibes.
AMC Plus has been good — but it's incomplete
The big reason why I had to leave Netflix was to make room for the $8.99 per month AMC Plus, the only place I could watch Halt and Catch Fire. Then, after I canceled Netflix, I realized I wouldn't have to spend that cash, thanks to a second trial from Apple TV Channels. I kept Netflix canceled, though, as that $20 is nice to have in my pocket.
And over the last two weeks, I loved watching Halt and Catch Fire with every free second I had. Honestly, it's a true hidden gem of a show that's using a fictional, alternate history of the rise of the personal computer and the internet to show us five broken, but lovable characters. To say that the Halt and Catch Fire finale, and the episodes leading up to it, left me emotional would be an understatement. They wrecked me (and I loved every minute).
Unfortunately, AMC Plus isn't the true AMC super-subscription I want it to be, as we'll get to below. While it offers episodes of Killing Eve (which is about to come back for season four), it doesn't have Killing Eve season two. And it also doesn't have any episodes of the other big AMC series I want to watch, Better Call Saul.
Hulu's the service I'm about to lean on
Fortunately, the Black Friday $1 per month Hulu deal I got last year is still running, and Hulu has all the Killing Eve I need. It also has the other show I'm catching up on, What We Do In The Shadows (which I'm still in the middle of season 3 on).
And for the immediate future that's going to keep me more than busy. It's even got Nightmare Alley, which recently come here from cinemas. Free Guy, which I've been curious about, is due too.
So, I am good without Netflix at the moment. Or at least I thought.
How Netflix may get me back
Unfortunately, my time away from Netflix may have a predetermined end-date coming in the near future (No, I'm not excited about Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy). As you may have gathered, I've become enamored with watching all the shows I've always said I'll watch. On April 18, Better Call Saul (which is on Netflix in the U.S.) finally returns for its sixth and final season. Or at least half of that season, as AMC broke the two halves of Better Call Saul season 6 in half, and Variety reports the latter half isn't due until July 11.
And Better Call Saul, much like Halt and Catch Fire, is one of those shows that I watched enough to know I liked it, and now want to go back to (since it's returning).
I've watched almost all of Better Call Saul season one and that gives me five seasons and an episode left to watch. Netflix, unfortunately, doesn't have Better Call Saul season five yet. And nobody does. And so I might wind up spending $10 on Better Call Saul season 5 on Amazon. That's as annoying to me as anyone else.
I write all of the above without much confidence in what decision I'll make because I don't know where the series will go. What I'm hoping is that AMC Plus gets Better Call Saul seasons 1-5, and soon. That would be a smart way to drive subscriptions and promote the new season. But Better Call Saul shows no signs of leaving Netflix.
This brings me to two subjects that aren't fun for most folks: math and the concept of ownership of digital media. I could down the 31 Better Call Saul episodes I haven't seen that are on Netflix in one month's time (which would cost $19.99 for 4K, which the show streams in). Then, it costs me another $10 for season 5, if everything holds still.
None of that is good, but it brings me to my conclusion. You can be fine without Netflix for a bit, but eventually it always comes a'calling back. No wonder it's one of the best streaming services.
As for what to watch tonight, Verzuz: Anthony Hamilton vs Musiq Soulchild is unlike any before it — and not for a good reason. In other TV news, and if you've been waiting for the Peaky Blinders season 6 release date to resubscribe to Netflix? We've got potentially great news.