Last month, I canceled Netflix out of severe frustration with the lineup. And I think I'm saving another $20 this month (that rising Netflix price is too much) too. Which is kind of an easy choice when March is a huge month for returning shows on many of the other best streaming services.
Right now, with the economy in far from a great place, we're all trying to find ways to save money. And while cutting Netflix's price doesn't save you a lot, I'd say it's definitely worth doing if you're not feeling like Netflix is catering to your interests this month. Especially when our other picks for the top streaming services will. Of course, this column comes with a major "your mileage may vary" proviso.
I call out Netflix because the big returning shows and movies won't exactly be for everyone, though certain fandoms will definitely be sated (and, yes, one of the best Netflix shows is on the list). I'll also give Netflix some credit, too, for dipping its toes into new waters with a live event!
But since I think others may be right to cancel Netflix with me, I've decided to explain how my thought process continues to keep me away this month. This way, others may start finding new ways to be frugal with their streaming budget.
Netflix's March isn't bringing me back
Previously, I've written big, sweeping previews of what's coming on all the streaming services to help people figure out what services they don't need. But looking at the services that I couldn't think about canceling right now (more on those later) and Netflix, it's easy for me to just focus on the biggest streaming service.
Netflix's licensed movie drop for the start of the month on March 1 doesn't help their chances. While I liked Easy A, The Hangover and Magic Mike XXL? They're the best of the bunch of the new list, though fans of National Lampoon's Animal House and the Adam Sandler (more on him below) movie Big Daddy may disagree.
The first "big" return of the month is Sex/Life season 2 (March 2), but critics of this soapy drama are right for saying that its version of "sexy" proves that lurid behavior isn't actually salacious on its own.
Two days later, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage (March 4) sees Netflix getting into the live events business. If anything could draw me back to Netflix, it's this. Rock is still a major public figure after Will Smith slapped him on stage at the 2022 Oscars, and I'm guessing the comedian is going to use this platform to draw a lot of buzz.
If I had to pick the likely biggest release of the month, it's You season 4 part 2 (March 9) as the back-half of Netflix's dramatic and creepy series hopefully answers the "Whodunnit?" questions it opened in the first part of the season. Having moved to England to try and live a good, non-murderous life, Joe (Penn Badgley) has found himself becoming the prey.
Up next, Luther: The Fallen Sun (March 10) sees Idris Elba return as John Luther, who's starting out at the disadvantage of being stuck in prison for his illegal (and efficient) ways of catching criminals. It's a follow-up to the fifth season of the series from 2019, and sees Luther haunted by a cold-case and seeking to stop a serial killer.
So, now Netflix has treats for three fandoms, and its fourth comes in the form of Shadow & Bone season 2 (March 16). Not one of my favorites, but the Grishaverse fandom doesn't need me, as they earned a second season renewal to see how Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and Mal (Archie Renaux) manage to survive life as they evade the Darkling, General Kirigan (Ben Barnes).
Then, Love Is Blind season 4 (Wednesdays, starting March 24) brings us back to pod life. For those not familiar: guests will flirt from isolation, and see if they can find true love without seeing their fellow contestants.
Last, and not least (for some), there’s Murder Mystery 2 (March 31) which brings back Nick and Audrey Spitz (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston) for a new adventure. Now running their own agency, they’ve found themselves in a situation that reminds us of Glass Onion: trying to solve a kidnapping on a private island filled with glamorous guests.
I'm not going to pretend that Murder Mystery wasn't a huge hit for Netflix. I'm also not going to lie and claim I want to watch it, either.
Cancel Netflix to spend that money elsewhere
Right now, your up-to-$20 can be better spent on one of the other best streaming services. We'll go over the big current-running shows below, but this month also features Ted Lasso season 3 (March 15), Succession season 4 (its final run, starting March 26), Yellowjackets season 2 (also March 26).
Oh, and you can now watch Mandalorian season 3, as it just started airing on Disney Plus.
HBO Max (starting at $10 per month) has the very best show on TV right now with The Last of Us. Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have been putting up fantastic episode after fantastic episode, with the recent "Left Behind" creating all sorts of (positive) chatter online. Still, episode 3, which will likely net Nick Offerman or Murray Bartlett an award or two, is the high-water mark.
Then, over on Peacock ($4.99 per month), Natasha Lyonne and Rian Johnson continue to prove there's life after Netflix, with Poker Face. It's a murder-mystery of the week series that finds Ms. Russian Doll herself (Lyonne) on the run from her past, while her nearly-supernatural B.S. detection ability (she always knows when someone's lying) keeps getting her embroiled with new trouble.
Yes, Lyonne is a star of one of the best Netflix shows, and showrunner Johnson gave us one of the best Netflix movies in Glass Onion, but the two don't need Netflix to thrive.
And then there's the best new show that it feels like not enough people are talking about: the Apple TV Plus ($6.99 per month) series Shrinking. From star Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Ted Lasso's Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) and Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent!), this comedic drama is all about the drama that therapists go through.
Therapist Jimmy (Segel) is unable to dig himself out of the grief of his late wife's passing, and in a moment of being fed up with life, he starts to break the rules of therapy. He even gets deeply involved with the life of one patient. Meanwhile, colleague Gaby (Jessica Williams) is slowly trudging through a divorce and their boss Paul (Harrison Ford) is dealing with his own Parkinson's diagnosis.
Outlook: Only subscribe to streaming services you're using
At the end of the day, I know I'm not going to get reality TV lovers to cut Netflix out. Adam Sandler's fans will also stay. Same for the Grishaverse. But for the rest of us, the folks who may think Netflix is a little over the hill?
March 2023 just looks like a month where many won't need Netflix. Don't tell You's Joe Goldberg I said that, though.