Over the past few months Netflix has been axing shows left, right and center, seemingly in reaction to the streaming service seeing a dip in subscribers. This may have prompted some to think about cancelling their Netflix subscription. But from my point of view it’s actually a good thing.
No, I haven't been out in the sun too long, and I’m still keen to get as much value out of my monthly subscription fee to Netflix. But right now I feel the streamer is bloated with shows to the extent that not only is the choice overwhelming, it makes finding new and fresh things to watch more of a chore.
While the Netflix algorithm seems fairly in tune with my overall TV and movie tastes, I do like to mix things up. And that seems to have become increasingly difficult as the streamer has added more shows and original content.
As a result, I've found myself now coming to the end of the third season of the canceled show Startup. While not a Netflix Original series, it was served up to me as something to watch next. I like tech and am a fan of Martin Freeman, so I was happy to give it a whirl. Almost immediately I was hit with a plot that felt a little disjointed and a show that seemed to really, really, like going heavy on the sex scenes; I’m no prude, but I’d like some storytelling ahead of multiple steamy romps in a single episode.
Startup is a distinctly 6.5 out of 10, yet I still found myself watching it while eating my dinner as it was, and still is, an easy go-to show to pop on quickly rather than wade through a whole bunch of other series and movies.
The same can be said about Snowpiercer. It enjoyed its premise and post-apocalyptic world building, but after the third season it’s running out of track. So I’m glad it’s hitting the end of the line come season 4.
And Orange Is The New Black has a similar energy — while it ended well overall, it simply went on for too many seasons. But I watch it all as I’m someone who will pretty much always finish what I started, meaning I waste hours of my life on average shows and series, rather than digging into Stranger Things 4, The Boys season 3, or making more headway for hit games like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West.
So hearing about Netflix swinging an axe at average shows that have Roland-bait premises and settings — Another Life’s space faring sci-fi or Altered Carbon’s cyberpunk aesthetic — is a blessing masquerading as a bludgeoning of a streaming service.
Cutting the chaff means Netflix will not only free up more money to make the better series, it also frees up room on the service to serve me more compelling shows that I might have glossed over due to slavishly following Netflix’s recommendations.
I’m thinking of The Queen’s Gambit, Squid Game, Chef’s Table, Arcane, Dark and more that have passed me by as the Likes of The Witcher and Ozark get shoved into my eyeballs by Netflix’s algorithm, after I watched say, Better Call Saul. None of those are bad shows (Better Call Saul is arguably a masterpiece); it's just that they are all dramas with a dark-ish edge, and sometimes I could do with something different.
Now don't get me wrong. If I step back a little and take a close look at what’s on Netflix then I’ll almost certainly find something compelling to watch, even if the volume of Netflix Originals has slowed down of late.
But having less to wade through is something I actually see as a boon, and somewhat ironically, probably a way to keep me more engaged with the streaming service than throwing new series on the platform at a heady rate.
So rather than bemoan the cancellation of Netflix shows and the removal of other series from the streamer, I’m embracing the culling as a means to help direct compelling content at me rather than leave me to waste my free time with distinctly average TV; I’m still watching Obi-Wan Kenobi though…