Originally a movie mailing service founded in 1997, Netflix has become a staple of pop culture. Not only does it help distribute and showcase the most popular media, it has become synonymous with lonely Sunday nights and binge eating all the wrong kinds of snacks. It’s responsible for the shut down of Blockbuster, the spike in popularity of internet streaming services and the large number of young people ignoring regular cable networks.
“I think Netflix is popular because of convenience,” history teacher TJ Brooks said. “[Netflix] is willing to try anything and see if it’s going to fail or do great and whether or not they should invest more into it.”
In the past couple of years, Netflix has invested time and money in the creation of their Netflix Originals. These originals consist of both shows and movies from a multitude of different genres. With over 700 original shows worldwide, Netflix seems to have a series for everyone. Not to mention that Netflix released 80 original films in 2018 alone and will continue to release more in the future.
“They’re starting to listen to what the audience wants and they’re in touch with the modern audience,” senior Gilbert Daka said. “They’ve also spread out categories pretty well; they have good dramas, comedies, horror movies, a little bit for everyone.”
Shows such as “Daredevil” and movies like “Bird Box” have garnered large fan bases and media attention. Netflix has also experimented with interactive movies, where the viewer chooses his/her own adventure via screen pop-ups. This has recently been seen in movies such as “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” and “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.”
“It’s smart that they’re making originals,” junior Bridget Helmstetter said. “Netflix isn’t willing to pay some of their channel contracts to keep shows on Netflix so it’s good that they’re making their own shows for us to watch.”
Shows such as “Narcos”, “The Punisher” and “Black Mirror” among many others are becoming more and more popular as Netflix ditches cable shows such as “Family Guy”, “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother”(HIMYM) due to expired contracts or rival streaming service sign offs (e.g. 20st Century Fox signing HIMYM rights to Hulu). Despite the disappearance of popular TV shows from Netflix’s roster, its originals stay strong with many up for awards and “Black Mirror” winning an Emmy in 2018.
Netflix recently picked up the show “Lucifer” upon its cancellation on FOX in mid 2018. Netflix plans to continue the show’s story ark in a brand new Netflix Original stamped fourth season while also allowing viewers to stream its first three seasons on the site before the fourth season is released.
“If the studios out there in television don’t want to keep something that has a fanbase, then I think Netflix should take it,” Brooks said. “If Netflix is willing to pay for it and continue it for the fanbase then, by all means, they should. Maybe it’ll have a better director or writer and be better than the first three seasons, maybe it won’t, we’ll have to find out.”
“Lucifer” isn’t Netflix’s only dabble with network shows. The Netflix Original titled “You” was first a regular Lifetime linear TV show which has now transformed into a global streaming phenomenon. Perhaps Netflix is pioneering the evolution of modern entertainment or simply appealing to an audience never before seen by the likes of cable networks and Hollywood producers.
“I think it would be cool for Netflix to continue more canceled shows,” Helmstetter said. “The attention Netflix gets on social media has to affect them in some way. “Bird Box” was really popular on social media and it made more people want to watch it.”
Putting “Birdbox” memes and challenges aside, Netflix’s social media presence is at an all time high, as most of their news now comes from the company’s official Twitter page. It recently used the social media platform to announce that Friends will be extended to remain until 2020 ,instead of 2019, and to advertise “The Punisher”’s second season. Not to mention the company regularly retweets posts about Netflix or shows made by Netflix in order to keep customers interacting with the company.
In 2019, Netflix will be releasing more originals and expanding upon already released ones. “The Crown”, “Stranger Things” and “Black Mirror” are all expected to be receiving new seasons after an entire year off and more reliable hits like “Ozark”, “GLOW” and “13 Reasons Why” will also be continued. Overall, Netflix is starting to shape itself into less of a service and more of a brand.
“Netflix is way more interesting than what’s on TV and you can basically take it anywhere,” Daka said. “To be honest, Netflix is killing it right now.”