Netflix has become increasingly popular in the last five years. Initially, a by-mail on-demand movie service, Netflix has grown into an entertainment giant of streaming services, and more recently a renowned producer of feature films and television shows. Netflix’s success is commendable, and impressive in an ever-growing competitive market. However, the effects of Netflix on both society and television as an art form are severe.
Television was a social activity a few decades ago. The family would gather around the TV, either piled onto a couch, or sprawling out onto a rug. Television was viewed with others, discussed with others, and most importantly it was regulated. Today, one can view television instantly, and there is no limit on how much television one can watch. One no longer has to wait until Tuesday night for the next episode, or until the release in the fall. Shows can be viewed instantly and excessively. The direct result of this on the quality of television is both good and bad. The fact is, because more people are consuming more television on average, producers have to create more television at a faster rate. This initiates an ever faster vicious cycle: more television is created, and more people watch it faster. This creates an enormous quality problem. The family of these binge-style shows grows larger every year, and the quality is discernibly poorer when compared to their more traditional counterparts. There are roughly 305 Netflix produced or released films, series, and shows. The majority of which seldom get to a second season or are simply painful to watch. Some being: Fuller House, Flaked, Marco Polo, or hundreds more. The Netflix originals that are successful mirror the strategies of traditional television. They’re introduced in seasons, with a high budget, and are produced meticulously over the course of one year. (such as, “House of Cards” or “Orange is The New Black”)
However, it isn’t just the sharply declining quality of television (with a few notable exceptions) that is troubling. The culture of entertainment in television is changing dramatically, and for the worse. Television is no longer something to be excited about or to be in awe of. Television has been reduced to a constant stream of sub-par media which is always accessible. Using a basic understanding of consumer science, anyone can identify that this trend is horrific. The constant accessibility of television has caused it to lose its golden sheen. Television stands today as a gilded current of media, easy to acquire and easy to process. But, like fast food, it is terrible quality and quickly sickening. While it is true that some decent series still remain, the majority of content has fallen into a category of un-watchability. Consumers must show that they desire the golden age of television reinstated, they must choose wisely when selecting the show of the evening, and most importantly they must not fall into the nullifying practice of the binge.