Monday, March 21, 2011

Netflix Changing its Instant TV Section

Last month, I noted that one tv series replaced 4 pages for its 4 seasons with 1 Netflix page for the whole show. I predicted this was a sign of a coming overhaul. This weekend, thanks to the imperfect recommendation system, I spotted the change in listings for "Xena," "21 Jump Street," and the excellent "Farscape." I have no idea why these genre shows were chosen for the upgrade.

I'm happy to have some news that's my own, that isn't re-posted off tAVC or Aint It Cool. Nobody likes an "I told you so," but my prediction was right: Netflix is changing the way that it displays its multi-season TV shows for the Streaming audience.

The new format is more versatile; you can choose between episodes and seasons smoothly. It's also more efficient - gone are 5 pages for the whole run of "21JS." I guessed it was a gradual change, and it looks like I'm right.

After I noticed the latest additions, I scanned through Streaming-available TV series. I found 8 more: "Cagney and Lacy," "Angel," "The A-Team" (snicker), "Quantum Leap," "Columbo" (yay), "Hunter," "Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles" (hahaha), and BBC's "Torchwood." This makes 12 total, including USA's "Psych." A regular superstar wall of great shows, huh?

Yes, Netflix' first choice for this make-over was unusual, and the trend continues. I'm not even talking about the selection of shows, which is obviously strange. I say it's odd because "Angel" was a spin-off from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Xena" followed "Hercules," and "Torchwood" spun-off from "Doctor Who," apparently. None of the parent shows have gotten this special treatment.

Other shows, on-going or over, have yet to receive the same treatment. "24," "A Touch of Frost," "Futurama," "The Rockford Files," "Coupling," and "Law & Order: SVU" - none made the grade. I'm complaining about any of the shows in- or ex-cluded; I just try for good examples.

Of course, I think that this development was motivated by the company's recent focus on the Streaming market. The same system, though, also displays multi-season DVD entries as well, so any Netflix user will benefit once this is a site-wide alteration. I won't over-reach, however, and guess whether or not it'll come standard with all those CBS-owned shows that Netflix recently acquired.

In the end, I still recommend the following as vastly superior to watching TV: exercise, volunteer work, education/job plans, learning to do something new and/or actual social interaction. You'll have an improved way to spend your downtime, tho, if you're in a mind for computerized tv.

I just used less than 500 words. *sigh* A rare gift for us both, right?...


  1. I think the conversion has made things a little wonky, so I'm glad it hasn't been rolled out all at once. I had Season 3 of Angel on my queue (following along with the AV Club's coverage of Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and I was wondering why suddenly the system couldn't keep track of which episode I'd seen most recently.

    Better now than when I finally get around to watching Lost, I guess.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I didn't notice any wonkiness this weekend, but I find Netflix' system often doesn't register what ep I watched last. I always put it down to using my browser's "back" button - but it happens other times, too.

    And, I hate to say it, I might not recommend "Lost" at all because of where it ends up. The 1st season is magnificent, and the 2nd is solid, with many fantastic eps through season 3-5. The last season, though, had too much in common with The X-Files' run - a massive "job" with no payoff.

  3. Its interesting, since I got the Apple TV I watch all my Netflix streaming on it and I love this roll up of seasnd under one banner. I've found the excellent British show called MI-5 (Spooks in the UK). Great stories, good clean acting and 8 seasons to watch.
    Also a great little American show called Dead Like Me.
    I'm loving the streaming, shame it feels like TwC slows down the throughput or even blocks the site every so often

  4. You've got excellent taste! I haven't watched Dead Like Me, but it's got a solid rep; MI-5 got a rec from me last week. I haven't seen or used Apple TV, but I have the same provider and the site experiences slow-down at least a few times per day. No idea why, tho...


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