When I first joined Netflix, I didn’t think that much of it, and I’d heard a lot of contradictory things about the lack of subtitling (essential for deaf and hard of hearing people). I remember what changed my mind about it – when I realised that, actually, it is a vast improvement on any other streaming channel available for the price, depending on what you like watching. For me, it is brilliant – it has a great selection of drama, supernatural, horror, superhero films and series, and old favourites.
The only problem is that it encourages binge-watching, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be caught out watching something all day and/or night (!). Another issue is that the subtitles are mostly in capitals, so if you’re not used it, they look like SHOUTING (although not on TV streaming, strangely), and don’t include the sound-captions that are a sign of good quality subtitles eg. [Wind Blows]. They have improved the range of things that have them now – in fact, most things now have English subtitles (at least on the UK Netflix).
The main issues are the aforementioned subtitling, and the fact that the content sometimes gets swapped and replaced, or that there is a lot of random and so-so quality stuff mixed in with the exceptional things. I do feel that Netflix has changed the way we consume film and TV, for the better. The pricing is great – you can pay £8.99 a month and add 5 people to the account, which is what we have done. It’s an affordable way to watch things if you can’t afford Sky, Virgin, or Amazon Prime (the yearly fee actually works out cheaper but it’s a pain to have to pay it all in one go).
Recently, they’ve done well with some Netflix originals – the first (that I’m aware of) was Orange is the New Black, and the recent Daredevil and Jessica Jones. I also like Hemlock Grove, which is an acquired taste, and watching guilty pleasures like Pretty Little Liars. For me, the greatest thing is the chance to watch things that I’ve never seen, that I’ve been meaning to watch, and that I’m also exposed to a range of genres that I might not otherwise be drawn to. As with most things, I think it’s about choosing your viewing wisely, because it’s easy to be overwhelmed.
The best things I’ve watched lately on Netflix are:
- Jessica Jones – A Marvel creation with flawed and (often unpleasant) interesting characters. I haven’t finished watching it yet but so far it’s excellent.
- Daredevil – Again, a dark turn in Hell’s Kitchen, a major improvement on the film. Season 2 is coming in March.
- Once Upon a Time – they are up to date with all the seasons so far on Netflix – and awaiting the second part of season 5 which airs in March. I like the way they’ve glued together all these fairy tale storylines and made them real and complicated.
- Street Food – I stumbled upon this randomly, but I like the way it’s filmed and the variety of food that the host, Ishai Golan, reviews on his travels.
- Zombieland – one of those kooky comedies with Jesse Eisenberg, this time during the Zombie apocalypse. It also has a geeky Bill Murray cameo.
- Scream (Season 1) – I wasn’t sure if I would like this, and was surprised to find that it’s quite good. It has all the usual slasher high-school stuff but the heroine is worth rooting for.
- Iris – I would describe this as feel-good and a journey into Iris Apfel’s life and style. Inspiring because it shows that you can be yourself at any age.
- Advanced Style – I have a thing for style documentaries! This is worth watching if you like offbeat style and being inspired.
- Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present – This is a fascinating documentary about Marina’s art and the way she connects with people.
- Dead Like Me – This is hilarious if you like ironic, sarcastic black humour. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, and I’m sad that there were only two seasons.
- Girl Rising – A great documentary following some young women around the world, talking about their experiences and dreams.
So, yes, I’ve grown to appreciate Netflix and I’m looking forward to the various films and series they’re adding this year. Do you have any Netflix favourites?