Netflix documentaries are one of my favorite aspects of the app, and yet still, I agree with Sharma that Netflix serves as more of a “newsstand” than a “library”.
The biggest reason that I agreed with Sharma was the aspect of “limited time frame” for viewing. All of the shows on Netflix, even hit series like “Friends” are only available on the app for a few months at a time, making Netflix less like the always available library- full of books for checking out at any time.
I also think Netflix is not a “library” because it doesn’t have EVERYTHING. You’d be hard-pressed to find a library that didn’t have a book you were looking for, yet finding niche entertainment on Netflix is difficult to do. Especially with the influx of Netflix Original content which is over-promoted and often very general (in this case, not niche-like topics).
Another reason I agree with the author, is because Netflix is a company and a corporation whose main goal is to make money. I don’t feel Netflix has a genuine stake in the preservation side of film at all- in part due to my first point about the time restraints placed on shows. I think if they wanted to promote film for everyone they would have a library encompassing many titles, at a smaller monthly fee, and would never take content away.
I watched the film “Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower”, and although I did find it enriching, I also think it was done in a very traditional manner. There are like a maximum of 3 camera angles we see in a documentary: the subject and what they’re doing, the eagle eye (mostly to show setting or situation), and the interview style (camera in front of someone, asking them questions or having them describe what’s going on). The documentary was riveting. Truly, before watching this film, I had absolutely no idea about the situation occurring in Hong Kong with the power struggle between the people and China (whom them were handed over to governmentally in 1997).
Evil Genius was very different in a few ways. First, with the documentary on Joshua being more of a traditional, educational documentary, the show Evil Genius was more of a crime show that was graphic. I think I preferred Evil Genius, not only in terms of content, but also in that it was available in episodes, instead of being one film. I find that the more I indulge in current technology which rewards users with instant gratification and where YouTube is more popular than movies, my attention span is very limited in my free-time. I can only commit myself to episodes, if that, before getting bored or wanting to change it up.
I think Evil Genius did a wonderful job at keeping viewers on their toes, to the point of binge-watching all episodes back-to-back (which is what I did). The story starts out with the graphic footage of Brian Wells’ head being blown up by a collar bomb he had on, which leaves the audience with so many questions. The show uses techniques like this all throughout the series to keep the audience wanting to learn more and advance through the storyline to find out how events and people are connected. I found myself immersed in the story and immediately wanted to know how it was all going to end.
The use of Marjarie’s photos throughout the story make it seem like it’s all going to come back to her at some point, which I think really draws in the audience. Especially to see someone who was once so young and beautiful, and just wonderful, go completely the other direction and commit a terrible crime. The way Trey-the filmmaker- framed the show was amazing. He was able to take the viewer through the story from literally all perspectives, including his own- in regards to the relationship he built with Marge. The use of the recordings of phone calls and the footage of the letters they exchanged helped me to see a different side of her and made me want to learn even more about her and the story.
The use of actual new footage by both documentaries was very helpful in making me feel invested in the story, but the interviews between the different subjects in Evil Genius and the cops, were really exciting, in part because the series framed all the people interviewed as potential subjects in the crimes, throughout the story.
I always feel way more rewarded after watching a documentary than anything else. I’m not sure if it’s the emotional investment or the feeling of goodness- more so in traditional documentaries where things end well, but I really love documentaries. They’re real and sometimes relatable and it just makes me feel very educated and empathetic.