Netflix Genres

The Netflix original series Godless is a prime example of a Western series. Clearly structured in a binary fashion, you have your “outlaws” and your opposing force, in this case the band of women that run the isolated mining town. Besides the binary fashion of the series, Godless is a clear example of a Western due to the setting which was shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The setting of a Western is one of the most important aspects of the film. Desert and mountains allow for the audience to feel as if they are a part of the film, making it much more real. Whenever you imagine a Western film or the old west, you think of topography that is similar to Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California which can be seen in the series. Moreover, the series proves to be a Western by the use of props and outfits that are congruent with the 1800’s, the time period that Westerns are most often made after. The old fashioned weapons, gallon hats, the classic gang of outlaws are just a few reasons why this series is a classic Western. Lost in Space is considered a Science Fiction series due to the time period that it is suppose to represent, 30 years in the future. Many Science fiction films do this either deep into the future, or into the past with futuristic ideas and representations. Another reason why this series is a clear indication of Science Fiction is the use of aliens and extra-terrestrial life forms as the Robinson Family encounters them as their ship is thrown off course. Interstellar travel is another common theme used throughout Science Fiction films, which represents the unknown with an area that many people have not been before. The reason for the Robinson families departure to a new colony is because it is believed to be a better life for them. This idea of human condition and social issues is a reoccurring theme that Science Fiction films often adopt. In regards to appreciating these films, I do not believe an understanding of how the genres “work” is needed to fully enjoy these series’. The majority of viewers are by no means savvy to how genres depict themselves through ideologies but I do believe an understanding would make them much more enjoyable as you are able to identify and differentiate themes and typologies that many people ordinarily would not.  I personally am much more of a fan of Western Films rather than Science Fiction. I can’t always get on board with the outlandish themes that Science Fiction often uses to make them what they are. I much prefer a realistic setting and problem that the cast must overcome. Westerns have intrigued me since I was a child. I use to watch Gunsmoke quite often and looked up to the characters, whether it be the outlaws or the lawmen. Watching the first episode of Santa Clara Diet, I would say that it leans more toward horror rather than comedy. Although the pilot episode is the only one I watched, I think it can be categorized as a horror with comedic aspects to it. The horror can be seen as Drew Barrymore throws up yellow liquid and the symptoms of her “sickness”. The explanation that the neighbors son gives to them as to what is wrong is another use of horror as he explains that she is “undead”. I personally don’t think these two genres can work together in the same series or film. They are inherently contradictory. When a seen cuts to something that suppose to be horrific, the audience simply reminds themselves that a humorous scene will follow. To be quite honest, the directors choice of main characters being Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore to star in a “comedy” is probably the worst decision anyone has ever made in film history. Neither of these characters are remotely funny and should stick to the genres that they are known for. I suppose Drew Barrymore is mostly in romcoms but I have never been a fan and don’t think she is remotely funny.

Binge Binge

I find myself to be a very impatient person so when it comes to Netflix releasing every episode simultaneously, I have nothing to complain about. The number one reason I prefer this method of releasing is because I find it hard to watch an episode of a show and then a week later come back and do the same, the inevitable cliffhangers play a role as well in my discontent with this method. In regards to House of Cards, I felt that binge watching these episodes allowed for a more interactive character development which makes the overall show easier to follow. I think its important to watch this particular show in binge-form because there is so much going with each character that the development of such is important to follow the narrative structure in a linear fashion. Frank Underwood, the main character, is involved with many different groups and people that if one did watch an episode every week, I suspect they would miss out on many important themes and symbols that make the show so great. The thematic elements of the show that evoke binge-watching are apparent from Chapter 1. As Frank and Claire share a cigarette at the end of the episode, they discuss how many nights are like this one where they are making many plans with little sleep. This scene implicates Frank and Claire in a process analogous to binging and acts as a call for psychological preparations. In regards to the theme of addiction, their late night smoking is an ongoing motif throughout the series. In this series, all of our surrogates have an addiction one way or another. Peter Russo is the main character that functions as as spectatorial surrogate. His addictive tendencies lead frank to incorporate him into the main plot, since Frank needs someone he can manipulate. As we watch Peter struggle with his addictions, the narrative positions him as a regular guy. I agree with Casey McCormick in that binge-watching is a productive, and transformative mode of viewing. As mentioned above, I think for this particular show it is important to binge watch so you don’t miss anything. Watching episodes all at once allows the viewer to really develop a sense of the reoccurring themes and symbols that differentiate shows from each other. Moreover, watching these shows at once will allow the viewer to get a better idea of the characters, who are really the ones that make the show. Although I agree with McCormick, I also agree with Snider but see the two perspectives as incomparable. Secluding yourself in any sense can cause loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Netflix just makes it easier to do so. As you get older you will learn that there are countless outlets that you can succumb to that will inevitably make your life more difficult emotionally and physically but its up to you not to fall prey to those vices. Netflix can absolutely be considered a vice to some people so when asked the question: Can binging these shows lead to social ostracization? The answer is yes, but returning back McCormick’s point, this sort of binging can be extremely beneficial if you want to get the full scope of the show that you are watching. So its really comes down to self control. While watching the first season of this series I found that, much like any show, its very easy to put yourself in the characters shoes that you most feel similar too. For example, if someone had a drug problem in the past they might have an emotional tie to Russo; or if a viewer often manipulates people to get what they want they might see themselves similar to Frank. Although the reading did indicate a few spoilers, I am eager to continue watching the show.

Netflix Takeover

Netflix started out as a DVD rental and sales site in 1997. The idea was that you could choose the movie you wanted online and then it would be sent to you in a red envelope. Using a flat-fee for unlimited rentals made them so attractive to avid movie watchers. Their main competitor at the time was Blockbuster, now out of business. Another reason why people found Netflix so desirable was that they didn’t have to go anywhere to get their movies, they could just sit at home, whereas Blockbuster was strictly a brick-and-mortar company. In 2007, Netflix announced that it was going to begin streaming videos, thus initiating the boom. Netflix has many competitors to date, including, HBOGO, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

In regards to sustainability, I think that Netflix is going to continue to thrive and expand their corporation into much more. Netflix has become popular because of the lack of commercials and ads. Paying for a subscription allows you access to hundreds of movies and shows without interruption. An advantage Netflix has over its competitors is its marketing strategy. They are by far the best-known streaming website and they don’t let you forget it. As you scroll through your various social media outlets you can clearly see the ads and commercials on the margins and in between posts.

Netflix social media

Creating “Netflix original series” has also allowed them to flourish while in the past they strictly needed the permission of the creators of the show to put it on there website. The company began by distributing movies and programming from other companies. It then moved forward to financing and creating its own original content, and now the name Netflix is synonymous with quality content.

Another reason for Netflix’ success is the wide variety of shows you can find on the application. Its habit of removing content once its licence expires creates an ever-revolving roster to keep us on our toes, and the convenience of having thousands of titles available on the one service keeps a lot of the people who may have been tempted to start trying to pirate a certain show with lesser impetus to do so. As we touch on the subject of binge watching of creative autonomy in the media realm it is important to understand that this leads producers to “tailor their programs for binge-watching, or at least incentivize a structural redesign of episodic narratives.” For some critics, “liberation also arrives in the form of random and unplanned encounters with media objects and new meanings.” Audiences today can call the shots on what they watch, when they watch it, and how. “Mobile platforms and lowered prices have also led to rapid market penetration by devices such as tablets and smartphones.” Consumers are not bound by time nor location. It will be interesting to see where Netflix goes from here but I hypothesize it will flourish more than ever.