Netflix and How It Is Changing Television

It's crazy to think just how much everything surrounding television has changed in recent years. We have Netflix to thank for this, having shifted the populace in how they used their televisions. Then Hulu and Amazon came along and flooded the market even moreso. Nowadays, there's a streaming service geared towards just about everyone. The days of wasting time watching commercials has been replaced with binging TV shows and making the most of our time. Despite what some people may say, I believe it's for the best.

I used to be the prototypical television viewer. Sunday through Thursday I was watching something on primetime. From 8pm to 10pm, whatever Network TV had to offer, I was watching it. The Simpsons, Friends, 24 -- amongst many others -- became staples of my nights. Some nights would be more plentiful than others but, for the most part, I was plopped in front of the television.

That's a lot of commercials.

There are few things that I hate more than commercials. They feel like there's nothing on the planet that's more of a waste of time than sitting through commercials. Sure, there might be one that comes along every once in a while that puts a smile on your face. And you really enjoy it the first couple times you see it. But the nature of commercials is their fundamental flaw. Even one we enjoy gets ingrained in us and repeated over and over to the point that we start to despise it. Then there's those rare ones that are actually grating enough to make you flip the channel because you'd rather watch a different program than be subjected to that holy hell. So really, with any commercial, there's nowhere to go but down as soon as it premieres. And for every half hour of television we watch, a third are commercials.

Netflix got rid of all of that.

Forget having to sit through stuff we don't care about, we could now take advantage of every single minute of our free time. And really that's what the youngest generation of viewers is all about: taking advantage of their time. It's why multi-tasking is at an all time high. Even as I type this, I have my phone at my side corresponding with a friend about plans later, while watching the NFL Network, and occasionally talking to the person next to me. One thing is never enough. It's why books seem to be taking a backseat nowadays.

Some may argue that the time spent with commercials is now spent just deciding what to watch, but I'd say that it's equivalent to channel flipping. Sure, I've lost nearly twenty minutes just staring at the Netflix app, flipping through the thousands of movies and shows available, but I'm not being told to buy some product based on the type of channel I'm on at the moment. If the worst thing is that you have to choose from thousands upon thousands of movies/TV shows, then things aren't all that bad.

Really, this is the best shape television has ever been it. People are looking for stuff to occupy their time and using their Netflix queue's to fill it. Television shows that never would have gotten the chance otherwise are now striving due to people discovering them on various streaming services.

Netflix is worth having for its original programming alone. From Marvel's Daredevil (and their Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Defenders shows to come) to Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp to House of Cards to Bojack Horseman, there's no way to really go wrong. Hulu and Amazon even fill out with various original programming. If you're a streaming service without it, then you're not one of the big dogs.

Even the way that we watch Network/Cable TV has changed with On Demand and DVR services. Missing a TV show no longer meant having to premeditate a recording or having to hunt down a repeat through the TV guide, they could be accessed at anytime. And with that in mind people don't really watch live TV anymore. Outside of live sporting events and awards shows, what advantage do we really have by watching it live? As long as it's not Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, you don't have to really worry about it being spoiled just by checking your twitter feed.  The sense of urgency has left the average television viewer.

Honestly, there are few shows that I actually watch during their initial airing. Sure, I'm a wrestling fan so I stay tuned to Monday Night Raw every week, but outside of that, it's rare for me. Breaking Bad is no longer on the air, and with it goes the last of my urgency to see something the moment it comes out. Game of Thrones even isn't enough to get me to watch it live outside of its season premiere. It's just a different landscape.

Even my theater going has gone from "I need to see it opening weekend, midnight showing if possible" to "I may see it the second weekend." Many factors have made me not care about it. Hell, all I have to do is wait two months, and I can see it in the comfort of my own home (okay let's be honest, one month if you're going the not-so-legal route). The way that we view entertainment is changing and it's making the future uncertain as to where we'll be, even in ten years. Are movie theaters eventually going to go out? Will broadcast television be a thing of the past?

The head of FX Networks recently said that the number of scripted TV shows is at its peak and that there's no place to go but down. The market has simply been flooded. It's how incredible shows like Orphan Black and Hitrecord On TV can go relatively unnoticed in the pop culture landscape. But that's the world we live in. No longer are we forced to hunt down a TV show through the hundreds of channels, then being given a random segment from the many episodes produced, only to have to wait to see another one, never knowing if it will even be in sequential order. Now we can start from the beginning, on our time, for whatever time we allot it. Netflix has changed everything.

Thank God. My free-time thanks you.
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About zombievictim

I'd like my writing to further represent me as a person by providing different insights into the things currently on my mind. Whether it's writing about a movie, TV show, album, book, wrestling event, experience, or life lesson. I don't plan on making this a personal blog where I treat it like a diary. This is just supposed to represent… Me.
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