By: Kelsey Tallerico, Guest Writer
Photo courtesy of screencrush.com
I was beyond excited when I found out a couple weeks ago that Friends, my favorite television show of all time, was coming to Netflix in January. My day instantly got better. And about a month ago, I was experiencing similar feelings of happiness towards the online streaming media site: on Oct. 1, Netflix brought Gilmore Girls, another of my favorite TV shows, to their site, and legitimately, for an entire weekend, I did nothing but watch hours of the series online. Procrastination at its finest.
These two shows will have been brought to the online site within just months of each other. In their entirety. Available for me to watch wherever, whenever I want, and completely at my convenience. Tell me: what’s better than that? Finding the reruns in syndication? No, I don’t think so. With my schedule, I’m not home to watch these shows when they air in reruns. I could DVR them, but really, there’s only so much space you can use, and to find all the episodes playing in order? Not going to happen.
Netflix is allowing me the opportunity to relive my two favorite television shows from the time they premiered to the very last episode; in order, not one episode missing, not one moment forgotten. Tell me – with the exception of buying the DVD box sets at quite an expensive price – where else do I have the ability to do that, so easily, effortlessly, and for less than $10 a month?
Netflix is nothing new: it’s been around for subscription since 1999, and in 2008, became available to stream television shows and movies online for a low cost a month. But what is new about Netflix is how the company is truly upping its game.
When I first became introduced to Netflix around 2009, I thought the site was lacking. No good movies, and few good television shows; that was my opinion, anyway. Fast forward to today, in 2014, and you’ve got the site streaming and getting ready to stream my two most beloved television series. Big difference. But take my personal feelings out of the equation, and look at what Netflix has to offer to everyone today.
It has television shows like Breaking Bad, arguably the most popular cable show to premiere in the last six years, in its entirety on the site. It has Scandal, which has a massive cult following of binge-watchers and Olivia Pope obsessors, streaming all seasons up to the current one, which is airing right now on its home network, ABC. I still feel it has some work to do in the movie department, but to me, that’s not where the current success of Netflix lies; that success is almost entirely in its television aspect.
And likely the most innovative thing about the company and its use of television programming is the creation of its own, original series’ and content. House of Cards, a political drama series, was released as an exclusive Netflix original series in February 2013. Orange is the New Black, a comedy-drama series documenting a women’s prison, became the most popular original series to follow House of Cards, and was released on Netflix in July 2013. Both received multiple Emmy Award nominations, and gained huge followings.
On Oct. 23, Netflix announced three new original series that will all debut on the online streaming site in 2015. Are we looking at the future of popular television programming? Since its origin, Netflix has brought us unoriginal series from different networks and cable. But now, the company is adding more currently-aired, hugely successful television shows to its roster. In addition, they’re taking their original programming to the next level, hoping to copy the success of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
So, is this where the future success of television lies? In the next five years, will people plan to stream Netflix at their convenience, whenever they want, not just to watch previously aired episodes of their favorite TV shows from network or cable, but to watch new episodes of Netflix’s own, original programming? I guess we’ll find out, but with the way it’s going now, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.