Chicago, E.T., Forrest Gump, Grease, Lost and Mean Girls Leaving Netflix in January 2018

Mean GirlsThis isn’t very fetch.
Netflix announced Wednesday that Mean Girls and other popular films, including Chicago, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Forrest Gump, Free Willy, Grease, Miss…

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She-Ra Remake Coming to Netflix, And It’s Not Alone–Get the Scoop on TV’s Reboots and Revivals

She-ra Princess of PowerThe nostalgia is real at Netflix. The streaming platform is reviving yet another beloved property, this one should delight children of the 1980s: She-Ra.
Coming in 2018, the new She-Ra…

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Netflix defends A Christmas Prince tweet

The platform sent a tweet addressing the “53 people” that have watched the film 18 days in a row.
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Netflix accused of spying after ‘creepy’ tweet

Video-streaming service Netflix has been accused of spying on its users after tweeting a “creepy” joke regarding their viewing habits.
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With ‘Dark,’ a German Netflix Series, Streaming Crosses a New Border

While the new show may have elements of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “The OA,” its creators say it’s uniquely German.
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Why Godless and Its Women-Only Town Should Be Your Next Netflix Obsession

GodlessYour next Netflix binge is here!
Godless is the streaming service’s newest offering, a seven-part miniseries about a former outlaw, his vengeful ex-partner in crime, and a town…

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The Punisher: Every Character Confirmed for the Netflix Series

Netflix’s latest Marvel series is adding a whole new wave of characters to the MCU.
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Will Netflix make it to the Oscars with Mudbound?

Netflix has become a staple at awards ceremonies in the US, but has yet to break into the Oscars. Can Mudbound break the barrier?
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International Newswire: Netflix Leads Streaming Pack in Oz

In today’s International Newswire, Netflix is top dog among streaming platforms in Australia; Studio Hamburg launches Paradise Papers documentary; ‘The Divine Order’ opens Zagreb Film Festival; and South Africa’s M-Net 101 picks up “Dancing with the Stars.” In a new report on subscription VOD in Australia, London-based research group Ampere Analysis found that Netflix is […]

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Drake Just Revived a Show for Netflix: What You Need to Know About Top Boy

DrakeBehold the power of Drake! Netflix and Drake have teamed up to revived Top Boy, a British series that originally ended in 2013. Drake and Adel “Future” Nur will executive produce the new…

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Netflix, Prodigo Films Team for Fourth Brazilian Original Series, ‘Coisa Mais Linda’

Netflix’s push into original localized content in Latin America was bolstered today with the announcement that the streaming giant has secured the services of Brazil’s Prodigo Films to produce “Coisa Mais Linda,”(“So Beautiful”) a period romance set during Rio’s rich Bossa Nova movement of the late ’50s and early ’60s. The series will be the […]

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Kevin Spacey: Netflix severs ties amid sex assault allegations

The move comes amid a number of sexual assault allegations against the House of Cards actor.
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Netflix Officially Cuts All Ties to Kevin Spacey

House of Cards Season 5Netflix is saying goodbye to Kevin Spacey. The following statement was released Friday evening to multiple outlets, shedding light on the uncertain future of House of Cards’ final…

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Netflix suspends House Of Cards production

Netflix has suspended production of House Of Cards after crisis talks about child sex assault allegations against Kevin Spacey.
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On Halloween, Netflix finally got it right

This Halloween, Netflix released two of its best shows and finally broke the curse of its terribly flawed original films.
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The Power of Lorelai & Rory: More Viewers Finished Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life in 24 Hours Than Any Other Netflix Series

Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the LifeAre you a binge racer? Apparently there are 8.4 million Netflix binge racers around the world. What is a binge racer? According to Netflix, a binge racer is a new type of fan, one who finishes a…

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Topshop Links with Netflix on “Stranger Things 2” Takeover, Screenings

TOPSHOP TAKES A TRIP: Topshop has teamed with Netflix on a zeitgeist-y deal that will see stores across the U.K. channel the spirit of the hit, Eighties-inspired TV series “Stranger Things,” which stars Winona Ryder and teen actors Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo.
In the run-up to Halloween, Topshop and Topman will be working with Netflix to promote “Stranger Things 2” with in-store cinema-style screenings at the Oxford Circus flagship in London, themed setting from the TV series and an accompanying capsule collection that will go on sale at Topshop stores in the U.K. on Oct. 20.
Topshop has described the Netflix collaboration as a “360 relationship” that will fuse fashion, culture and entertainment ahead of the season two release on Oct. 27.
Sheena Sauvaire, global marketing and communications director at Topshop, said in an interview that the worlds of entertainment, culture, fashion and tech are all colliding and that the Netflix tie-up made sense for the retailer’s young customer. “Plus, we’ve always admired how Netflix has disrupted entertainment,” she said.
Sauvaire added that the in-store takeover plays to the Topshop customer’s obsession with retro styling right now, and in particular the look of the “Stranger Things” characters who all live in

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Ranking The Best Shows On Netflix You Can Stream Right Now

“Neo Yokio” and “Big Mouth” join the list.
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Top Netflix TV Shows, Ranked by Best Wardrobe of All Time

ESC: Margaret The Crown Binge-watching in the name of fashion is completely legitimate.
For some, consuming shows on Netflix becomes an escape from work or studies. For fashion girls, it’s a different kind…

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Lady Gaga Opens Up About ‘Fear, Body Pain, Anxiety’ in Trailer for Netflix Documentary (Watch)

Lady Gaga is vulnerable and reflective in the trailer for her Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two.” “When producers wanted me to be sexy, I always put some absurd spin on it that made me feel like I was still in control,” she says in the trailer, as images flash of the pop star in… Read more »

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Netflix Renews and Expands International Deal With Orange

Netflix has renewed its deal with France’s leading telco group Orange to be distributed on Orange TV customers in France. Expanding on the initial deal, which was signed upon Netflix’s launch in France, the streaming service will now be made available in 29 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, where the Orange Group… Read more »

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Porn site offers to save Netflix cancelled show

Porn site xHamster has offered to pick up Sense8, the LGBTQ-inclusive show Netflix cancelled in June.
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Why Netflix could win the war against Disney

Netflix has poached Disney’s most successful showrunner in a move that could signal a shift in the balance of power.
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Netflix Signs ‘Scandal’ Creator From ABC as Rivalry Intensifies

Netflix has recruited prolific television producer Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ABC hits such as “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” the clearest sign yet of a race for talent between new and old entertainment industry giants.
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Shonda Rhimes leaves ABC for Netflix

The woman behind Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder has been with ABC for 15 years.
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Disney plans to take on Netflix and Amazon

Disney has announced plans to end its deals with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon and launch its own rival service.
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Trailer for Angelina Jolie’s Netflix Drama ‘First They Killed My Father’ Debuts (Watch)

Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial effort has an official trailer. The Netflix film “First They Killed My Father,” which is slated to screen at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, is a thrilled that chronicles the journey of a childhood survivor of the Pol Pot regime during the Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia. “Her eyes,” title pages… Read more »

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Oh Boy, Abbi Jacobson And Matt Groening Are Making A New Netflix Show

If it’s even half as good as “Broad City” or “The Simpsons,” we’re in.
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Here’s Everything Leaving And Coming To Netflix In August 2017

Will August be great or super bad?
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Kevin Spacey Playing Author Gore Vidal in Netflix Original Biopic (EXCLUSIVE)

ROME – Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is playing writer Gore Vidal in a new Netflix original biopic, “Gore,” which is in production in Italy. U.S. director Michael Hoffman (“The Last Station”) is helming the 1980s-set film about the late American author, playwright, and occasional political candidate. “Gore” is currently shooting in Rome but will move… Read more »

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Netflix Surprises With Big Subscriber Gains, Shares Soar

Netflix blew through its estimate for subscriber growth in the second quarter, adding 5.2 million users, as the streaming giant showed it is thriving in a hotly-competitive market for internet television.
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Streaming: ‘Chasing Coral’ on Netflix Goes Underwater to Highlight Climate Change

This documentary explores the endangered world of coral reefs.
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Netflix To Bow First Spanish Comedy Show, Joaquin Reyes’ ‘ Una y No Más’

MADRID — Netflix will make available on Sept. 8 its first Spanish comedy show, “Una y no más,” a stand-up set featuring one of Spain’s leading comedians, Joaquin Reyes. Produced by Globomedia, part of the Mediapro Group, and shot this January at Madrid’s La Latina theater, the 70-minute “Una y no más” marks the third… Read more »

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How Hollywood Got Hacked: Studio at Center of Netflix Leak Breaks Silence (EXCLUSIVE)

“Hello Rick.” “Hello Jill.” Larson Studios president Rick Larson and his wife and business partner, Jill Larson, didn’t recognize the number that sent them these two short text messages via their personal cell phones two days before Christmas last year, so they simply ignored them. “We didn’t really think much of them,” said Jill Larson…. Read more »

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Cannes: Netflix film Okja stopped after technical glitch

Okja, which stars Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, had to be restarted 10 minutes in.
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IGN UK Podcast #384: Our Dream Witcher Netflix Cast

In an INCREDIBLE COINCIDENCE, the Witcher’s getting a Netflix show just as Game of Thrones comes to a close. So, what better people to cast it than Gav and Dale, who have almost no knowledge of the games?

We also discuss why The Handmaid’s Tale is so good Joe can’t bring himself to watch it anymore, why Farpoint is so VR-y that Dale can’t play it anymore, and why Iron Maiden’s beer is so beef-like that Gav can’t drink it anymore.

Plus, your ever-excellent feedback, and another listener-submitted Keyword Countdown. Get it up your ears, stat.

IGN UK Podcast #384: Our Dream Witcher Netflix Cast

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Netflix film Okja gets ‘le boo’ at Cannes

One of the two controversial Netflix movies opening at the French festival has been booed just five minutes into a screening.
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Is BAFTA’s Netflix snub part of a coordinated attack?

After promising a step towards the future, the BAFTA TV awards seem to have gone back to the “good old days” when the British public had just three terrestrial channels to choose from on a night in.
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Netflix at Cannes: One step forward, two steps back

The Cannes Film Festival has reversed a recent decision to allow streaming-only movies to compete for the Palme d’Or.
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Netflix Hacker Also Claims Theft From ABC, Fox, IFC, National Geographic

The hacking group that goes by the name The Dark Overlord doubled down on its piracy of the new season of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” by claiming to have absconded with content from four other networks as well. ABC, Fox, National Geographic and IFC were specifically cited in a tweet issued late Friday… Read more »

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Global Streaming Giant Netflix Plays Catch-up in Asia

Global streaming giant, Netflix this week signed a deal to acquire some 600 hours of scripted and unscripted TV shows from South Korea’s JTBC. The agreement was unveiled at the Asia-Pacific Video Operators Summit (APOS) where the streaming giant was a constant topic of conversation. But the high-powered convention also made it clear that Netflix… Read more »

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Netflix Considers Limited Theatrical Release in France for Cannes In-Competition Films

After facing pressure from distributors in recent weeks, Netflix is considering a limited theatrical release in France for its movies that are playing at the Cannes Film Festival. This marks the first year that Netflix has opened films at the prestigious film festival in the South of France. Two of its titles will be debuting… Read more »

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Nick Graham Dressing Bill Nye for Netflix Series

Nick Graham has expanded his relationship with Bill Nye and is dressing the scientist and educator for his new Netflix series, “Bill Nye Saves the World.”
The 13-episode show started on Friday.
“Bill is one of those rare personalities that combines a strong compassionate message with his slightly irreverent, but always brilliant observations of the world,” Graham said. “Besides that, he has always had an enormous sense of style that he has made his own, and so all I had to do was take a bit further.”
Nye said: “Nick is incredibly creative and it’s reflected in his clothes. I love wearing his suits. And besides, they fit me right off the rack.”
On each episode of the Netflix show, Nye will take on a specific science-related topic or concept with panel discussions and correspondent reports. The set, which is designed as a modern science lab, is an extension of his popular series in the Nineties, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”
Nye also walked in Nick Graham’s fall men’s show, titled “Life on Mars,” in January, which garnered over 1 billion impressions and 385,000 likes for Nye on Instagram, according to Graham.
The designer collaborated with Nye on a limited-edition collection of quirky, science-themed bow ties in November of 2015,

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Netflix Is Reportedly Reviving Carmen Sandiego With Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez, Carmen SandiegoWhere in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Pretty soon, the answer to that question just may be: On Netflix. According to a report by Tracking Board, the streaming giant is reviving the…

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This ‘Addams Family’ Netflix Trailer Is Mysterious And Spooky (And Fake)

Tragically, we aren’t getting a Netflix remake of “The Addams Family” anytime soon. But a fan-made trailer posted to Facebook late last week is here to show us what we’re missing.

Cleverly combining clips from existing shows including “Penny Dreadful,” “Crimson Peak” and the 1991 “Addams Family” movie, the minds behind an unofficial news page for the streaming service crafted an all-together-ooky idea of what the revamped Addams household might look like.

An eerie dollhouse, a pale and dark-haired girl’s mischievous smile, an anonymous figure chopping buds off a bunch of roses ― they certainly nailed the tone of the original 1964 series. And, judging by the comments below, the trailer fooled a fair number of TV fans, if only for a single, blissful minute. (”This pulled straight at my heart,” wrote one.)

Commenters began throwing out spot-on casting suggestions ― Eva Green as Morticia, Oscar Isaac as Gomez ― that any future remake would now require.

We regret to report that the original episodes aren’t available to stream on Netflix, nor is the 1991 film. In their absence, we will have to settle for “titles related to” the kooky series.

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Netflix: The Monster That’s Eating Hollywood

The streaming-video service is hogging talent and pushing up prices, spurring pushback from rival TV producers who once saw it as a partner.
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Martin Scorsese’s Next Movie Is Heading To Netflix

Netflix has acquired its most prestigious title yet: a Martin Scorsese movie. 

“The Irishman,” a $ 100 million gangster flick starring Robert De Niro, was initially set up at Paramount, which released Scorsese’s previous movie, “Silence.” But with 12-year Paramount chief Brad Grey leaving the studio after a financially spotty 2016, Scorsese and his team opted to package the movie elsewhere, according to IndieWire.

“Scorsese’s movie is a risky deal, and Paramount is not in the position to take risks,” a source reportedly told IndieWire. “This way, he can make the project he wants.”

In other words, Scorsese’s team wants to work somewhere that executives won’t panic about box-office numbers. That’s presumably a response to “Silence,” which cost $ 46 million but earned only $ 7.1 million domestically after proving difficult to market to mainstream moviegoers.

First announced in 2008, “The Irishman” is an adaptation of the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses, which follows mob hitman Frank Sheeren, who confessed to killing labor-union leader and organized-crime honcho Jimmy Hoffa. Steve Zaillian (”Schindler’s List,” “Gangs of New York”) wrote the script. 

“The Irishman” will mark Scorsese’s ninth movie with De Niro. It also stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, who have worked with Scorsese before, too. 

Even if the financials behind this decision seem logical, it’s a surprise move for a director known as a disciple of traditional cinema. Scorsese has long preached about his preference for shooting on film instead of digitally, the medium most directors opt for nowadays. Still, he hasn’t shied away from television, co-creating “Vinyl” and directing the “Boardwalk Empire” pilot for HBO.

‘‘Cinema is gone,’’ Scorsese told the Associated Press in December. ‘‘The cinema I grew up with and that I’m making, it’s gone. The theater will always be there for that communal experience, there’s no doubt. But what kind of experience is it going to be? Is it always going to be a theme-park movie? I sound like an old man, which I am. The big screen for us in the ’50s, you go from Westerns to ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to the special experience of ‘2001’ in 1968. The experience of seeing ‘Vertigo’ and ‘The Searchers’ in VistaVision.’’

Regardless, this is a boon for Netflix, which jump-started its original features with the 2015 Oscar hopeful “Beasts of No Nation.” At the Sundance Film Festival last month, the streaming service acquired more titles than any traditional studio, even snagging the festival’s strongest Oscar contender, the World War II race drama “Mudbound,” for a pricey $ 12.5 million

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WTF Is The OA? Netflix Tasks Stranger Things, The Crown and More to Explain

The OAWTF is The OA? It’s a question that has been plaguing viewers since Netflix started its stealth promotion and subsequent release of the series from and starring Brit Marling.
What Is…

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In Africa, a Homegrown Rival Takes On Netflix

Africa’s biggest company is challenging the world’s largest video-on-demand service in the race to lure African eyeballs—and wallets.
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Netflix Knows About Your Binging Breathers, And What You Do With Them

Fulfilling its role as wise omnipotent narrator, Netflix has surveyed its vast subscriber base of 86 million happy couch potatoes and discovered patterns in our binging once again.

We like TV. But we still aren’t bored with movies. After we finish watching all available seasons of a TV show on Netflix, most of us (59 percent) take at least a one-day breather ― the average is three days ― before committing to another show.

In a report released Wednesday, Netflix says most people who take breaks (61 percent) like to watch a movie or documentary during that time between shows “to keep the binge feeling alive,” a statement reads. The streaming service also noted the types of movies viewers are likely to go for based on which series they’ve just finished. 

For a lot of TV-movie pairings, the rationale is clear. After “House of Cards,” some moved on to “Beasts of No Nation,” which features a different ruthless leader, and after “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” some move on to “The Princess Bride,” another quirky comedy. Many “Gilmore Girls” viewers moved on to pop culture classics “Sixteen Candles” and “Dirty Dancing”; many “Luke Cage” viewers switched to U.S. criminal justice documentary “13th.”

The exception is when viewers choose a comedy flick. According to Netflix, people tend to choose comedies when they need a change of pace ― after watching the scary series “American Horror Story” or “Stranger Things,” for example. 

“It’s interesting that in this golden age of television, movies are consistently in demand on Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer. “What we’ve come to figure out is that movies are really an important part of people’s viewing routines and complementary to the way they watch and enjoy TV.”

Take a look at some of their other findings below:

The company looked at viewership data from 86 million subscribers. To find popular TV-movie pairings, Netflix analyzed over 100 TV series to identify which movies were paired “most frequently per market.”

The report comes on the heels of an announcement this week that Netflix will spend a cool $ 6 billion on original content in 2017, up from a measly $ 5 billion in 2016.

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You Can Now Watch Netflix Anywhere You Want Without The Internet

It’s the moment all Netflix addicts have been waiting for. 

On Wednesday, the streaming service revealed its new download feature, which will let users watch some of their favorite shows and movies whenever and wherever they want, without internet.

The download feature for offline watching is currently available today for Netflix shows “Orange is The New Black,” “Narcos” and “The Crown,” with more internet-free binging to come.

To watch shows offline, all you need to do is update your app. In the latest version, a download button appears beside the “play” button on select shows. You can specify the video quality (standard or high quality), too.

“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited,” Eddy Wu, Netflix’s director of product innovation, said in a statement.

The new feature is available for all iOS and Android users. 

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PSA: This Hilarious Netflix Comedy Changed Its Name & Now You Can Watch Season 2

Lovesick, Scrotal RecallLet’s get this out of the way first: Scrotal Recall is an absolutely TERRIBLE name for a TV show, so we do not blame you whatsoever for either completely ignoring its arrival on Netflix last…

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Here’s What You Need to Watch Before It Leaves Netflix

Here’s What You Need to Watch Before It Leaves Netflix

The clock is winding down on 2015. Here’s what you need to watch before it leaves your queue.

The post Here’s What You Need to Watch Before It Leaves Netflix appeared first on WIRED.

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A Gilmore Girls Revival Series Is Reportedly Happening at Netflix

Netflix has already delivered every single episode of Gilmore Girls for us to binge watch—and now, the streaming site is coming through in an even more major way: Our beloved Gilmore Girls is reportedly coming…


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Everything New on Netflix in October 2015

Bummed over everything that left Netflix this month? Us too. But luckily, those feelings should be short-lived—thanks to the wave of new arrivals hitting Netflix this month. October brings a hefty crop of fun new…


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Everything New on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime This Week

This week is basically like Christmas to us: The Emmys are this Sunday, fall TV kicks into full gear, and there are more new streaming options than we could possibly fit into a seven-day period…


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Everything New on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime This Week

After this amazing but much-too-short trailer for season four of The Mindy Project, it's safe to say we're pretty pumped for the week of streaming ahead. Here's a look at everything that's coming to Netflix,…


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The 8 Stages Of Watching ‘Batman & Robin’ On Netflix

For whatever masochistic reason, the film “Batman & Robin” is trending on Netflix, and has been for a few weeks or so. Helmed and steered clear off a cliff by Joel Schumacher, “Batman & Robin” stars George Clooney as the caped crusader with nipples on his batsuit.

One of the plot points is that Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred is dying, and you see him in various scenes privately wincing from some unknown pain. Well, it’s clear now that just being in this movie was probably physically paining the actor who played Alfred, Michael Gough.

It’s an awful movie. And I fell for watching it.

It began like any other Saturday: no pants, a vague sense that I had embarrassed myself the night before, and the urge to drown my brain in some mindless Netflix viewing.

Thus began the eight stages of watching “Batman & Robin” on Netflix.

 


STAGE 1 – Optimistic Amnesia

Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember! I mean, it was goofy, I remember that much, but maybe it’s goofy in a “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” kind of way.

 


STAGE 2 - Regret

I’ve made a huge mistake.

 


STAGE 3 – Confusion

Who green-lit this? OMG, they just go-go-gadgeted ice skates from their boots. And now they’re fighting hockey team henchmen. Did Robin just pull out a laser gun? This feels wrong …

 


STAGE 4 – Uncomfortable Laughter

The only entertaining thing is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ice puns, because by comparison to the rest of the so-bad-it’s-funny film, those are high quality hilarity.

 


STAGE 5 – Pun Delirium

You no longer have a reasonable grasp on reality and your brain is quickly liquifying. 

 


STAGE 6 – Full-On Joker Dementia 

You’re a zombie. A jolly, smiling zombie.

 


 STAGE  7 – Discombobulation

The standard notions of direction and position have lost all meaning. You are lost in a multi-dimensional spacial hellscape for which there is no escape.

 


STAGE 8 - Death

There’s no chance of resuscitation at this point. Like telling your friends you’ll stop out for “just one beer.” Once you’ve begun, it’s already too late.

 

 

Anyway, hello from heaven! It’s pretty nice up here! It’s all the Arnie puns you can handle, you get to watch Joel Schumacher try to direct his way out of a paper bag for all eternity, and the batsuits don’t have nipples! 

PARADISE.

 

Huge thanks to fellow lover of puns Kate Bratskier for taking a flurry of photos for me and being so … cool.  She snows what’s up. (Also, apologies to Kate Bratskier for the previous sentence.)

 

 

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Netflix, Binging And Quality Control In The Age Of Peak TV

Matt Singer posed a timely question today: Why is it that the original programs made by Netflix — the place that perfected binge-viewing — aren’t necessarily all that binge-able? 


By downplaying the importance of individual episodes in favor of longform narratives, the company has also downplayed the propulsive storytelling style and shocking cliffhangers that define the best binge-watch shows. A television show structured as a one giant 13-hour story can be highly absorbing. But without those big hooks and twists at the end of every episode, it’s very difficult to make it addictive.

Singer’s onto something here: I’ve spent the summer rewatching “The X-Files,” and there’s something about traditionally made, pre-“peak TV” dramas that often makes them deliciously binge-able. Writers on the kinds of shows that eventually made binging a thing were often under pressure from networks to hook viewers, through juicy relationship arcs, propulsive stories, exciting mythology reveals and hints that something big was coming in the next week. Not all good “binge-ers” have those elements, but many of the good ones are very good at serving up self-contained episodes, distinctive characters and moments so entertaining that you just want another hit of whatever they’re selling. 

Obviously television’s ambitions have expanded since the heyday of binge-inducers like “Alias,” “Lost” and “24,” and Netflix is among the many outlets testing the boundaries of what kinds of television can sustain an audience for a binge or a leisurely stroll, even as TV redefines what success means in an era of micro-niches and all manner of nonlinear viewing opportunities.

That said, my first reaction to Singer’s piece on the binge-resistance of Netflix’s dramas consisted of a question: I really wonder how much of that is intentional. It may not be a feature, but a bug.

Singer’s theory is that Netflix executives don’t really care if it takes a few months to watch one of their original series; that’s actually a good thing, if the slow pace keeps a subscription active. That makes sense from a business perspective, but, based on statements Netflix executives have made and the shows they’ve released, I wonder if that’s their primary intent.

My theory’s different: I think Netflix and Amazon executives give their creative types a lot of rope, and I’ve often had occasion to wonder is they’re giving them too much rope. It’s common for their dramas to get tangled up and slow down, even at the pilot stage, and in the middle of seasons, Netflix dramas often sag and meander, and — as Singer notes — they take a long time to work up a head of steam. 


My first reaction to Singer’s piece on the binge-resistance of Netflix’s dramas consisted of a question: I really wonder how much of that is intentional. It may not be a feature, but a bug.

But this isn’t just the case at streaming services: It’s happening a lot in the more ambitious realms of television. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to many shows, especially dramas, in the cable, pay-cable and streaming arenas, I see a trend toward laxness and a lack of energy and dynamic tension. There’s more ambition than in a derivative NBC or CBS procedural, sure, but there’s also often a lack of urgency within an episode and, most notably, over the course of a season.

It’s also fairly common to find that the character development is not strong and vivid enough to make me want to revisit these shows while they figure out how to crank up the narrative drive, as was the case with Amazon’s “Bosch” and USA’s “Complications.” I did finally begin to enjoy AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire,” especially in its second season, but most people had checked out well before it kicked into high gear, and that may have doomed the show (though I hope not). 

Of course, it’s unfair to cherry-pick the best examples, but let’s face it, this wasn’t too often the case with with the best binge-ers the Commercial Television Machine produced. Even in a bad episode of “The X-Files” or “Lost,” the Mulder and Scully banter or the Hurley quips make up for a lot. Hence my current obsession with what I call B-movie TV: Genre fare that is smart and subversive but also energetic and not overly concerned with being Important. (The two best new shows of the year, Lifetime’s “UnREAL” and USA’s “Mr. Robot” may not neatly fit in the B-movie TV category, but both were pleasingly knotty, had great characters and were suspenseful from the jump. They’re binge-ers, for sure.)  

Sag and drift problems have cropped up throughout TV history, obviously. But I think it’s telling that it’s cropping up a lot lately, often at places that could and should know better (despite its great cast and terrific moments, I gave up on the rudderless “Masters of Sex” near the end of Season 2 and haven’t seen a compelling reason to jump back on board). As Todd VanDerWerff has pointed out, TV is fumbling for direction in the age of binging and stacking and all episodes of television existing simultaneously everywhere (well, not really, but it feels that way sometimes). So as TV figures out the creative implications of the nonlinear era, some sloppiness and experimentation is to be expected.

But I think there’s more to it than that. The competition for talent and the huge desire lock down hot writers while also trying to create Signature Programs has led to situations where executives have let way too much bad writing slide.

There’s an enormous scramble for content at the moment, so much so that multiple seasons are being ordered at an accelerated pace and it’s almost normal for shows to be renewed before they debut. That was decidedly not normal only a few years ago. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and any number of other new players have changed the game, just as cable did a decade or so ago.

As I’ve argued elsewhere, this is a good thing, overall. Not every show in Ye Olde Golden Age was a keeper, but almost every network was forced to raise its game and give writers more leeway. Hooray!

But there was sigh-inducing side to that revolution: There was too much imitation and a blind pursuit of uninspired dramas about tortured white guys. These days, as TV expands into what FX president John Landgraf has called peak TV, there’s a lot of great TV, but the signal-to-noise ratio is not necessarily heading in a reassuring direction. As TV competes to keep eyeballs on its ever-expanding array of content, we’re being subjected to a lot of empty spectacle and rote brand extension. And it’s worth pointing out, as Linda Holmes does in her great essay series on TV’s growing pains, that the kinds of people who get to make TV now are usually the kinds of people who always have gotten to make TV. Diversity is a buzzword executives know they should throw around these days, but their commitment to it seems tenuous at best.

So this revolution has its frustrations, among them the problems Singer neatly delineates. And given that the issues he noticed and I’ve described are mostly taking place in the streaming, cable and pay-cable arenas, the following statement mostly applies to them: Maybe its because they have too many shows to keep track of, or maybe it’s because they’re working with writers they think might try to get a better deal somewhere else, but I get the sense that a number of networks and executives are not exercising the quality control they used to. It’s a problem.

Too many times lately, with too many shows that are well cast and clearly expensive, I’ve wondered why the people in charge appear to be asleep at the switch. “Fear the Walking Dead” is repetitive and boring, but AMC wants to keep “Walking Dead” mogul Robert Kirkman in the corporate family, so that show’s going to be what Kirkman wants it to be, for good or ill. The last two seasons of “American Horror Story” haven’t been very good, but they’ve been noisy enough to get a lot of eyeballs, and FX wants to be in business with Ryan Murphy, so that show will continue to be variable and frustrating (and maybe occasionally excellent, who knows). “Bloodline” assembled various prestige TV markers without going anywhere all that compelling with them, but it seems like the kind of show Netflix should be making — and if they didn’t make it, someone else might — so it got renewed. And so on.

The power dynamics in the industry are unstable — only in certain places, of course, and only for certain people. But the current scramble for talent has given some writer/producers more power than these kinds of folks have ever had in the past, and the side effects of that development aren’t always good. For one thing, in part due to talent flight, drama pilots on the broadcast networks have been mostly lame and terrible for years, with a few rare exceptions, because those who don’t want to deal with a lot of network interference are going elsewhere. (The CW, which has been on a roll, is the exception among the broadcast networks, but that’s a story for another day.)


The current scramble for talent has given some writer/producers more power than these kinds of folks have ever had in the past, and the side effects of that development aren’t always good.

As many writer/producers head to what they perceive to be greener pastures, executives are doing whatever they can to lock down talent, and the end result of this whole process can sometimes be self-indulgent and lazy television. Drift, repetition and laxness are things a good executive can spot, catch and help correct. With the good or improving shows, that’s likely at least part of what’s happening. Given the glut of bad, lazy or directionless dramas, that’s not happening enough, or some creatives just aren’t listening. When a drama like “True Detective” goes that off-course and wastes that much potential, it’s not just a chance to have fun with memes and hashtags, it’s a sign that something has seriously gone awry in the quality-control systems that helped TV get to where it is now. 

HBO, once the strutting king of the TV scene, can’t openly criticize newcomer Nic Pizzolatto, lest he bolt and the network’s reputation as a welcoming haven for top talent take a hit. Netflix and Amazon go further: They openly celebrate their hands-off approaches. Executives at both places have basically said that because they’re not married to the usual commercial television models, they’re letting their talent do … whatever. 

“We are not really in the solid outcome business, you know,” Amazon Studios head Roy Price said at an Amazon executive panel at the Television Critics Association press tour recently. “We are not really in the programming business.”

“It’s not the intent to draw the biggest audience from any single show,” Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said at TCA. “The shows are built and designed and we invest in them based on the audience that we believe the show can attract. And it’s successful if it attracts that audience segment.”

Joe Lewis, Amazon’s comedy chief, said something similar: “I think we are … just looking for shows that are our customers’ favorites.”

That all sounds good, in theory. And in practice, it’s occasionally resulted in wonderful television. Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” is as weird a concoction as I can think of, but it’s incisive and funny even as it goes to some heartbreaking places. I’m glad that Amazon is betting big on “The Man in the High Castle,” which may supply the smart sci-fi I’ve been searching for. And of course, all of television is a crapshoot; most shows fail, good ones are always hard to make and great ones are always rare.

But these streaming executives are indicating that they think non-interference is the only way to get good shows.

“[W]e built the company on this in this internal culture of freedom and responsibility, and we really did apply that to our showrunners too,” Sarandos said at TCA. “We decided it would be our role not to coach the creatives because it really wasn’t our wheelhouse. It was going to be our role to pick the right projects, pick the right worlds, pick the right talent to run those shows, and then really try to create an environment for them to do the best work of their lives.”

This statement kind of floored me, honestly. If the executives not there to make shows better, what are they there for? Also, can I have an executive job at Netflix? Because I would really like to make a lot of money to not do things. They give many millions to those making their shows, but telling them how to spend that money wisely? LOL, pass. 

Of course, some of this is just the kind of chest-thumping tech-exec hyperbole that “Silicon Valley” lampoons so well. And that’s the analogy I’ll stick with: Amazon and Netflix executives don’t seem to consider themselves TV executives, and it may be more useful to think of them as the kinds of guys who run Uber and other boastful, well-funded startups. They hacked television, bro, and they’re going to do it better.

Except … really? They think they’re going to do it better than the kinds of people responsible for the Commercial Television Machine? I mean, maybe someday they will, and if they get to that point, break out the Champagne. But their track record isn’t nearly there yet, and it’s more than a little grating that they’re so dismissive of the kind of TV-making processes that led to the creation of so many good and great shows — the very binge-able content they so eagerly bought up and built their businesses on top of. 

And that brings me back to my reaction to Singer’s essay, which boils down to this: Giving people a lot of rope is not necessarily how the best TV gets made. It can produce good results, in the hands of a disciplined professionals who know what to do with that freedom — and what not to do with it. If the discipline, vision and restraint are lacking and are not supplied by the showrunner or by executives, the results are usually ponderous messes (“House of Cards,” “Hand of God,” “Low Winter Sun”).

It’s worth noting that Jill Soloway (“Transparent”) and Jenji Kohan (“Orange Is the New Black”), who created the best shows in the streaming realms, are longtime veterans of the Commercial Television Machine. And all that has happened before has happened again. Long before those shows were a gleam on some site’s server, Ron Moore reinvented “Battlestar Galactica” by taking the best of what he’d learned in a long career as a writer for various “Star Trek” TV series and blowing up the rest. I really wish streaming executives wouldn’t valorize throwing out the baby with the bathwater, at least not until their rosters have more shows like “Transparent” and “OITNB” and “Battlestar Galactica” and fewer sludge piles like “Hand of God” and “Marco Polo.”

Quality control matters in television; look at how USA nurtured “Mr. Robot” into an accessible yet deeply adventurous show, and the showrunners of “The Americans” often talk about how executive input helped the show go from good to great, to name just two examples. And this concept matters even more when you think about the fact that Amazon and Netflix — like many networks — are ramping up their content machines. The efficacy of quality control is partly related to volume, and it’s moderately terrifying that this phenomenon of peak TV could result in 400 primetime scripted shows in 2015 alone.

 At TCA, Landgraf said he’s capping the number of shows FX and FXX make.

“I really don’t care how much money a business has to spend. As someone who struggles every day to program good and great television, who still reads nearly every script and watches every rough cut of every episode we program, I believe it’s impossible to maintain quality control with too many shows,” Landgraf said.

 His Peak TV speech contained a lot of food for thought, some of which good critics are still chewing on, but he’s right about that. Despite my fears for my sanity, I generally think Peak TV is a good thing — without it, we don’t get weird gems like “Rectify” and “BoJack” and a more diverse array of creators and protagonists. Given how many more shows are being made and how many of them have less experienced or inexperienced showrunners, however, now’s not the time for executives to just let people sink or swim, but signs of floundering are already all over the place. All in all, I am very concerned about whether we’re going to get more good TV, or just more TV. 

There are certain kinds of quality control that Netflix and Amazon executives seem amused by or appear to think is unnecessary. And stories of the excesses of overly controlling, uninspired and unhelpful networks executives are not hard to find and easy to mock, but the good ones are also partly responsible for sweetest fruits of the Commercial Television Machine. 

Of course, writers, actors and directors are incredibly important when it comes to a show’s quality, but knowing how to shepherd, shape and market a show — these are real and important skills. If you read Difficult Men and The Revolution Was Televised, you’ll come across many instances of writers doing their best to rebel against whatever network strictures had frustrated them in the past. But you’ll also come across TV executives who knew what they were doing and helped birth great shows and unquestionably helped turn those programs into the juggernauts that they became. These are the shows we all binged at some point or want to binge someday — and they didn’t appear by magic.

Covering TV for the past 15 years has taught me that the best shows tend to have two elements embedded in their DNA: Collaboration and tension. I don’t mean conflict, not exactly, which is not unknown on the sets of ambitious shows, of course. Conflict is inevitable when grown people work together on any project for any length of time. But what I’m referring to is the kind of creative tension that exists when people who work together don’t always agree but find ways to let the better and smarter ideas win. Sharp people questioning each other, pushing each other, testing each other and leading each other to epiphanies — those are among the conditions that can lead to great TV, and sometimes those exchanges involve executives who care and know television. They exist, and right about now, I wish there were more of them. Maybe they exist at Amazon and Netflix, but if so, I wish their bosses weren’t so disparaging of the work they were (possibly) hired to do.

Every writer I’ve ever spoken to has told stories about executive notes that were dumb — and notes that were brilliant. Dealing with feedback from an executive — even an executive a creator doesn’t much like — can force a writer to better articulate her vision. Probing questions can lead to stronger and clearer choices and even dumb questions can lead to breakthroughs. As Joss Whedon has said, “It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.”

Who is asking questions these days? How smart or dumb are the ideas under consideration? And is anyone listening? As we head into the uncharted waters of peak TV, those are some of the questions I have. 

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Netflix, Binging And Quality Control In The Age Of Peak TV

Matt Singer posed a timely question today: Why is it that the original programs made by Netflix — the place that perfected binge-viewing — aren’t necessarily all that binge-able? 


By downplaying the importance of individual episodes in favor of longform narratives, the company has also downplayed the propulsive storytelling style and shocking cliffhangers that define the best binge-watch shows. A television show structured as a one giant 13-hour story can be highly absorbing. But without those big hooks and twists at the end of every episode, it’s very difficult to make it addictive.

Singer’s onto something here: I’ve spent the summer rewatching “The X-Files,” and there’s something about traditionally made, pre-“peak TV” dramas that often makes them deliciously binge-able. Writers on the kinds of shows that eventually made binging a thing were often under pressure from networks to hook viewers, through juicy relationship arcs, propulsive stories, exciting mythology reveals and hints that something big was coming in the next week. Not all good “binge-ers” have those elements, but many of the good ones are very good at serving up self-contained episodes, distinctive characters and moments so entertaining that you just want another hit of whatever they’re selling. 

Obviously television’s ambitions have expanded since the heyday of binge-inducers like “Alias,” “Lost” and “24,” and Netflix is among the many outlets testing the boundaries of what kinds of television can sustain an audience for a binge or a leisurely stroll, even as TV redefines what success means in an era of micro-niches and all manner of nonlinear viewing opportunities.

That said, my first reaction to Singer’s piece on the binge-resistance of Netflix’s dramas consisted of a question: I really wonder how much of that is intentional. It may not be a feature, but a bug.

Singer’s theory is that Netflix executives don’t really care if it takes a few months to watch one of their original series; that’s actually a good thing, if the slow pace keeps a subscription active. That makes sense from a business perspective, but, based on statements Netflix executives have made and the shows they’ve released, I wonder if that’s their primary intent.

My theory’s different: I think Netflix and Amazon executives give their creative types a lot of rope, and I’ve often had occasion to wonder is they’re giving them too much rope. It’s common for their dramas to get tangled up and slow down, even at the pilot stage, and in the middle of seasons, Netflix dramas often sag and meander, and — as Singer notes — they take a long time to work up a head of steam. 


My first reaction to Singer’s piece on the binge-resistance of Netflix’s dramas consisted of a question: I really wonder how much of that is intentional. It may not be a feature, but a bug.

But this isn’t just the case at streaming services: It’s happening a lot in the more ambitious realms of television. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to many shows, especially dramas, in the cable, pay-cable and streaming arenas, I see a trend toward laxness and a lack of energy and dynamic tension. There’s more ambition than in a derivative NBC or CBS procedural, sure, but there’s also often a lack of urgency within an episode and, most notably, over the course of a season.

It’s also fairly common to find that the character development is not strong and vivid enough to make me want to revisit these shows while they figure out how to crank up the narrative drive, as was the case with Amazon’s “Bosch” and USA’s “Complications.” I did finally begin to enjoy AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire,” especially in its second season, but most people had checked out well before it kicked into high gear, and that may have doomed the show (though I hope not). 

Of course, it’s unfair to cherry-pick the best examples, but let’s face it, this wasn’t too often the case with with the best binge-ers the Commercial Television Machine produced. Even in a bad episode of “The X-Files” or “Lost,” the Mulder and Scully banter or the Hurley quips make up for a lot. Hence my current obsession with what I call B-movie TV: Genre fare that is smart and subversive but also energetic and not overly concerned with being Important. (The two best new shows of the year, Lifetime’s “UnREAL” and USA’s “Mr. Robot” may not neatly fit in the B-movie TV category, but both were pleasingly knotty, had great characters and were suspenseful from the jump. They’re binge-ers, for sure.)  

Sag and drift problems have cropped up throughout TV history, obviously. But I think it’s telling that it’s cropping up a lot lately, often at places that could and should know better (despite its great cast and terrific moments, I gave up on the rudderless “Masters of Sex” near the end of Season 2 and haven’t seen a compelling reason to jump back on board). As Todd VanDerWerff has pointed out, TV is fumbling for direction in the age of binging and stacking and all episodes of television existing simultaneously everywhere (well, not really, but it feels that way sometimes). So as TV figures out the creative implications of the nonlinear era, some sloppiness and experimentation is to be expected.

But I think there’s more to it than that. The competition for talent and the huge desire lock down hot writers while also trying to create Signature Programs has led to situations where executives have let way too much bad writing slide.

There’s an enormous scramble for content at the moment, so much so that multiple seasons are being ordered at an accelerated pace and it’s almost normal for shows to be renewed before they debut. That was decidedly not normal only a few years ago. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and any number of other new players have changed the game, just as cable did a decade or so ago.

As I’ve argued elsewhere, this is a good thing, overall. Not every show in Ye Olde Golden Age was a keeper, but almost every network was forced to raise its game and give writers more leeway. Hooray!

But there was sigh-inducing side to that revolution: There was too much imitation and a blind pursuit of uninspired dramas about tortured white guys. These days, as TV expands into what FX president John Landgraf has called peak TV, there’s a lot of great TV, but the signal-to-noise ratio is not necessarily heading in a reassuring direction. As TV competes to keep eyeballs on its ever-expanding array of content, we’re being subjected to a lot of empty spectacle and rote brand extension. And it’s worth pointing out, as Linda Holmes does in her great essay series on TV’s growing pains, that the kinds of people who get to make TV now are usually the kinds of people who always have gotten to make TV. Diversity is a buzzword executives know they should throw around these days, but their commitment to it seems tenuous at best.

So this revolution has its frustrations, among them the problems Singer neatly delineates. And given that the issues he noticed and I’ve described are mostly taking place in the streaming, cable and pay-cable arenas, the following statement mostly applies to them: Maybe its because they have too many shows to keep track of, or maybe it’s because they’re working with writers they think might try to get a better deal somewhere else, but I get the sense that a number of networks and executives are not exercising the quality control they used to. It’s a problem.

Too many times lately, with too many shows that are well cast and clearly expensive, I’ve wondered why the people in charge appear to be asleep at the switch. “Fear the Walking Dead” is repetitive and boring, but AMC wants to keep “Walking Dead” mogul Robert Kirkman in the corporate family, so that show’s going to be what Kirkman wants it to be, for good or ill. The last two seasons of “American Horror Story” haven’t been very good, but they’ve been noisy enough to get a lot of eyeballs, and FX wants to be in business with Ryan Murphy, so that show will continue to be variable and frustrating (and maybe occasionally excellent, who knows). “Bloodline” assembled various prestige TV markers without going anywhere all that compelling with them, but it seems like the kind of show Netflix should be making — and if they didn’t make it, someone else might — so it got renewed. And so on.

The power dynamics in the industry are unstable — only in certain places, of course, and only for certain people. But the current scramble for talent has given some writer/producers more power than these kinds of folks have ever had in the past, and the side effects of that development aren’t always good. For one thing, in part due to talent flight, drama pilots on the broadcast networks have been mostly lame and terrible for years, with a few rare exceptions, because those who don’t want to deal with a lot of network interference are going elsewhere. (The CW, which has been on a roll, is the exception among the broadcast networks, but that’s a story for another day.)


The current scramble for talent has given some writer/producers more power than these kinds of folks have ever had in the past, and the side effects of that development aren’t always good.

As many writer/producers head to what they perceive to be greener pastures, executives are doing whatever they can to lock down talent, and the end result of this whole process can sometimes be self-indulgent and lazy television. Drift, repetition and laxness are things a good executive can spot, catch and help correct. With the good or improving shows, that’s likely at least part of what’s happening. Given the glut of bad, lazy or directionless dramas, that’s not happening enough, or some creatives just aren’t listening. When a drama like “True Detective” goes that off-course and wastes that much potential, it’s not just a chance to have fun with memes and hashtags, it’s a sign that something has seriously gone awry in the quality-control systems that helped TV get to where it is now. 

HBO, once the strutting king of the TV scene, can’t openly criticize newcomer Nic Pizzolatto, lest he bolt and the network’s reputation as a welcoming haven for top talent take a hit. Netflix and Amazon go further: They openly celebrate their hands-off approaches. Executives at both places have basically said that because they’re not married to the usual commercial television models, they’re letting their talent do … whatever. 

“We are not really in the solid outcome business, you know,” Amazon Studios head Roy Price said at an Amazon executive panel at the Television Critics Association press tour recently. “We are not really in the programming business.”

“It’s not the intent to draw the biggest audience from any single show,” Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said at TCA. “The shows are built and designed and we invest in them based on the audience that we believe the show can attract. And it’s successful if it attracts that audience segment.”

Joe Lewis, Amazon’s comedy chief, said something similar: “I think we are … just looking for shows that are our customers’ favorites.”

That all sounds good, in theory. And in practice, it’s occasionally resulted in wonderful television. Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” is as weird a concoction as I can think of, but it’s incisive and funny even as it goes to some heartbreaking places. I’m glad that Amazon is betting big on “The Man in the High Castle,” which may supply the smart sci-fi I’ve been searching for. And of course, all of television is a crapshoot; most shows fail, good ones are always hard to make and great ones are always rare.

But these streaming executives are indicating that they think non-interference is the only way to get good shows.

“[W]e built the company on this in this internal culture of freedom and responsibility, and we really did apply that to our showrunners too,” Sarandos said at TCA. “We decided it would be our role not to coach the creatives because it really wasn’t our wheelhouse. It was going to be our role to pick the right projects, pick the right worlds, pick the right talent to run those shows, and then really try to create an environment for them to do the best work of their lives.”

This statement kind of floored me, honestly. If the executives not there to make shows better, what are they there for? Also, can I have an executive job at Netflix? Because I would really like to make a lot of money to not do things. They give many millions to those making their shows, but telling them how to spend that money wisely? LOL, pass. 

Of course, some of this is just the kind of chest-thumping tech-exec hyperbole that “Silicon Valley” lampoons so well. And that’s the analogy I’ll stick with: Amazon and Netflix executives don’t seem to consider themselves TV executives, and it may be more useful to think of them as the kinds of guys who run Uber and other boastful, well-funded startups. They hacked television, bro, and they’re going to do it better.

Except … really? They think they’re going to do it better than the kinds of people responsible for the Commercial Television Machine? I mean, maybe someday they will, and if they get to that point, break out the Champagne. But their track record isn’t nearly there yet, and it’s more than a little grating that they’re so dismissive of the kind of TV-making processes that led to the creation of so many good and great shows — the very binge-able content they so eagerly bought up and built their businesses on top of. 

And that brings me back to my reaction to Singer’s essay, which boils down to this: Giving people a lot of rope is not necessarily how the best TV gets made. It can produce good results, in the hands of a disciplined professionals who know what to do with that freedom — and what not to do with it. If the discipline, vision and restraint are lacking and are not supplied by the showrunner or by executives, the results are usually ponderous messes (“House of Cards,” “Hand of God,” “Low Winter Sun”).

It’s worth noting that Jill Soloway (“Transparent”) and Jenji Kohan (“Orange Is the New Black”), who created the best shows in the streaming realms, are longtime veterans of the Commercial Television Machine. And all that has happened before has happened again. Long before those shows were a gleam on some site’s server, Ron Moore reinvented “Battlestar Galactica” by taking the best of what he’d learned in a long career as a writer for various “Star Trek” TV series and blowing up the rest. I really wish streaming executives wouldn’t valorize throwing out the baby with the bathwater, at least not until their rosters have more shows like “Transparent” and “OITNB” and “Battlestar Galactica” and fewer sludge piles like “Hand of God” and “Marco Polo.”

Quality control matters in television; look at how USA nurtured “Mr. Robot” into an accessible yet deeply adventurous show, and the showrunners of “The Americans” often talk about how executive input helped the show go from good to great, to name just two examples. And this concept matters even more when you think about the fact that Amazon and Netflix — like many networks — are ramping up their content machines. The efficacy of quality control is partly related to volume, and it’s moderately terrifying that this phenomenon of peak TV could result in 400 primetime scripted shows in 2015 alone.

 At TCA, Landgraf said he’s capping the number of shows FX and FXX make.

“I really don’t care how much money a business has to spend. As someone who struggles every day to program good and great television, who still reads nearly every script and watches every rough cut of every episode we program, I believe it’s impossible to maintain quality control with too many shows,” Landgraf said.

 His Peak TV speech contained a lot of food for thought, some of which good critics are still chewing on, but he’s right about that. Despite my fears for my sanity, I generally think Peak TV is a good thing — without it, we don’t get weird gems like “Rectify” and “BoJack” and a more diverse array of creators and protagonists. Given how many more shows are being made and how many of them have less experienced or inexperienced showrunners, however, now’s not the time for executives to just let people sink or swim, but signs of floundering are already all over the place. All in all, I am very concerned about whether we’re going to get more good TV, or just more TV. 

There are certain kinds of quality control that Netflix and Amazon executives seem amused by or appear to think is unnecessary. And stories of the excesses of overly controlling, uninspired and unhelpful networks executives are not hard to find and easy to mock, but the good ones are also partly responsible for sweetest fruits of the Commercial Television Machine. 

Of course, writers, actors and directors are incredibly important when it comes to a show’s quality, but knowing how to shepherd, shape and market a show — these are real and important skills. If you read Difficult Men and The Revolution Was Televised, you’ll come across many instances of writers doing their best to rebel against whatever network strictures had frustrated them in the past. But you’ll also come across TV executives who knew what they were doing and helped birth great shows and unquestionably helped turn those programs into the juggernauts that they became. These are the shows we all binged at some point or want to binge someday — and they didn’t appear by magic.

Covering TV for the past 15 years has taught me that the best shows tend to have two elements embedded in their DNA: Collaboration and tension. I don’t mean conflict, not exactly, which is not unknown on the sets of ambitious shows, of course. Conflict is inevitable when grown people work together on any project for any length of time. But what I’m referring to is the kind of creative tension that exists when people who work together don’t always agree but find ways to let the better and smarter ideas win. Sharp people questioning each other, pushing each other, testing each other and leading each other to epiphanies — those are among the conditions that can lead to great TV, and sometimes those exchanges involve executives who care and know television. They exist, and right about now, I wish there were more of them. Maybe they exist at Amazon and Netflix, but if so, I wish their bosses weren’t so disparaging of the work they were (possibly) hired to do.

Every writer I’ve ever spoken to has told stories about executive notes that were dumb — and notes that were brilliant. Dealing with feedback from an executive — even an executive a creator doesn’t much like — can force a writer to better articulate her vision. Probing questions can lead to stronger and clearer choices and even dumb questions can lead to breakthroughs. As Joss Whedon has said, “It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.”

Who is asking questions these days? How smart or dumb are the ideas under consideration? And is anyone listening? As we head into the uncharted waters of peak TV, those are some of the questions I have. 

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What’s Expiring On Netflix In March 2015?

Nothing lasts forever, which means some of your favorite Netflix titles are leaving the site come March. Take this chance to watch the flicks waiting in your queue one last time before they go out of rotation. (If you still haven’t seen “The Graduate,” even though you really keep meaning to, act now.)

This list is tentative and subject to change. HuffPost Entertainment will attempt to keep the list as current as possible.

Movies and Specials
“3 Ninjas: Kick Back”
“Air Bud”
“Anaconda”
“Arachnophobia”
“Brokedown Palace”
“Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams”
“Cool Runnings”
“Desperado”
“Dumb and Dumber”
“Emma”
“Evita”
“Fireproof”
“Freaky Friday”
“Fright Night”
“Girlfight”
“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”
“Jackass: Number Two”
“Lords of Dogtown”
“Old Yeller”
“Ordinary People”
“Out of Time”
“Pretty in Pink”
“Rachel Getting Married”
“Riding in Cars with Boys”
“Robin Hood: Men in Tights”
“RoboCop 2”
“RoboCop 3”
“Saving Silverman”
“Seven”
“Swiss Family Robinson”
“The Baby Sitters Club”
“The Blair Witch Project”
“The Graduate”
“The Possession”
“The Sweetest Thing”
“Troop Beverly Hills”
“Uptown Girls” (March 2)
“The Preacher’s Wife” (March 3)
“The Muppet Movie” (March 5)
“Flubber” (March 11)
“The Grey” (March 12)
“House on Haunted Hill” (March 15)
“Muppet Treasure Island” (March 15)
“The Tale of Despereaux” (March 16)
“Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” (March 22)
“Legends of the Fall” (March 31)

TV Shows
“Adventure Time,” Seasons 1-4 (March 30)
“Ben 10,” Seasons 1-3 (March 30)
“Children’s Hospital,” Seasons 1-2 (March 30)
“Codename: Kids Next Door,” Seasons 4-6 (March 30)
“Cow and Chicken,” Season 2 (March 30)
“Dexter’s Laboratory,” Seasons 3-4 (March 30)
“Dude, What Would Happen?”, Season 2 (March 30)
“Ed, Edd ‘n; Eddy,” Seasons 3-4 (March 30)
“Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Season 2 (March 30)
“Johnny Bravo,” Season 2 (March 30)
“Regular Show,” Seasons 1-4 (March 30)
“Robot Chicken,” Seasons 1-2 (March 30)
“Samurai Jack,” Season 2 (March 30)
“The Grim Adventures of Bill & Mandy,” Seasons 3-4 (March 30)

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Catch These 10 Movies Before They Leave Netflix in 2015

The good news: We are just five short days away from every.single.season of Friends debuting on Netflix. The bad news: The first day of 2015 also marks a mass exodus of nearly 60 movies from…




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Netflix Postpones Launch Of Bill Cosby Comedy Special

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix says it is postponing Bill Cosby’s upcoming standup comedy special.

A spokesperson for the company says it is postponing the launch of “Bill Cosby 77.” This follows accusations that Cosby has sexually assaulted several women.

Cosby has remained silent, and his attorney, John P. Schmitt, issued a statement Sunday saying his client would not dignify “decade-old, discredited” claims of sexual abuse with a response.

The 77-year-old Cosby was never criminally charged in any case.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Adam Sandler To Make 4 New Movies For Netflix

Netflix has taken another huge step into originally content, signing comic/actor Adam Sandler to a four-movie deal that could see the first release as early as next year.

““People love Adam’’s films on Netflix and often watch them again and again,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement released online. “His appeal spans across viewers of all ages — everybody has a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line — not just in the U.S. but all over the world.”

Sandler joked on Twitter and Instagram that he was trying to sign up for Netflix, and signed the four-picture deal instead:

““When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said ‘yes’ for one reason and one reason only…,” Sandler said in a statement released by the company. “Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. Let the streaming begin!!!!””

Variety reports that Sandler’s Happy Madison productions will develop the films with Netflix, and that the first could start streaming in 2015.

Earlier this week, Netflix announced its first original film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend.” That movie is set for release on both Netflix and in select IMAX theaters on Aug. 28, 2015.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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