Popular on Netflix

The pleasures and perils of our favorite streaming service

December 3, 2012

Hi! This was going to be a post answering a question I’ve had for a long time. I was going to investigate and make calls and have some computer savvy person decode algorithms but I have school and a job and I JUST COULDN’T MAKE IT HAPPEN, OKAY?! Forgive me. Kewpie doll to the person who figures this out.

Is the “Popular on Netflix” row a lie?

Always asking the important questions. I’ll be in the solar, bring me my Nobel when it arrives.

Seriously, though, Netflix is very near and dear to my heart. CEO Reed Hastings’s foibles with the separate DVD service Qwikster came off to me like the japes of a loveable uncle. My good friends Party Down, The League, Freeks and Geeks and The IT Crowd had a hearty laugh about it when I told them. But I’ve noticed that those friends, those shows I’ve watched time and again, have been popping up in a new row, called “Popular on Netflix.” All great shows, to be sure, but Father Ted? That’s pretty obscure for an American audience. I think some of my pals from recently watched are getting lost and ending up labeled “popular” for mysterious reasons. (Seriously, Netflix, you have my loyalty already, you don’t need to play mind games to manipulate me. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it!)

Searching for an answer to this question turned up several more questions, and some salient points I’d like to make while I have the floor.

Those categories are hilariously specific.
Mine currently include Dark Military 20th Century Period Pieces, Goofy Sports Late Night Comedies, and Quirky Coming-of-Age Bloody Historical Dramas.

Clearing your history
What are people watching on there that is so embarrassing? There is a wealth of information online about clearing out your recently watched archive. People are really concerned about this. Too bad there’s no incognito Netflix mode.

Netflix knows you’re gay. Maybe one day it’ll figure out you’re gay before you do. These are dark times.

About the Author

Kathryn Doyle

Kathryn Doyle recently graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, having majored in biology and English. Undergraduate studies led her to a small field research station in Mexico for a few months in pursuit of whales and to a summer at Universita Ca’Foscari in Venice, Italy, in the more relaxing pursuit of travel writing. She is happy to let life take her back to New York, her home state, and to SHERP. @doyleschmoyle


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