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Netflix is starting to feel less essential, thanks to one garbage release after another

Published May 7th, 2024 3:37PM EDT
Unfrosted on Netflix
Image: John P. Johnson/Netflix

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Being the biggest streamer obviously means Netflix has the most of everything. The most subscribers. The most expansive selection of content to watch — and, by definition, the most garbage releases.

I don’t know about you, but Netflix has never felt as inessential to me as it has for much of the recent past. Just take a look, for example, at what’s currently #1 in the US. On the film side, we have Jerry Seinfeld’s embarrassing and disastrous Pop-Tart movie, Unfrosted. Seinfeld made headlines recently for bemoaning the idea that wokeness had effectively killed off sharp comedy, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing remotely funny, interesting, or worthwhile about Unfrosted.

On the TV side, the #1 title there at the moment is somehow a roast of Tom Brady, which in turn is beating out a list of other yawners like a Katt Williams standup special and Netflix’s dud of a Tom Wolfe adaptation, A Man in Full. Beyond that, to round out today’s US Top 10 TV list, we’re looking at Netflix releases including a Spanish crime documentary, a John Mulaney special, John Mulaney on Dave Letterman’s show, and that bleak Baby Reindeer series that everyone is still losing their minds over right now.

I can’t tell you the last Netflix release I actually enjoyed, where I felt watching whatever it was ended up feeling like time well spent. Whereas I can point to one title after another from a streamer like, say, Apple TV+ that I loved, that felt worth my time, and that I would even watch again (titles like Slow Horses, Tehran, Ted Lasso, Acapulco, Drops of God, Pachinko, and that’s just off the top of my head).

Part of me wonders if the Netflix recommendation engine is getting worse, such that I’m getting an increasing amount of content pushed at me that I don’t care about. Of course, the vicious cycle there is that the more that happens, the less I use the service, and the less useful the recommendation will be.

In terms of Netflix’s upcoming release slate, one of the few titles that looks even remotely interesting is the quirky Bodkin, about a team of podcasters investigating a mystery in a charming Irish village. But in terms of the duds, though, look for those to keep coming a mile a minute for the foreseeable future (another forgettable Jennifer Lopez movie, anyone?). And I know I’m not alone in feeling like the chopped-up rollouts for Netflix’s few good releases are annoying as heck. Bridgerton, for example, is back this month and split into two parts, with the second half coming in June.

Cobra Kai‘s sixth season, though, will be split into three parts.

I’m not a picky subscriber; seriously, I’m not. When I open the Netflix app, I expect to find something good to watch. It’s that simple. Lately, though, I’ve been striking out and having to jump over to one of Netflix’s rivals instead. Repeating that pattern enough times will eventually have me questioning why I’m still a subscriber at all.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.