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The killer feature I wish Netflix would add that could be a game-changer

Published Mar 12th, 2020 11:39PM EDT
What’s new on Netflix
Image: Olly Curtis/Future/Shutterstock

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  • Netflix is an absolutely indispensable entertainment option for me these days — and, I suspect, for many of you in light of the spread of the coronavirus which is forcing a growing number of people to self-quarantine and practice social distancing. The boredom from staying at home is going to get old pretty quick, and binge-watching your favorite Netflix series is one way to pass the time.
  • I do have one suggestion of a killer new feature I wish the streamer would add: More proactive descriptions about what the status is for all the shows you love that you’re waiting on right now. This one is in production, that one is delayed, whatever — something concrete so I didn’t have to actively scour the web constantly to figure out what’s going on with my shows.
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With all of the self-quarantining going on at the moment in response to the inexorable spread of the coronavirus, not to mention people changing up their daily patterns and hunkering down away from crowds and public spaces, it doesn’t take a fortune-teller to predict there’s going to be a lot more streaming and Netflix-and-chilling in the days and weeks to come as many of us turn into temporary homebodies.

If you follow any of Netflix’s various social media accounts, you may have seen the streamer gently trying to prod everyone to do exactly that by offering not-so-subtle reminders of the massive library of content available to binge via the service. Personally, I’ve also noticed an uptick in those reminder emails that Netflix sends out, reminding me I’ve been a laggard in getting caught up on the various series in my library. “Don’t forget to finish The Good Place” reads the subject line of an email I got from Netflix just today, in fact. I know some of you get annoyed by this kind of thing, but I don’t mind it too much. One request I do have of the streamer, however, regards the addition of a new feature along these same lines that I think could be a game-changer, would hook me even more deeply on the service, and would be especially useful right now when you’ve got a ton of viewers who are going to be settling in for no doubt multiple binge sessions over the coming days.

It’s sort of an extension of these gentle nudges from the streamer, reminding you of what it is currently in its content inventory:

That’s great and plenty helpful for many people. At the same time, another great thing about Netflix is the way it’s introduced me to so many series I just wouldn’t have been able to come into contact with otherwise. Some of my favorites right now are gritty foreign crime dramas, like Suburra and Gomorrah — two utterly fantastic Italian series that hooked me like few series I’ve checked out recently.

Netflix’s description of Gomorrah reads as follows: “Mafia activity in Naples is at the center of this series, which focuses on internal struggles that follow after the head of a family is imprisoned.” Here’s a trailer for the series, which at least one review has described as Italy’s answer to Breaking Bad:

Here’s the thing, though. There are two seasons currently available on Netflix in the US, and I have been waiting … and waiting … and waiting … for Season 3.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to turn into something of a mini-detective and hunt down details for all my favorite shows on Netflix proactively and keep track myself of when they’re all either coming back or not. Some quick web sleuthing has revealed that troubles with the film’s distributor (the Weinstein Co.) seem to be the reason for the Season 3 holdup of Gomorrah. Joy.

Netflix, to be fair, is already doing this, at least to some degree. Take the new season of Terrace House, the Japanese reality show that’s taken the US by storm (it’s huge here, just take my word for it). Netflix is increasingly leaving helpful reminders on your shows to let you know when they’ll be back — albeit once that date is very close.

Here, for example, is the reminder you see in white on the title page for Terrace House currently:

Image source: Netflix

That’s what I want to see, just more of it. I’d even be fine with bare details, a la the kind of thing you see when you look up movies on IMDb which might simply flag a title as “in post-production,” or something to that effect.

Heck, if anyone at Netflix is reading this, I’ll even be satisfied with simply knowing the status of the new seasons of Suburra and Gomorrah. My email is at the top of this post.

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.