Is Netflix the New TV? Not Really

In 1997, Netflix wasn’t formed to disrupt our TV habits, it was formed to support them.

It launched with a library of 925 DVDs. The main thing that separated it from something like Blockbuster (and what eventually ended up allowing Netflix to trump them) is the monthly subscription. All-you-can-eat content, with a much wider selection than traditional TV or cinema.

Netflix Logos

By 2000, Netflix had already declined an acquisition offer of $50 million from a terrified Blockbuster, and then went on to make DVD rentals obsolete with a revolutionary on-demand platform and a discovery algorithm within the space of 6 years.

Using similar tactics to YouTube, and emerging within the same year, Netflix represents the YouTube-ization of television.…   [continue reading]

The Trap Door

Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions, where nobody goes, stands an ancient castle. Deep within this dank and uninviting place lives Berk, overworked servant of “the thing upstairs”.  But that’s nothing compared to the horrors that lurk beneath the trap door, for there is always something down there, in the dark, waiting to come out…

There are some things from our childhoods that just stick with us.  The majority of things are simply forgotten about; nothing more than fleeting and colourful distractions for various Sunday mornings.  Other things are remembered well, but for all the wrong reasons.  The Trap Door is something that has absolutely endured.  …   [continue reading]

Red Dwarf

For any Englishman (or indeed, woman) born in the early nineties, Red Dwarf was a rite of passage difficult to avoid.  It’s not really something you’d want to avoid either since, as soon as you get comfortable in the deserted corridors and well acquainted with the cast, it’s so casually entertaining.  Red Dwarf is one of those British comedies that’s very rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but endearingly witty, observant and referential.  An episode may only contain a handful of laughs, but the series as a whole is a remarkably minimalist perspective on the potential silliness of space travel.

Inspired by Blade Runner and kept afloat by the cliches that science fiction thrives off, Red Dwarf is an amazingly familiar affair in its setting until you realise that it has as much in common with The Royle Family as it does Star Trek.  …   [continue reading]

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [1981 Series]

In case readers didn’t notice this being posted in the TV section for a SundaySeries hashtag, I just want to make this absolutely clear: I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE AWFUL 2005 MOVIE.  Instead, this week’s television spotlight comes in the form of 1981’s pitch-perfect version of the tale – itself the second adaptation following the initial BBC radio series and the eventual book.  This alone shows how many different interlocking takes there are on the essential story, but what’s unique about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is how each of them (save the film I’ll make no further mention of) were brought into existence under the core leadership of its creator, Douglas Adams.…   [continue reading]