After years of resisting I finally gave in and decided to give Netflix a go. It was a slightly frustrating but always entertaining experience so I thought I would outline some of the factors that contributed to my final decision of keeping my subscription after the free trial, but most importantly provide tips on getting the most out of your Netflix subscription.
1. Treat it like a restaurant. Use the main menu only as a guide. Request something and you might just get it.
Remember you are the one paying for a service therefore you should get your money’s worth. For weeks I stuck to what Netflix had to offer on its main homepage which offered a limited amount choice. The misleading yet hilarious recommendations didn’t help either (“Because you watched Coming to America we recommend Narcos and Waterworld”). Netflix is a digital video store, a more convenient Blockbuster if you will, so they are going to put the most appealing films at the front of the store and shove other titles in the back. In the dark crevices of Netflix you can find a gem or two. Luckily a quick search on Google will show many blogs and sites that regularly update what Netflix have added to their catalogue and many gems can be found using the browsing option and typing in the title.
2. Go through all the genres as they are not what they appear to be.
Apart from re-inventing the way we watch films, Netflix also appears to be changing the way we define films especially regarding genres. They tend to not categorise a film by one of its main elements but rather any element that it includes. For example if you go through the Crime category you will find the hard-hitting documentary Making A Murderer and action-comedy sequel 22 Jump Street and although both do deal with crime, it is in completely different ways. For the best results go through every genre carefully. Chances are you may find a film you were not expecting to appear in a particular category and occasionally it’s a nice surprise.
3. Be prepared for it to destroy your film attention span
Although many of us take this for granted but in this time of being able to watch just anything whenever and however you want, going to the cinema is an act of dedication. You sit down in a dark room with people you do not know and spend money on something that may or may not be worth all the effort for the average amount of time of ninety minutes. It’s a real commitment. Netflix on the other hand is like cinema speed dating, if you are not instantly impressed you can just stop everything and move on. As cool as that may sound, it can also be a problem and alter the way you watch films and more importantly how much time you are willing to invest in them. To be honest there is nothing you can really do about this but try to treat it like your own cinema and stick with every film or TV show until the very end.
4. Don’t trust the rating system
We all know how most rating systems work on the internet. People don’t take them seriously and believe rating a film is meaningless. Be aware of Netflix ratings as most subscribers are rather forgiving when it comes to some of the most notorious crimes against cinema. For example, Snatch has 4 stars while the infamous Spice World: The Movie has 2.5 stars. That means in terms of quality Spice World is at least half the film Snatch is. Not even the Spice Girls would agree with that.
5. Picking a film to watch tends to be more exciting than the film you actually end up watching
Imagine if you will somebody laying out chocolate bars on a table explaining you can have as many as you wish for as little as £5.99 a month. You get yourself into such a hysterical state about the many choices that ultimately what you choose just never quite lives up to the excitement you initially had. However, fear not because every now and then you get lucky take a risk and pick a chocolate you’ve never had before and instantly it becomes your favourite. Imagine Netflix in that way and you’ll get the idea but instead of chocolate its films/TV Shows and instead of Spice World its acid.
6. Don’t trust the plot summaries
If you want to get a better idea about a film you are not sure about go to IMDB as they have more reliable synopses.
7. Create your own Netflix
You do have an option of adding films to a watch list and it is highly recommended that you use it. Not only will it make picking a film/programme much easier but you will feel more in control of what the service has to offer and not have to sit through so much drivel to get to the good stuff. Almost like your own personal collection which brings me to my next point.
8. Use Netflix to refine your personal film collection
If you still buy DVDs/Blu-Rays, use it as a reference point to refine your personal collection. Ever wondered if a random film starring that person from a TV series you watched occasionally was any good? Netflix is the place to find out whether or not that film is any good and worth buying.