The new Lost in Space is fantastic, every season. It is improved by its similarities and its differences from the original.
Yeah, I suspect Netflix have really bad data (how could they not, given the limitations?) about what drives subscription and retention, and they’ve been slavishly (by all accounts) following the direction of algorithms that are mostly nonsense. Everything was new, no one knew what they were doing, but they still wanted the certainties that exist in broadcast tv, so they made something up and stuck to it.
Well, up until now, anyways, with Hulu and Amazon, etc. following the same playbook. TV insiders described the belief as: “new shows bring in new subscribers, keeping the shows has rapidly diminishing returns for retaining audiences.” The obvious implication of that belief was that you would be better off feverishly creating new shows but you didn’t have to keep them around.
I suspect Netflix could dismiss this as the strategy of a streamer without enough content (which was true for HBO), and it’ll be interesting to see whether Disney/HBO will rely on back catalog content for their long-running shows moving forward. Doesn’t seem like Disney’s Marvel shows, for example, were ever intended to run for multiple seasons, mostly. (Of course, they have a different dynamic there, where they’re just trying to fill in between the movies, rather than build their own IPs, which is also true to some degree for their Star Wars and other franchise stuff, too.)
It’s unclear if this is a new strategy or it just indicates Witcher is one of the new tent-pole shows that they allow to run for more than three seasons - something they’ve always had a few of. (Especially with their other such shows ending soon, e.g. Stranger Things.)
It’ll be interesting to see where they do with that - Netflix licensed out Stranger Things for a few (really cheap) games (that couldn’t have done very well), and now they themselves are getting into games. Properties like the Witcher, on the other hand, don’t lend themselves to games, because… yeah. (And, in fact, they’re piggy-backing on the success of the games rather than the stories themselves.) And how does “ancillary media” work in streaming when you’re just creating other shows on the same service. (And now I’m also thinking of “Jupiter’s Legacy,” where they’re creating a bunch of spin-offs, but still canceling the show itself after one, highly incomplete, season.)
That’s the thing I’m not so sure of. Both have released a fraction of the number of shows, with a higher proportion of them making it past season one. And Amazon even matches Netflix’s longest run number at 7 seasons on at least one show.
I think the thing there is that both Hulu and Amazon have fewer shows, and fewer successes. There’s certainly a lot fewer “why the fuck would they cancel that” moments, cause there’s just fewer things that garner enough attention for it.
Amazon in particular is widely reported to be incredibly dissatisfied the quality of shows they’ve managed to get out, with Bezos apparently personally displeased with their lack of prestige shows and poor over all reaction from critics.
So I don’t know that either is cancelling shows because of odd metrics or assumptions that new is better. So much as cancelling shows cause they ain’t got enough shows worth keeping.
The other thing is that this is going on everywhere. Not just streamers. There are huge numbers of shows being greenlit these days. It’s just that cable and broadcast networks operating on a fixed amount of screen time. Tend to just never show the ones that aren’t worth it.
Well for one I’m talking HBO’s long standing strategy from before streaming was ever on the table. And as they moved into streaming it helped them avoid the problem. They had a small catalog sure, compared to all of Warner Media. But it was loaded with legendary shows and lot of it was quite long running. So subscribing to HBOWhateverthefuckitwas wasn’t just getting access to Game of Thrones episodes or once there was original material something like Doom Patrol.
It was the Sopranos, Sex in the City, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, 30 years of well regarded documentary material, major pieces of comedy history.
But I think more importantly. Netflix has no back catalog. They first stepped into producing their own content in response to major media companies cutting back on deals for carrying their back material. First with network and cable series to bolster Hulu when it was launched as the broadcast network’s big alternative. Then progressing to films.
As for the Marvel shows, that may have more to do with internal shit at Marvel. Under Perlmutter Marvel TV was pretty poorly managed. And the Netflix series were cancelled as part of general pull out for Disney from the platform. They cut ties, the relationship wasn’t just around those Marvel shows. But for the Marvel and Star Wars films and material as well as Disney animated pictures. Which have been disappearing as deals expire.
See even the “tent pole series” and “allows” kinda doesn’t hit it. Of their two longest running series (both with 7 seasons), one is Grace and Frankie. Not exactly at the heart of the zeitgeist. The other, Orange is The New Black suffered from the same seasonal delays and late renewals as everything else. 2nd place, at 6 seasons, Nailed It! still gets a lot of that linger on it and lack of info if host Nicole Beyer is to be believed (I listed to a podcast or two where she appears).
I dunno that it’s really bad data. I think it’s the wrong data and they’re misinterpreting it, or applying it wrong.
Like with the sitcoms I mentioned. Everyone I know watches these big in syndication sitcoms the same way. Basically like a noise machine. It’s on in the background while they do laundry, home work, whatever. And they’re picking a favorite, older show precisely because they don’t need to pay attention. I’ve never met too many people who subscribe to anything to get access to them. They just pick a different show when that stuff moves around.
But if you’re Netflix, narrowly judging things from what the app tells you. What you’re seeing is people watching whole episodes, multiple episodes in a row. Watching these shows repeatedly, binging them for hours. That all looks like engagement. And then you spend millions in bidding wars over access to Big Bang Theory for two years.
I don’t think their algorithm knows the difference between laundry and active watching.
Similar looking the wrong way problem in how Netflix stubbornly sticks to dropping whole or half seasons all at once. Despite the entire rest of the industry shifting towards weekly. That probably looks real good in their metrics.
But Witcher released around the same time as Mandalorian. Mandalorian was weekly and Witcher dropped all at once, right towards the end of Mandalorian.
Look outside Netflix? Witcher caught a lot of press coverage and online discussion for around a week after it released. Mandalorian dominated the same, escalating from when it first dropped for it’s entire run. And months afterwards. Which one of those would have the bigger impact on subscriptions?
As this show debuted right around the time Star Trek Discovery was on Netflix (outside of the US), it was a relief to be able to just switch to a sci-fi space show for my pre-teens and avoid the themes of violent and sexual abuse and language I had hoped they won’t get desensitized to.
At least, that was the first season of Lost in Space. Our housemate took her Netflix subscription with her, and we never signed up for our own.
I actually appreciated the attempt at an accurate depiction of narcissistic sociopaths at a somewhat non-caricatured level that kids could understand.
It hit home as our family had freshly become aware of having been under years of narcissistic abuse.
She’s awful, but it’s faithful to the original series
I always thought James Callis as “Baltar” on the reboot Battlestar Galactica owed more to Dr Smith than to his original
Sure, and that’s what any reasonable but ruthless person would have done: killed dr smith because she’s a psycho in an unforgiving and relentlessly dangerous setting. However despite the horrible things she’s done they’re up to what three times now that she’s saved either the whole family’s life or at least one members life?
I was sort of kidding. I don’t condone murder. I don’t even support capital punishment. She’s an interesting character, and I appreciate Posey’s performance and Smith’s role in the drama; but I call characters like that “Gilligans” – if they got rid of them, many, if not most, of the show’s problems would be solved.
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