America’s problematic addiction

The failings of Netflix

Riley Dudley, Columnist

Since its launch in 1998, Netflix has completely changed the face of Hollywood

Since its inception in 1998, Netflix has evolved from the world’s first online DVD rental store to an online streaming service that has taken Hollywood by a storm. No longer do people have to go to the movie theater or have cable to see award-winning films like Roma or Orange is the New Black. Instead, they can simply pull out their computer or phone and watch at home or out in public. This has turned Netflix into the largest streaming service around the world today, and made it a phenomenon that has completely changed the concept of film and TV in popular culture.

I personally love Netflix, and use it regularly to watch the incredible films and TV shows that it produces. Some of my favorites, like The Haunting of Hill House and Stranger Things are Netflix originals, and I love being able to access this content without paying much money. Adding in the fact that Netflix also provides access to films and TV shows produced by outside studios like The Silence of the Lambs or Sherlock, the steaming service is far and away one of the best things for movie lovers today.

Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s most popular TV shows and is beloved by many across the nation

However, while millions of people around the world like me love the ease and good quality that comes with a Netflix subscription, Hollywood insiders, some critics, and theater owners across America hate what the streaming service has done to the industry. Netflix has changed the game in ways that hurt many, and has rocked the industry to a possible breaking point.

First off, many have criticized Netflix for taking the experience out of watching a movie. Going to a movie theater is a unique experience that has defined the industry since its birth. Going to the theater, getting a big bag of popcorn, and watching a brand new movie on a massive screen is a classic American experience that is becoming rarer and rarer in the age of Netflix and other screening services. People are missing out on the nostalgia of going to the local movie theater to see new releases, and instead watch movies at their desk in school. Beyond this, theater owners and workers are losing profit, and movie theaters are starting to go out of business.

13 Reasons Why is another of Netflix’s most popular shows, but it drew sharp criticism upon its release for its depiction of suicide, sexual assault, and other mature themes

Netflix has also caused much public outcry due to the graphic content that it allows. Traditional forms of media, like cable or films released in theaters, can be graphic, but not to the extremes that streaming services allow. Take the example of 13 Reasons Why, one of the most popular shows that is currently on Netflix. The show is targeted at high schoolers, and has been criticized for its graphic content. The basic premise of of the show, of a girl blaming other students for her suicide, is extremely problematic at best, and has caused outcry among mental health professionals at the way it handles serious issues. However, due to the fact that it was released on Netflix, the extreme graphic content of the show was allowed to reach millions of homes across the nation. Other Netflix shows and movies, like You and Insatiable, have been criticized for normalizing violence against women and fat-shaming, allowing horrible themes and ideas to reach people that would otherwise not have had access to them.

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To be clear, I personally love Netflix. I use it all of the time. However, I, along with the rest of America and people across the world, need to recognize the potential downsides of using the streaming service and push back against them. We all need to stop supporting Netflix productions like 13 Reasons Why in order to stop such toxic films and TV shows from being produced, and everyone needs to make it a priority to support their local movie theaters and keep the industry alive. Netflix has become an integral part of our culture, but we need to ensure that the negative consequences of its use are minimized.