TIME Television

What Netflix Thinks Your Mother Wants to Watch

Scandal
Ron Tom / ABC

The streaming service thinks it's a good idea to celebrate Mom with crisis managers and convicts

Think Mother’s Day is a time for flowers, cards and breakfast in bed?

Netflix disagrees.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, which falls on May 11 in the U.S. this year, the streaming-video service has put together what their monthly new-titles announcement calls “a special mother’s day treat all month long,” and it’s not what you’d expect: Damages, Prison Break, Luther, The Fall, and Season 3 of Scandal. (The first four are available now; Scandal comes online May 17.)

That’s right: Netflix thinks moms would like to celebrate their momness with a legal thriller, a prison thriller, two British crime dramas and a political thriller. They’re surprising choices for the holiday — Mother’s Day usually gets a pastel color palette, whereas every one of those shows is advertised using stark red or white text on a dark background.

But Netflix may be onto something. The company has a proprietary personalization algorithm that can predict what we like to watch based on all the data they’ve been collecting on our viewing habits. They already know whether we like “Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life” or “Foreign Satanic Stories from the 1980s,” so why wouldn’t they know that mothers like thrillers? And there’s other science that backs up the moms and murder theory: a 2010 study out of the University of Illinois found that when it comes to violent stories (nonfiction ones, in the case of the study), women prefer tales of crime and men prefer tales of war.

Recommending darker choices as “titles for her” is a refreshing change amongst the holiday’s goopier offerings — plus, moms who prefer the opposite end of the spectrum still have plenty to choose from anyway, and not just because Netflix has all four titles in the Say Yes to the Dress franchise.

Here are some of the other titles they’re adding this month:

  • Dear Mr. Watterson, a doc about Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson (available May 18)
  • Action flicks like Kill Bill (1 and 2), Gladiator and Star Trek Into Darkness (available May 1, 1, 1 and 17, respectively)
  • The freaky Escape From Tomorrow, which was surreptitiously shot at Disneyland (available May 27)
  • A sextet of 007s: Goldfinger, A View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die, Never Say Never Again and You Only Live Twice (available May 1)
  • American classics like Forrest Gump and The Breakfast Club (both available May 1)
  • A variety of Godzilla incarnations, starting May 1, to mark the month that the latest Godzilla arrives in theaters
  • The nominees for the limited-release “outstanding film” category at the GLAAD Awards

And if your mom’s favorite show or movie is still not available, you can give her the gift of knowing that the situation may well be temporary, as Netflix’s catalog is always changing.

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