Netflix came onto the scene with its first major original programs—House of Cards and Orange is the New Black—only three years ago, in 2013. And yet the streaming service seems to have effectively redefined what “television” is—and not for the better.
Many of Netflix’s shows are very good, and yet most, thanks to the streaming service’s apparent desire to build its library over all other goals, run too long, either extending past the natural endpoint of their story (like House of Cards) or dithering around with strong seasons punctuated by time-killing (like Orange is the New Black).
Worse still, it’s impossible to discuss Netflix series without potentially spoiling your fellow viewer, given the service’s manner of dropping entire seasons at once and allowing the viewer to move through at his or her own pace. As a result, the Netflix shows that aren’t very good, like Bloodline or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, get overrated because a critical consensus isn’t allowed to emerge; those that are good, like Orange is the New Black season 4, see their potential impact blunted. TV is meant to spark real conversations; Netflix shows, thanks to their delivery method and their endless sprawl, spark nothing but the impulse to press “play” on the next episode.