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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Netflix now feels like it’s “actively stealing my time.” I can hardly remember which cancellation I was talking about at the time, given that there have been so many, but I think it was 1899, the new show from the creators of Dark, which, like Dark- is created as part of 3 season bow.

Naturally, it was canceled after one season because it didn’t attract enough viewers or enough people couldn’t finish all the episodes in a certain amount of time.

But what’s happened now is that it’s happened so often with so many shows that Netflix has created a self-sustaining loophole with lots of series that could potentially be valuable catalog additions.

The idea is that since you to know that Netflix cancels so many shows after a season or two, ending them on a cliffhanger and leaving their story unfinished, it’s almost not worth investing in a show until it’s over and you know it’s going to have a coherent ending and a wrap-up bow:

So you stop watching new shows, even ones you might otherwise be interested in, because you’re afraid Netflix will cancel them. Enough people do it and surprise, there is little viewing. And the show ends up being cancelled. The loop is closed and reinforced because now there is another example given that even causes more people should be careful next time. And now we’ve reached a point where unless a series is a record-breaking megahit (Wednesday) or an established super-franchise (Stranger Things), a second or third season doesn’t seem like a coin, but more like a 10. 20% shot at best.

Netflix’s cancellation policy has informed its viewers that if you want a show you like to be renewed, you must watch it immediately, you must tell all your friends to watch it immediately, and you must finish all episodes within a short period of time. Anything less will result in a likely cancellation, the problem of course is that it goes against the whole promise of a streaming service like Netflix. The basic concept of on-demand streaming was that you could watch what you wanted, when you wanted. But now the series isn’t alone in its opening weekend option seems almost a must-have so that negative data doesn’t reflect badly on an otherwise likable show.

Something is broken with this model. It’s now a system where creators have to be afraid to create a series that dares to end on a cliffhanger or save anything for future seasons so that their story is left unfinished forever. And viewers are afraid to commit to any show that hasn’t aired in its entirety, lest they spend 10-30 hours on something that ends up unresolved, which has happened dozens and dozens of times, creating a massive “show graveyard” on Netflix. minefield viewers will be discovering for years (I just had a friend text me angrily after learning that Warrior Nun was canceled after the first two seasons, which she loved). This will happen countless times with millions of current and future subscribers.

Netflix should control this. I don’t think even they understand what this is doing to their brand or how they are conditioning their own viewer base to constant negative reinforcement like a behaviorally insane experiment.

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