Netflix Nuances

Looking for something to watch but don’t feel like waiting for a scheduled screening? Deterred by “on-demand” movie prices? Netflix may be just what you’ve been looking for. Especially if you’re like to laugh. With Netflix, you don’t necessarily need to pick a show to get some quick comedy.

Neftlix is currently only available in the United States and Canada. In Taiwan, in order for the Missus and I to have anything to watch, we subscribed to a cable service. It was very affordable, but only offered about four English Channels. It was disheartening to flick through the channels and stumble across a movie like Shrek, only to find that it had been dubbed into Mandarin. There were subtitles, but these were in Simplified Chinese.

Fortunately, Taiwan has no shortage of DVD rental outlets. Until a few years ago, the city we lived in even had several Blockbuster Video stores. Unfortunately, the concept of most movie genres were lost on some store owners. One branch had Die Hard listed as a “Western”. In fact, any movie coming from North America was listed as a “Western”. You can imagine Eastwood’s anger.

Since moving to Canada, we’ve enjoyed a basic satellite TV bundle, but I’m using the word “enjoy” very loosely here. It should not take two and a half hours to watch a one and a half hour movie! There are plenty of DVD rental outlets here also, but many of them charge for one movie what Netflix charges for a month’s subscription.

Since we started using Netflix, we’ve been impressed by the selection of movies and shows available. What is a little strange is how these are categorized. While Netflix has avoided the pitfalls of Taiwan’s Blockbuster Video outlets, the genres created are a little unorthodox.

Also, not all items listed under a particular genre necessarily fit.

An interesting feature is that Netflix recommends similar shows to the ones you’ve previously watched. For example, if you watched “Before the Dinosaurs: Walking with Monsters”, Netflix will recommend the following:

Or, if you watched River Monsters, Netflix will recommend the following:

You may be wondering what Kitchen Nightmares and River Monsters have in common. The logic behind the recommendation is as follows:

Much of the content available on Netflix is available with subtitles. The closed captioning is very thorough, and takes into account the fact that not only people have something to say.

Netflix is not perfect, but it is a great service and excellent value-for-money. Plus, in addition to the selection of comedies it has to offer, you may even get a chuckle from the service itself.

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