Perhaps DVR services spawned this phenomenon when they allowed users to record several episodes of the same show, sit down and catch upon all of them at once. It allows themes, characters, and ideas to be digested more easily.
Shows that aired in the past on broadcast TV and now exist on Netflix have completely new audiences and fan bases. Sometimes these newfound audiences even bring shows back from the grave. For example, “Dead Like Me” was a hit, way after it was aired, because every single episode was available on Netflix. The show had been cancelled, but with the push from passionate Netflixians, they created a movie for closure.
“Arrested Development” has a similar story. The show was cancelled, but gained such a following on Netflix, they tried for years to bring it back. Rumors kept being spread about continuing the series or creating a movie. Eventually, Netflix took the issue into their own hands and created a nonlinear and disjointed semi-original series that broke the barriers of what a TV show even is and introduced a whole new way of thinking.
Netflix had success with the original series “House of Cards” which was also released as 13 episodes all at once, but it maintained that linear TV feel we are so used to. But, being released all at once is what makes the nonlinear approach of “Arrested Development” so successful.
Tero Kuittinen said it best in his article, Netflix, Hulu, and the future of American Television, “Netflix has exploded the old broadcast television format. The vistas this opens for a new series are endless. Entire 10-episode cycles can be created in a way that makes them far more elaborate and tightly plotted than anything network television can handle. A series can include a 12-minute episode consisting of a single character study followed by an 80-minute episode that is a miniature road movie. Four back-to-back episodes can portray a single event from four points of view, which is something that would be impossible if the viewing is spread over a one-month period. This new level of creativity is bound to attract top-level talent to a unique genre of television.”
This may be by far one of the more interesting concepts to hit TV and film in a long time. It’s experimental, intelligent and busting through barriers. I can’t wait to witness [and help create] the outcome. I can only imagine the amount of innovation advertisers will need to come up with in order to get around the lack of commercial space on these private platforms. One thing that comes to mind is a better way of seamlessly integrating products within shows like Ford did with “Fringe.”
Natasha Guimond, Creative Intern