Sunny days are finally here – not on Netflix, though, as the Big Red Streaming Monolith recently announced their list of departures for June.
While new summer blockbusters come out in theaters, old summer blockbusters like "World War Z" will retreat to ... somewhere else. (Probably Paramount+, if I had to guess.) The Oscar favorites "Philomena" and "Jerry Maguire" will get shown the door, along with rom-com classic "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." And I implore you to check out the extraordinarily charming documentary "Bathtubs Over Broadway" on Netflix while you still can.
So yeah, Netflix is losing a lot – but the demise that really hurts is the overall industry wide promise of the streaming entertainment revolution.
Streaming, and Netflix, began with such promise: the idea of watching just about everything out there, even without commercials. There was a feeling that everything was suddenly at your fingertip – all while it gave creative minds free reign to development new shows and movies away from the franchise-centric minds of traditional Hollywood. It's had its fair share of issues over the years, from quality control with their originals to price hikes to the increased silo-ization of shows under their individual studios' respective services – but that promise of everything everywhere all at once was still somewhat there.
Now that's pretty much gone. Streamers across the board have discovered that they don't actually make much money, at least if you're going to spend money to make the level of content audiences now expect – and now Wall Street's giving them side-eye because, surprise, non-stop infinite financial growth exists in the same realm as unicorns, fairies and Minnesota Vikings Super Bowls. Meanwhile, the economics of streaming have blown up how the actual artists make a basic living in this industry, which is part of why the Writers Guilds are striking – and the actors and directors may not be far behind.
To add to that, Netflix is now ditching its DVD rental selection, in favor of focusing on its significantly smaller and less diverse virtual collection – so the company is going to have less to offer, across the board. And while we're on the topic of the value of physical media, Disney+ and Hulu have joined HBO Max (pardon me, it's just Max now ... for some reason) in deleting many of its original shows and movies off the service. I (perhaps naively) assume they'll pop up somewhere else soon, licensed out to other streamers or to free ad-based VOD services like Tubi or Pluto, to make some bonus money – but for now, they've just vanished, artists hard work and passion thrown down a memory hole. And if you think Netflix won't join them sooner than later to save bandwidth as well money going artists, well, do I have the Netflix Original anthology "Homemade" to show you because – oh wait, no, I can't because it's been disappeared off the service.
The initial dream of Netflix and streaming was maybe always a lie – the collections were never as wide-ranging as they felt. But the idealism seemed real, a library of everything right there plus new creative works coming in a stready stream, able to target niche audiences. Sure, old movies and shows were never safe; now even the newest aren't – and there's no physical safety net anymore to stop from them from vaporizing into pop cultural dust. But that's OK; it's all been worth it so that all these streaming services can bundle together and create Cable 2.0 But Now Without Solid Revenue.
Depressed? Well watch "Bathtubs Over Broadway" maybe to cheer yourself – or maybe one of these other movies or TV shows ... while you still can.
"Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On" season 1
"Bathtubs Over Broadway"
"Marlon" seasons 1-2
"The Mole" seasons 3-4
"Cold Case Files" season 1
"Shooter" seasons 1-3
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
"Chappelle's Show" seasons 1-2
"The Garfield Show" seasons 1-2
"How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days"
"Puss in Boots"
"Resident Evil: Afterlife"
"Resident Evil: Apocalypse"
"The Taking of Pelham 123"
"World War Z"
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.