Features and Columns · Movies

Is It Ever Too Late to Discover Something on Netflix?

By  · Published on July 26th, 2016

Dear FSR

Is It Ever Too Late To Discover Something On Netflix?

Am I behind the curve or does the curve even exist?

At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

With so much original programming like BoJack Horseman and Stranger Things coming to streaming, sometimes it’s a tough pick between staying modern and going back to find what I’ve missed. Regardless of what I skip, I still feel like I’m missing out. Should I bother catching up on old shows or stick to the newest ones I can? When is it too late to “discover” a show on Netflix?


Analysis Paralysis in Dallas

Dear APD,

While it may feel overwhelming to tackle, it’s a good thing to have so much choice. The fact that you’re already aware that the myth of being “caught up” is impossible is a good sign. It should be liberating rather than frightening. So much has been produced and will continue to be produced that you’ll never see it all. Not even close. So you’ve got the ability to seek out what you enjoy, regardless of its timeliness. That’s the advantage that video recording, and now streaming, has given us.

In 2015, Netflix gave us 450 hours of original content. This year, it’s planned to tack on an additional 600. That’s twenty-five straight days of binge-watching over a year. If this trend keeps increasing, not only will it be socially unfeasible to keep the facade of being “caught up” alive, it’ll be temporally impossible. On the other hand, Netflix’s press site notes that their strategy is shifting from pure collection to curation. That means they won’t have twenty bicycling docs if nineteen take away from the best one. So original content will continue to grow, but the older movies and TV will be whittled away as their curation team finds the cream of the crop. Or at least the most feasible crop worth paying to host.

But when is it too late to approach a show? My verdict is never as long as you have an interest. If Colombo seems cool to you or you wish you had a better understanding of the comic influences that came from M*A*S*H, immerse yourself. In this internet age, we’re all so closely linked that no matter your predilection or current obsession, you’ll unavoidably find yourself surrounded by friendly fans. Hashtags, gifs, and the continued cycle of references in media mean that quality is always relevant and questionable quality is worth reintroducing to the world, especially through criticism.

When talking about modern stuff, stuff hot off the presses, unless you’re willing to cover your digital ears and sing to yourself until the memes work through everyone’s systems, I’d watch it as close as you can to the air date. It’s easier to be spoiled now than ever and using TV as water cooler fodder is a great American tradition. While it’s not too late to go see House of Cards season one, you won’t have any heated discussions with a co-worker now the same way you would’ve if you’d both seen it the same weekend.

I guess what I’m saying is: don’t sweat it, watch what you want. No matter when you see something, technology has flattened time and experience so that you can find someone to relate to you. It’s an exciting and understandably intimidating prospect, but that should do nothing but encourage you.

Binge all you can,


Do you have a question for FSR? Tweet us with the hashtag #DearFSR, ask in the comments, use our member’s only chat, or e-mail us at [email protected].

We’ll be back answering your questions every Tuesday!

Related Topics:

Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).