Netflix shows foster success

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By Giana Haynia

Illustration by Rachel Carroll, President of National Arts Honors Society
Illustration by Rachel Carroll, President of National Arts Honors Society

Over the past few years, the popularity of Netflix has skyrocketed. In 2015, the number of subscribers reached 70 million worldwide. Netflix’s first original show, “House of Cards”, premiered in 2013 and is a huge success. Since then, Netflix has released a number of original shows, but not all of them have had the same results. That begs the question: what makes a Netflix show enjoyable?

Captivating, relatable characters  are the driving force in any show, and they carry the plot. Viewers need to like these characters or else the show will sink. In “Stranger Things,” Eleven is a young girl with special abilities who befriends three other children. A child with supernatural abilities could easily be seen as silly, but Eleven quickly became a fan favorite. The supernatural-themed show achieves where other shows fail: it has likeable, three-dimensional characters.

When it comes to streamed shows, timing is everything. Back when “House of Cards” first came out, Netflix as a streaming platform wasn’t popular. But with extensive promotion and high ratings, the word got out, and it was a hit. It was a risky move but one that paid off.

A show’s ability to draw in viewers episode after episode is another key ingredient for success. Usually, Netflix releases a full season at one time. That being said, the story needs to be intriguing enough for viewers to want to wait and come back to find out what will happen next. If the story is boring, there is no point in coming back. Audiences can just move on to another show to find entertainment. The plot needs to make sense and keep viewers captivated throughout the season. The eagerly awaited “Fuller House” is full of nostalgia, but the overall story is lacking.

The throwback series relies heavily on the reminiscence from the original show, but has no new, interesting material. In season one, they poked fun at the Olsen twins for not returning for the reboot by mentioning Michelle not coming home to visit. It looked and felt cheap; it’s not okay to have a one off mention and move on. The plot itself reuses storylines from the original show in a failed attempt to produce the same feeling in the reboot. Besides the children of the original characters, there are nearly no new characters. This show is one to miss.

Another example is “Marvel’s Daredevil,” unlike “Fuller House,” “Daredevil” has an intriguing story. The show follows a “normal” hero and shows the aftermath of the events of the Marvel films that the audience doesn’t get to see in the movies. It follows Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, a blind, highly trained hero as he protects Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Despite a costumed hero being the main character, “Daredevil” finds a way to make Murdock an engaging character and someone to root for. The show itself is dark while not going overboard with grittiness.  

The problem with finding decent Netflix shows is that there are so many of them. “House of Cards” was a guinea pig to see if the streaming service could successfully put out its own shows. With that successful experiment, the streaming giant released an almost overwhelming amount of shows. With viewers having so many options, shows need to find their footing fast or risk losing their viewers. While a good many have no problem with this, there are the few that struggle. By the time this problem gets fixed, viewers are already gone and onto the next show.

Netflix’s popularity has grown to an all time high; it has already taken over cable as a viewing platform. Even networks such as ABC, Freeform, NBC, Fox, The CW, AMC, BBC, HBO, and FX  are putting their own shows on Netflix. With all the hype, there is a ton of expectations for Netflix to live up to. Every good show has seemingly overshadowed the bad with good reason. They’re quick to make changes to problems they have with any shows and keep them intriguing with an exceptional plot, compelling characters, and precise timing.