Saturday, January 23, 2016

Some tips for finding what you want to watch on Netflix - January 22, 2016

Note:  I wish I could take credit for planning a Netflix column on the perfect weekend for watching Netflix but the appropriateness didn't occur to me until the night before the start of the blizzard.

Hope everyone is warm, secure, not needing to go anywhere, and have power and Internet to watch Netflix.  For the snowbound who are not Netflix subscribers, they do have a 30 day free trial.

Netflix has become a force of nature. It is credited with the downfall of the video store – even mega-giants like Blockbuster, when its primary business was mailing DVDs.

Netflix has more than 70 million users worldwide. This is bound to grow dramatically, as it recently announced 130 new countries will soon have the streaming service.

It’s grown so large that it now makes its own high-quality TV programs, like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”

Its original series are frequently nominated for Emmys. Actress Uzo Aduba won two for best supporting actress for her delightful portrayal of Crazy Eyes in “Orange is the New Black.”

Netflix’ streaming service has changed the way many people watch TV. Who binge watched entire series before Netflix? Now people think nothing of sitting down on Saturday morning and cranking through entire seasons of a TV show in one sitting.

One huge frustration with Netflix is finding something to watch. Netflix does not have a category showing you all the movies. It recommends genres to you and shows you movies in them.

After you have watched a few films, it recommends others based on your viewership.

There’s a search function. So if you know a film you want to watch, you can find it.

Unfortunately, most films that come to mind are ones that were recently in theaters. Films show up on Pay For View on your cable channel or on DVDs at Redbox or Netflix DVD service long before, or even if, they appear on Netflix streaming.

I enjoyed “Galaxy Quest” the other night after reading obituaries for Alan Rickman. If it hadn’t been for the reminder, I might not have thought to re-watch that delightful parody of “Star Trek” and its rabid fandom.

Recently, I learned of an article Alex Madrigal wrote in “The Atlantic” almost two years ago about an interesting thing he noticed about Netflix, and his quest to learn more.

He noticed that if you are logged into Netflix on your PC and chose a genre, let’s say “TV Action and Adventure,” your browser goes to a page whose URL is “” Notice the number at the end. That intrigued Madrigal, so he entered another number and found another genre.

He wrote a script to cycle through all numbers and while many were blank, he discovered Netflix had 76,897 sub-genres.

Do want to see Cerebral Movies based on Books or Critically Acclaimed Mind Bending Movies or Witty Mockumentaries? They're all out there if you know the number for the end of that URL.

In this week’s Link Post at, I have a link to a list I found with these and many more genres. You will easily lose yourself bookmarking movies.

Not every genre has movies in it. Some genres may have films only licensed for other countries, or movies that Netflix no longer has a license to show.

Once Netflix, or any streaming service for that matter, licenses a film, they do not have the right to show it forever.

Movies come and go on Netflix. There is nothing more infuriating than to start watching a series and have it disappear from Netflix before you finish all the episodes.

On the other hand, knowing what is new may lead you to something you want to see. Unfortunately Netflix does not have a category for content about to disappear.

However, there are sites that track this for us. The site “What’s On Netflix” has both Leaving Soon and Coming Soon categories has the best search engine for Netflix and Amazon movies.

Can I Stream It? and such sites let you enter a movie and find out where it will be streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others. Or it will tell you if you can purchase or rent it on Amazon, iTunes or Google Play. Or, it will tell you if you can stream it on a smartphone app.

I also like the Fan TV app. It does the same as Can I Stream It? but has more information and trailers.

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