Netflix received a whopping 105 nominations in the Emmy this year, buoyed by successes such as Squid Game, stranger things Y Ozarks. While that’s a decrease from last year’s 129, Netflix still garnered the second-most nominations of any network or streamer, with only HBO besting it thanks to giants like Succession Y The White Lotus.
Still, all is not great for the so-called King of Streamers. Whether it’s canceling shows left and right or losing subscribers every quarter, the original streamer can’t seem to catch a break, and even his exuberant and over-the-top original movies can’t help. Netflix released the tedious The Gray Man less than a month ago, and the film, which reportedly has a $200 million production tag, has already abandoned the vocabulary of pop culture; not even the news of a sequel and prequel coming up was enough to spur interest.
In fact, Netflix appears to be at a breaking point in its journey to long-term success. Its television division is thriving: shows like stranger things Y Bridgerton they dominate the conversation for days, weeks and even months, drawing rave reviews and cementing themselves as modern classics. However, things are different for its film division, which is struggling to barely make a dent in the pop culture landscape. Not even the combined powers of Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling were enough to make The Gray Man was enjoyable, and the same can be said for other big-budget movies like The Adam Project Y Red Notice.
Why is Netflix so obsessed with making original movies when it’s blatantly clear that its strength lies in television content? The streamer tried to make a name for himself in the film department, delivering some genuinely gripping masterpieces, the trifecta of Rome, The Irishman Y The Power of the Dogwhich are sure to become classics. However, that had more to do with the directors behind them than Netflix itself. All of the film projects the streamer has developed in-house are average at best and mediocre at worst. On the contrary, his shows continue to thrive, both original creations and foreign acquisitions. It’s time for Netflix to wake up: its original movies suck.
But not all is lost; Netflix has some of the best shows on modern television, many of which have achieved unprecedented levels of success. Streamers and studios are currently waging an all-out war for dominance of the entertainment landscape, and Netflix could be the undisputed ruler of the small screen. So why is he watering down his efforts? Why is he investing so heavily in movies, settling for being the court jester of the film industry when he could be the king of television?
The power of Netflix?
Netflix made a name for itself in the movie industry through a simple strategy: throw big money at authors, hoping to lure them into its ranks. It worked, if only for a moment. Filmmakers like Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Jane Campion accepted the money and kept their word to give the streamer prestige.
The appeal for these directors is easy to see: they had full creative freedom and tons of money to do deeply personal projects that might not have been well received elsewhere. Working with little or no restriction and in complete control of his craft allowed them to produce some of his best work to date, with modern masterpieces such as Rome Y The Power of the Dog elevating the streamer’s purse beyond its initial state of big fish in a small pond. Soon, the awards came to an end, but Netflix proved its myopic nature by running not one or two, but four spectacularly bungling award campaigns.
Netflix either underestimated its competition or overestimated itself.
The streamer’s failure to bring genuine gold to his prestige projects suggested he was more of a pretender than a genuine threat in the movie business. The fact that Rome not winning the Academy Award for Best Picture is particularly jarring; however, the streamer’s surprisingly bad campaign to The Power of the Dog by Campion is a stain from which he may never recover. The film received 12 nominations for oscars in the 94th Academy Awards. One won. To make matters worse, Apple TV+, a relatively new rival in the streaming wars, won the Oscar for Best Picture with CODA.
Netflix was supposed to be the first streamer to claim Best Picture. It’s the main reason he spent all that money to lure Cuarón, Scorsese and Fincher. However, he either underestimated his competition or overestimated himself. Whatever the reason, his blatant inability to exploit his extremely valuable assets made him something of a laughingstock in an industry that wickedly delights in the destruction of icons.
Things aren’t looking any better in the blockbuster department. Netflix is throwing cash at goofy action movies with big stars, scenic locations, and impressive set pieces. However, it is basically money down the drain; each new entry is more forgettable than the last, serving the same purpose as the average and considerably cheaper original movie that Netflix first built. does anyone remember Red Notice? Sure, we all saw it when it came out because there are worse ways to spend a Friday night than watching an action disaster starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. But we mattered? We pay attention? I don’t think I can name any of the characters, let alone plot details.
Little by little it is becoming clear that the lack of a strategy for Netflix will be the downfall of its film division. While other studios have verticals aimed at specific purposes, why else would Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics still exist if it wasn’t for the sole purpose of winning Oscars? Netflix’s attempts to do it all result in embarrassment after embarrassment. A single study cannot be everything; battles must be chosen to prevail in the long run. Just ask Warner Bros. Discovery.
the tv crown
Things look considerably different on the television side. On the big screen, Netflix is king supreme, if not yet undisputed. Since his initial foray into the television industry with the now-shunned House of Cards, Netflix has maintained momentum and purpose on its way to the top. Programs like The Crown Y The Queen’s Gambit they cemented her as a dominant figure on the small screen. Her reign reached a zenith at the 2021 Emmys when she claimed the trophies for Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Limited Series. Five of her cast also won Emmys, and while Apple TV+ and HBO also had strong showings, it was the closest thing to a Netflix night the streamer has ever had.
Recent releases can’t compare to stranger things and his dominance of the pop culture landscape.
Beyond critical acclaim and industry love, Netflix shows have something many others would kill for: audience participation. Recent releases of Bridgerton Y Ozarks garnered considerable attention from the streamer, with both shows dominating the conversation. The brand of sexy historical romance from Bridgerton was destined to be popular, but the triumph of Ozarks is all the more impressive considering its dark subject matter, placing it in a select group that includes The Sopranos and breaking bad What relentless shows that still generate intense audience participation.
But even these two recent releases can’t compare to stranger things and his dominance of the pop culture landscape. He could write an entire essay on the show’s control over social media; in fact, any program powerful enough to help a nearly 40-year-old single hit the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the year of our Lord 2022 is worthy of praise. As I write this, RUnning Up That Hill by Kate Bush is currently at number 4 on the list, two months after Stranger Things will premiere its first seven episodes.
Foreign acquisitions are also making a difference for Netflix. Squid Game Y The Money Heist are two of his most viewed and discussed projects, drawing considerable praise and generating intense fan interest. Both properties are now franchises, with The Money Heist already receiving a spiritual sequel and a spin-off focused on the Berlin character. For its part, Squid Game it is a real phenomenon. The show was an overnight success, becoming streamer’s most watched show with an obscene 1.65 billion hours viewed.
Even their worst shows generate interest, if only because people hate them and watch them. Think of Ginny & Georgia, Emily in Paris Y Too Hot to Handle, shows that are objectively bad, but still attract considerable attention. Now, compare them with, say, Persuasion, Netflix’s recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. Yes, persuasion it was badY everyone loved it knock her down But less than a month after its release, the silence is deafening; nobody talks about it. However, once Emily in Paris return for its inevitable third season, the speech will begin again, if only to mock the inept heroine’s terrible taste in haute couture. By their very nature, shows have staying power. Few if any movies can keep up with that, let alone Netflix originals.
Netflix stranger things
There is no shame in admitting defeat, or at least there should be, and it is more than clear that Netflix has lost the movie war. The streamer can’t keep up with the major movie studios who do this for a living and have years of practice in supporting and exploiting their projects to the fullest. It also lacks the restraint of Apple TV+. Netflix can’t seem to stop wanting it all; he tries everything and is successful in only half. But when it’s successful, Is successful.
Netflix could rule television.
Television gives Netflix a chance to become king of the house and finally take its coveted seat at the head of the table. Why should you keep watering down your efforts when you already have a solid foundation to challenge HBO for the title of king of prestige television? Netflix could dominate the Emmys if it wanted to. It could continue to offer English and foreign content, driving conversation and becoming a trendsetter. In short, Netflix could rule television. He’s already doing it.
For better and worse, Netflix is still the King of Streamers, and if it wants to keep its crown, it needs to pick its battles. TV is the future of Netflix, and ignoring this can only bring more embarrassment. You fought the good fight, Netflix, but movies are not your forte. Bow gracefully and return to television, where you thrive. You may never win an Oscar, but you should dominate at the Emmys, and that’s just as well.