If it Ain’t Broke, Fix It (Also Tuesday TV Talk)

Remember Qwikster, and how great that turned out? Like, worse than New Coke?

Well, you know those star ratings on Netflix? I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’ve never seen or heard about a show, I kind of rely on those. It’s not a perfect system, but I’ve generally found that if something has one or two starts, it probably does suck donkey; and if it has four or five stars, it’s at least worth a try.

Since this system works pretty well, Netflix, in an apparent quest to limit the quality of movies and tv shows they offer, is completely eliminating the star system in favor of a “thumbs up/thumbs down” system. According to Variety:

Netflix realized that explicit star ratings were less relevant than other signals. Users would rate documentaries with 5 stars, and silly movies with just 3 stars, but still watch silly movies more often than those high-rated documentaries.

“We made ratings less important because the implicit signal of your behavior is more important,” Yellin said.

According to the Huffington Post, this forward-thinking VP of Marketing (everyone’s FAVORITE department, aren’t those people FUN?) also made this astute comment: “Five stars feels very yesterday now.”

Oh yes, of course. Stars are so yesterday… now. (Is he a secret philosopher?) Whereas thumbs up or down? So innovative! No one does that!

So your three-star crap movies will keep on streaming, and those thoughtful, five-star documentaries, well, tough luck. At least you’ll be able to watch Bruce Willis’ squinty face in Armageddon as much as you want!

Editor’s Note: Also feel free to talk about your TV watching week, whether it was a 5-star or thumbs down experience.  

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About taoreader

Writer. Managing editor of a literary journal. Pianist and singer. Dog-lover and Shatner fan.
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15 Responses to If it Ain’t Broke, Fix It (Also Tuesday TV Talk)

  1. martinmegz says:

    I do not remember Qwikster but I remember Tom from MySpace! What’s he up to these days? I don’t pay much attention to the stars on Netflix except to get insulted when they show a high prediction for a bad movie, like the time they guessed 4.5 stars for me for a movie about a single woman at Christmas who meets a handsome but troubled ghost. But I ended up watching that terrible movie, so maybe those stars were right.

    I got caught up on Homeland this weekend. I found the first four episodes to be a slog then at the end of the fourth things get good and now I’m into it.

    • catweazle says:

      The Spirit of Christmas??? My family watched that on Christmas Eve last year and it was so bad. There was this part where the lady was telling the sheriff about seeing the ghost in the hotel and the sheriff was like “Oh it was probably just a vagrant” or something and the lady was like “He was wearing a fancy suit! Vagrants don’t wear fancy suits” and the sheriff just said “Some do” all knowingly and now my siblings and I occasionally respond to each other with “Some do” at random moments and it never stops being funny.

      • catweazle says:

        Also the main actor could not disguise his French Canadian accent which made all of his line readings hilarious.

      • martinmegz says:

        And didn’t the caretaker try to gaslight her when he totally knew about the ghost? I can’t believe I watched that whole movie and by the end I was really on board with the idea of a ghost boyfriend I only have to see two weeks out of the year.

        • catweazle says:

          Oh yeah, he was like “Ha ha just some local flavor, totally not real” and meanwhile Daniel was NOT a ghost he was a two-week poltergeist at best. The other most-quoted line amongst my family was when what’shername tried to introduce the ghost to somebody as “DJ” and he got all mad and said “My name is CERTAINLY NOT DJ. A ridiculous name, if ever I heard one!” It’s funnier with the accent though.

  2. welcometocostcoiloveyou says:

    “Five stars feels very yesterday now.” is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard.

    Speaking of Netflix, I’ve been rewatching iZombie to prepare for season 3. I would highly recommend it. The premise sounds ridiculous on paper, but it’s funny and smart, and the cast is great.

  3. collin0truckasaurus says:

    Thumbs up/down < 5 star system. PERIOD.

    I started watching The Path on Hulu and it's interesting. The Detour continues to be great! John Oliver and Sam Bee continue to nail it. It's so sad that terrible current events are leading to great television, but so it is.

    My Tuesday is so sad without last night's Bachelor to watch. So. Sad.

    • martinmegz says:

      On Tuesdays MTV has The Challenge and Stranded with a Million Dollars. I cannot believe how emotionally invested I have become in a show about people carrying money around an island but I am very invested!

      • collin0truckasaurus says:

        OOO that sounds good! The podcasts always talk about The Challenge in the best way, but I tried to watch it a couple of seasons ago and couldn’t get into it because I didn’t know who any of the people were. I’ll check out Stranded! I hope some of them cave and burn the money for fire!

  4. flanny says:

    My travelmate got sick while we were in Bangkok and spent a good portion of the weekend alone in our friend’s apartment watching bootleg TV. And because our friend is a gay man (stereotypes) he had season seven of Drag Race downloaded. So while my travelmate got introduced to the show, I got reintroduced and am currently plowing my way through the few seasons available on Prime.

  5. FRQ says:

    I haven’t really been watching anything outside of my normal shows, but I did get some exciting news. Background: my condo association has a contract with Comcast where everyone in the building gets basic cable, and the price is baked into our condo fees. Last week I got a letter from our association and Comcast stating that the contract will not be renewed, meaning our condo fees will be adjusted accordingly and we’ll have to get our own cable.

    This is great, since I never wanted it in the first place, and it gives me the option to try to either try one of those newfangled streaming services (such as Sling TV) or go completely without cable. This is also great because I believe this is the first step into trying to get Google Fiber in our building. I feel like a big obstacle was how everyone here pretty much just gets Xfinity internet since we already have the TV service, but now that it’s no longer a factor, the door is open.

    • taoreader says:

      I haven’t had cable in years and I don’t miss it at all. I have Netflix streaming and DVDs and Amazon prime, trying to decide if I need hulu.

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