The most recent Netflix Original Series, “Orange is the New Black,” and marks the website’s arrival as a key provider of quality television to rival cable networks like AMC and HBO. The show’s first season debuted to glowing reviews and became the most talked about television event of the summer. Though Netflix’s other efforts garnered positive attention none of them quite hit the mark. Their American take on “House of Cards” came closest but the much anticipated fourth season of the cult classic “Arrested Development” was almost universally hailed as a disappointment, and “Hemlock Grove,” an attempt to cash in on the popularity of horror-influenced soap operas went totally unnoticed (did you watch it? I know, neither did I). I am somewhat dismissive of “House of Cards” despite all its Emmy nods because I’ve only read lukewarm reviews, personally haven’t noticed it generating much buzz (to use the technical term) and because I liked the original British series much better. Also yes; I do realize how obnoxious it sounds to say you prefer the English version.
by Caroline Nelson
The eventual creative success of this model makes a great deal of sense, even though other online streaming sites like Hulu haven’t been able to duplicate Netflix’s success. The ability to give viewers a whole season allows for more complexity since it is safe to assume that they have recently seen the last episode or are easily capable of re-watching previous installments to refresh their memory. This complexity can be a liability, as evidenced by the convoluted structure of “Arrested Development” which one critic called “‘Rashomon’ on steroids,” but suits “Orange is the New Black,” which has many different stories to tell which all unfold at their own pace. I’ll go into more depth about those stories in the next of a series of pieces I will be doing on the show.