The 1 Thing Preventing Netflix From Creating an Authentic Cultural Phenomenon

The Netflix model of offering every episode for a show’s new season is both a blessing and a curse when you look at it from a deeper sociological point of view.

You could look at that as spoiling people so much, they can’t really appreciate each episode as a whole and perhaps more apt to forget the details later.

On the other hand, binge-watching an entire series like Stranger Things is still a major time-saver for those who don’t have time to watch a new episode every week.

Apple TV+ is shifting this game with weekly episodes of The Morning Show. Netflix isn’t going to change this pattern, though, even if it might make them less apt to create authentic cultural phenomenons as a result.

Some people on Reddit think this could be a major faux pas for Netflix in the future.

Are people just taking ‘Stranger Things’ for granted?

Netflix logo on a phone screen
Netflix logo | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Netflix users have been going on Reddit lately to say Netflix is having a bit of a problem with Stranger Things ever becoming a real cultural phenomenon because no one watches it collectively.

Let’s remember that when a show is available to binge at anyone’s leisure, it’s going to mean everyone watching at different times, bringing any sense of communal viewing to a close.

Those who remember the pre-streaming days when everyone usually watched the same programming on TV at the same time might find themselves wishing to go back to collectively talking about a show the next morning. How many times do people talk about an episode of Stranger Things at the water cooler in workplaces?

Most likely, if someone brought it up, only a small group may have watched the entire series. Others may be waiting to watch it later due to not having any time available.

Reddit users have been comparing the difference between Stranger Things and the more cultural phenomenon of Games of Thrones, latter of which aired in one place at one time.

Should Netflix start showing episodes once per week?

The line between network and streaming service is starting to blur somewhat at places like Netflix. With their executives starting to place more shows on the chopping block of late, it’s starting to feel like the old days of networks canning shows suits didn’t have faith would find an audience.

Ironically, mainstream networks are no longer doing this as much when they factor in even with initial low ratings, many are watching later on DVR or through streaming outlets.

Measuring who watches a show when is becoming harder to discern, taking all the air out of everyone being able to discuss a show at the same time on social media or when at work.

Considering Apple TV+ decided to do a (mostly) weekly episode plan with The Morning Show, it’s possible Netflix will experiment someday.

All arguments on Reddit say Stranger Things (and other important shows there) just aren’t getting talked about enough in our culture because of the viewer fragmentation. Would Netflix really be open to a weekly episode drop, or would viewers rebel?

Once doing the binge-watch drops, it probably can’t be changed

Apple TV+ is doing a combination of binge-watch drops for their shows and some weekly. They clearly want people to talk about The Morning Show the same day based on the Friday episode debuts.

Doing this is a good strategy to get a buzz going on social media.

In the world of Netflix, they’ve already spoiled their subscriber base. Chances are nil they’ll ever do a weekly plan for their original shows, outside of a few non-originals due to licensing issues. Viewers there primarily want all of their shows now, or nothing at all.

Sticking with this status quo might mean Netflix shows never have the cultural significance cable shows or weekly streaming shows do. Perhaps they don’t care since they still get millions of viewers at different times.

Nevertheless, it’s a loss for society in being able to discuss cultural media phenomenons in real-time without receiving a perplexing stare from friends or co-workers.