The (maybe) unavoidable downfall of Netflix.

I write these lines while assisting in perplexity to the shot-for-shot remake of Charlie Brooker’s brilliant satire, “Dead Set”, which was a foreplay for what later became his hit series “Black Mirror”.

“Dead Set” which despite its presentation as a miniseries is basically a 3 hours film split in 5 chapters, thought to be released on a daily basis before Halloween, it has gone down as one of the best zombie films of all time, and for good reason, the mirror game between reality and fiction, the use of horror as an allegory of our dystopian present (even more so, before Covid19 hit) and was never scared of going full horror, keeping the comedic elements exactly as they should be: never distracting from the core of the satire, and just to give the audience enough oxygen to take a deep breath and jump into the next horror vignette. Even the progression of the events were always a “because” and were full of inner logic. Claudio Torres, who is credited as the writer (and co-director) of the remake, probably thought that why change anything that isn’t broken.

The classic question, that has an easy reply… if it is not broken, unless you have something extra to say, just do not touch it. The remake is not only shot-for-shot… it is unconvincing and subpar, with moments that are embarrassing in comparison to the original. This said with all my respect to all the cast and crew… because the main problem, goes beyond this…

This is part of the Netflix offering, stated as a Netflix “original” (which sounds like a pun, if you ask me). This comes as a major disappointment to me, after the Blumhouse produced Bollywood horror miniseries “Betaal”, also distributed by Netflix, and that despite some limitations, never ceased to be interesting and somewhat original, and was a binge-worthy horror offering that never felt as a rehash (even more so, had a lot to say in politics and history, from a satyrical point of view). But “Betaal” is mostly an exception to the rule… even Netflix’s biggest hit, “Stranger Things” never stops feeling as a family-friendly rehash of everything 80s, but very well done and with generous budget. For every “Betaal” or “Stranger Things” we have 8 to 15 mediocrities, and same with the Netflix films… they finance “Roma”, “The Irishman” or the extremely good looking “Da 5 Bloods” that opens on Friday… but for every one of them, we have to cross by some really bad stuff like “The Silence”, “Io”, “Naked”, “Birdbox” and so many other trashy films. I would include the disgustingly bitter personal revenge vehicle by Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”, but I am in the minority on this one…

Still, the point being, Netflix is heading the 50s Disney route of production… the more mainstream, the less risky, the better. They do some risky, prestige productions here and there, but they now that the cheaper and less troubling the better… they are full of stand up comedians shows, reality shows… cheap television for a cheap audience?

It took me only one month to fall in love with HBO and the high standard of most of their productions and distributions… they do not shy off making material like “7 Days in Hell” or “Tour de Pharmacy”, or distributing the genius spoof of Chuck Norris that is Chris Elliott’s “Eagleheart”, and the rest of Adult Swim…

Or Disney + that despite having the (self) imposed limitation to family friendly fare (which I think it is a complete mistake, and will end up with the unification with Hulu, when people starts cancelling their subscriptions), offers an amount of classics (The Sound of Music! Mary Poppins!) that anyone with children can’t really get rid off (and well, there’s Marvel, Star Wars and The Simpsons). Three brands that warrant inmediate attention and sumission.

And then, there’s Amazon Prime, completely ecclectic and extremely cheap… and what they do not have included… you can rent it. That’s why all three are way ahead of Netflix right now, in terms of perspective of growth and endurance. It is a matter of time that Netflix will control who sees what, where, and the trick of many families paying only one subscription but sharing with friends (so you have even up to 4 or 5 families paying together for only ONE), and introduce new terms and conditions, and cancellations will ensue, because of the price, and also of the offering being the most uninteresting all together, specially in correlation with the price requested.

I may be wrong in the end, but I feel that not having such corporations as Disney and Amazon behind, warrant Netflix’s reign might be reaching an end (and bankruptancy) in less time than many imagine.

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