Netflix Sucks Now and That Won’t Change Anytime Soon

If you’re a long time user of Netflix, chances are you have experienced a steep decline in both the quality of the app, and the content it provides.

The short version of this article is that Netflix lost much of its best films and series when major studios withdrew their content to start their own streaming platforms (the so-called Streaming Wars).

Netflix tried to compensate the loss by creating its own Netflix Originals. Unfortunately, most Originals were very poorly received by audiences.

As a result, Netflix did the most logical thing to correct the quality issues: they removed ratings and reviews so users couldn’t see how bad its Originals were.

Section 2 contains a few solutions that can help you find better movies and series on Netflix compared to the standard algorithm.

Section 3 lists a few alternatives to Netflix, alongside some awesome TV series and movies they have you might not have seen before.

4 reasons Netflix sucks now

Good content is leaving Netflix

In 2013 Netflix lost 1,800 films and TV shows from its content library after Universal and MGM let their licensing agreements expire.

In 2020 Friends left the streaming service, as did The Office in the first days of January 2021. This is despite the fact that Netflix offered $100 million (!) per year (!!!) to Warner Bros so they could stream it for another year. A similar arrangement for The Office would have cost $90 million.

Netflix also lost out on Disney produced content for the foreseeable future. And given how massive Disney has become, this will mean a lot of blockbuster movies and TV series won’t appear on the platform.

And that is just past content Netflix has lost. Because of these licensing deals, many future movies and shows will never make their way onto the streaming service. It used to be you could wait a few months for a new film to move out of cinemas and come on Netflix, and watch it at home. Not anymore.

Netflix removed star ratings and reviews to hide the poor quality of its original content

The loss of so much content is an existential threat to Netflix, so they switched strategies to produce their own original content, and lots of it. In 2019 alone they released 371 Netflix originals (meaning movies, documentaries, shows etc.).

With this many originals produced, overall quality took a nosedive. The average rating for a Netflix original dropped for 7 years straight, from a high of 4.2 to 3.2, according to a data analysis by CordCutting.

This was problematic since poor reviews generally discourage subscribers to watch bad TV series or films. Netflix didn’t like that because they paid good money to produce those bad TV series and film.

Source

As a result, Netflix removed ratings altogether. One year later Netflix said the user review feature had “declined in usage”, so they deleted the feature alongside tens of thousands of user reviews submitted over the course of a decade plus.

The removal of these two features makes it very hard to separate good shows from bad ones. You’re forced to use review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic or IMDb.

This was done by design, since now you have to actually start watching a show / movie to figure out if it’s good or not, which is a win for Netflix since they rack up more viewing time.

The algorithm isn’t good enough

Netflix replaced the star rating and review features with a simple thumbs up / thumbs down system. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem, except that you can’t see a like vs dislike ratio to know if a show is good or not. Even YouTube allows users to see the thumbs up / down ratio of a particular video.

Instead, an algorithm shows a % Match rating that has no clear explanation for the numbers it gives you, except that it is somehow “close to your viewing preferences”.

But the algorithm has many other issues:

  • It recommends the same shows & movies over and over again.
  • If you watch 10-15 minutes of a terrible film, you’ll then get recommendations based on it.
  • A limited number of films and shows to choose from.
  • No filtering features based on length, % match, language, year, etc.

Netflix abruptly cancels shows after 1 or 2 seasons

Despite’s Netflix’s efforts, there’s a good chance you’ll come across one (or more) of their original series you actually enjoy watching.

Unfortunately, there’s an even bigger chance Netflix will abruptly cancel it because of “poor viewership data”.

This article contains a list of 47 cancelled Netflix shows, 29 of which were cancelled after 1 season and 10 others after 2. One standout example of this is The Get Down, a musical drama series that cost $120 million, and was canceled after just 1 season.

This quantity vs quality approach makes it difficult to invest yourself in a Netflix series, since there’s always a fear the show you like will not renewed.

To make matters worse, other studios can’t pick up the license and continue cancelled shows because Netflix doesn’t want to surrender them.  As a result, if a Netflix show is cancelled, it’s guaranteed to be very dead, forever.

Better ways to find Netflix movies and see their ratings

Netflix’s lack of quality content isn’t something a user can fix. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to discover good, high rated content on Netflix without relying on its algorithm.

The methods below apply to browsers, iOS as well as Android phones.

Use Movie of the Night (app + website) to build your watchlist

The movieofthenight.com website creates randomized lists of films and series based on filters you control such as language, year, IMDB rating, runtime, genre etc.

The cool part is that you can see what movies are available on pretty much every streaming platform, not just Netflix.

Once you have set your filters, Movie of the Night will create a randomized list of movies / series that match all of your criteria.

If nothing sounds appealing, clicking the “Get the List” button again will create a new, randomized set of films and TV series.

By signing up and creating an account, you can then add movies to a personal watchlist. Doing so will activate a feature where you can disallow movies from your watchlists to reappear in the search results so you don’t see the same movies over and over again.

Clicking on either the Netflix or IMDb icons will open up the respective websites or apps.

The website is very well made and works perfectly on any platform: smart TV, mobile, desktop PC, etc. There’s even a dedicated app if you’re an Android user!

Chrome plugins to see IMDb + Rotten Tomatoes ratings

If you’re using Chrome on desktop, consider installing the Trim plugin. Doing so will let you see the IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes rating for a movie or series directly within the Netflix desktop app.

Unfortunately, the plugin is only available on Chrome, so if you’re using Safari, Firefox or any other browser you’re out of luck.

If you’re like most users and browse Netflix directly on the TV, then it won’t really help you.

That being said, it’s possible to use this app while on desktop to create a watchlist for later viewing.

Flutter app for Android

Flutter is a basically the Android version of the Trim plugin. After installing and setting up the app, Flutter will display an overlay within each movie or show that contains its IMDb rating.

Unfortunately, the app is only available to Android and Android TV users, so no iOS or other Smart TVs.

Alternatives to Netflix

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is a promising alternative to Netflix simply because it comes bundled in for free with a standard Amazon Prime subscription.

  1. If you already have an Amazon Prime subscription, then all you have to do is to download the Prime Video app on your viewing device (TV, smartphone, laptop, etc), and activate it. Here is a short, 2 minute YouTube video that shows how to do this.
  2. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime Subscription, then you can try out the streaming service for free during its 30 day free trial. You can also try Amazon Prime Video even if you’re not from the United States!

How good are the TV series on Amazon Prime?

If you’ve only watched Netflix series, then you’ll be spoiled by how many quality series there are on Prime Video you (likely) haven’t seen before:

TV SeriesIMDb RatingPlot Synopsis
The Expanse8.5In the 24th century, a disparate band of antiheroes unravel a vast conspiracy that threatens the Solar System’s fragile state of cold war.
The Office8.9A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.
The Boys8.7A group of vigilantes set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers.
Mr. Robot8.6Elliot, a brilliant but highly unstable young cyber-security engineer and vigilante hacker, becomes a key figure in a complex game of global dominance when he and his shadowy allies try to take down the corrupt corporation he works for.
The Grand Tour8.7Follow Jeremy, Richard, and James, as they embark on an adventure across the globe, driving new and exciting automobiles from manufacturers all over the world.
The Man in the High Castle8.0What would it be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States?
Vikings8.5Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore – and raid – the distant shores across the ocean.
Suits8.5On the run from a drug deal gone bad, brilliant college dropout Mike Ross, finds himself working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best lawyers.
House8.7An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way using his crack team of doctors and his wits.
Avatar: The Last Airbender9.2In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world.
Downton Abbey8.7A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.

In terms of movies, it’s fair to say that Amazon Prime Video’s collection is decent at most, but not quite as good as the library on Netflix, both in terms of quality and quantity.

There are some heavy hitters, but it’s obvious Amazon has focused more on building a TV series library rather than its film catalog.

FilmIMDbPlot Synopsis
Casino Royale8.0After earning 00 status and a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro.
The Man from Nowhere7.8A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.
The Lighthouse7.5Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
House of Sand and Fog7.5An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her house’s new owners.
Knives Out7.9A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative and rich family.
Zodiac7.7In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.
Lost in Translation7.7A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.
Warrior8.2The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.
The Wailing7.5Soon after a stranger arrives in a little village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

If you want to give it a shot, simply click on the button below and see how it works for you.

Starz

Starz is one of the more niche producers of TV series, and they excel particularly well when it comes to historical series.

They offer a 7 day free trial, after which it will cost either $8.99 per month.

Below are some of the best TV series available on Starz:

TV SeriesIMDb RatingPlot Synopsis
Black Sails8.2Black Sails is set in the early 18th century, during the Golden Age of Piracy. Feared Captain Flint brings on a younger crew member as they fight for the survival of New Providence island.
Outlander8.4An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.
Spartacus8.5The life of Spartacus, the gladiator who lead a rebellion against the Romans. From his time as an ally of the Romans, to his betrayal and becoming a gladiator, to the rebellion he leads and its ultimate outcome.
Power8.1James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin.
The Missing8.2When Tony and Emily Hughes travel to France with their 5-year-old son Oliver, their family holiday turns into a nightmare when Oliver disappears from a large celebrating crowd in Northern France.

In terms of movies, Starz’ library is fairly small, but it does have a good collection of quality, award winning films:

FilmIMDb RatingPlot Synopsis
Whipash8.5Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.
Léon: The Professional8.5Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.
Spider-Man: Far From Home7.5Peter Parker and his friends go on a summer trip to Europe. However, they will hardly be able to rest – Peter will have to agree to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of creatures that cause natural disasters and destruction throughout the continent.
True Romance7.9In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.  
Gattaca7.8In a future society in the era of indefinite eugenics, humans are set on a life course depending on their DNA. Young Vincent Freeman is born with a condition that would prevent him from space travel, yet is determined to infiltrate the GATTACA space program.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood7.6Los Angeles, 1969. TV star Rick Dalton, a struggling actor specializing in westerns, and stuntman Cliff Booth, his best friend, try to survive in a constantly changing movie industry. Dalton is the neighbor of the young and promising actress and model Sharon Tate, who has just married the prestigious Polish director Roman Polanski.

Hulu

Hulu is one of the oldest competitors of Netflix, and has been in the streaming arena long enough to create its own comprehensive content library.

Prices start from $5.99 per month (with ads) or $11.99 per month without ads.

Here are some of the best TV series available on Hulu:

TV SeriesIMDb RatingPlot Synopsis
Fargo8.9Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. Yet all of these tales mysteriously lead back one way or another to Fargo, North Dakota.
Death Note9.0An intelligent high school student goes on a secret crusade to eliminate criminals from the world after discovering a notebook capable of killing anyone whose name is written into it.
Justified8.6U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal mining towns of eastern Kentucky.
The Handmaid’s Tale8.4Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.
Lost8.3The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.
Rick & Morty9.2An animated series that follows the exploits of a super scientist and his not-so-bright grandson.

In terms of movies, Hulu boasts great films such as:

FilmIMDb RatingPlot Synopsis
Prisoners8.1When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.
Parasite8.6Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.
Gone Girl8.1With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.
Warrior8.2The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.
The Prestige8.5After a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.
Deadpool8.0A wisecracking mercenary gets experimented on and becomes immortal but ugly, and sets out to track down the man who ruined his looks.
Deadpool 27.7Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (a.k.a. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg Cable.