All too often we find ourselves looking at Netflix and seeing that there is a new message: “last day to watch”. Why is that? What movies and shows has Netflix removed or about to get rid of? Sometimes they have been on our watch lists’ for ages and we feel pressure to watch everything before it disappears.
The first question is: why? Why is Netflix removing this piece of media, especially when it is very popular? Wouldn’t it end up as a loss of money? Netflix often “doesn’t own all the content it streams”(pcmag.com). Meaning Netflix no longer owns the rights to that content and has to remove it before they are accused of copyright. Other times the public pressures Netflix to remove content that could be considered offensive.
Recently, Netflix received a demand to remove Big Bang Theory: “Netflix has received a legal notice by political analyst Mithun Vijay Kumar demanding to remove the show claiming that it promotes misogyny”(thenews.com). Kumar states, “It is important to hold companies like Netflix accountable for their actions and to ensure that they are sensitive to the cultural values and sentiments of the communities they serve… It is their duty to ensure that the material they present does not include derogatory, offensive, or defamatory content. I was deeply troubled by the use of a derogatory term in one of the shows on Netflix – ‘Big Bang Theory’”(reported by HindustanTimes). He is angered by the lack of respect. He is fighting for guidelines and screening processes surrounding the media released by streaming services because of the strong effect they have on what the next generation perceives. Kumar ends his statement with what he believes could better the media presented, “streaming services have a significant influence over the content that is consumed by millions of individuals, and with this influence comes a responsibility to ensure that the content they offer is respectful, inclusive, and free from harmful stereotypes”. Sometimes public opinion is proven to work and sometimes it does nothing. Although Kumar’s speech was thought provoking, Big Bang Theory has ultimately been removed because “HBO Max has bought the rights to all 12 seasons of this show from CBS, and is no longer available on Netflix US”(Cybernews).
The other burning question is: what has and will be removed? As of January 2023, over 60 “Netflix Originals” have been removed”(What’s on Netflix). Both old and newer content is to be removed during May 2023. I have gathered a couple titles here. A few of the old content includes: Eat Pray Love (2010), Notting Hill (1999), The Four Seasons (1981), and The Legend of Zorro (2005). A few of the newer content includes: This Strange House (2020), Mama Drama (2020), Last Breath (2019), Away From Home (2015), and Paddington (2014). The few leaving in early June include: Little Boxes, Midnight Diner (seasons 1-3), The Boy, The Space Between Us, We Die Young, and My Girl (Whats on Netflix). While this is saddening, there is also a ton of content being released in May 2023. Including Pitch Perfect (2012), Rainbow High, season 3, The Glass Castle (2017), The Yellow Bird (2017), Vanquish (2021), When the Weather is Fine, season 1, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (Limited Series), and XO, Kitty, season one. The most notable removal was The Hunger Games collection, of which was removed March 30, 2023. It was in the top 10 Netflix most watched and was one of the most liked. It was also new to Netflix in general.
I find myself with a final question: Will this affect Netflix’s popularity? Will this lead to a desire to stay off of Netflix in case it removes something else that is my favorite? The answer is maybe. For me personally, I will not cancel my Netflix subscription over this as it is still my preferred streaming platform. There are thousands of places to stream content so chances are, if something is not on one, it is on another. Many of my favorites are still on Netflix, so I would stay on their platform solely to watch those. Let’s hope they are not removed. As humans, we fluctuate from place to place, always coming and going. In this time period there is constant entertainment and wanting more, to see the newest and hottest thing out there. We are always consuming and never slowing, leaving us with an unfulfilled sensation. We also have a tendency to want what is familiar to us as individuals and gravitate towards what we are used to. If we combine those, we end up with a cross between wanting and resisting change. Resisting change is in our human nature, we desire what is familiar to us.