As you may know Netflix’s first original series that matters (did anyone even watch Lilyhammer?) has come out and it’s kind of a big deal. But for whatever reason no one I’ve talked to in person is treating it as such. Even my professors who are paid to teach about the media industry have barely brought it up, and consequently the students don’t seem to really think about why this matters. Yes, it has been briefly mentioned that Netflix is doing original content, but that isn’t what matters here. What does is the fact that they’ve released the entire season in one big drop. This model makes sense theoretically since Netflix is popular for binge watching, but as the show’s first-run this is something both revolutionary and completely problematic. It’s a move that could change the industry as we know it.
Everything we view in the media exists as carefully constructed, but not always intentional, social commentary. Films and television series are endlessly edited and changed at the hands of executives in suits whose end goal is to make as much profit as possible off the product. Their job is make the video appeal to as many viewers as possible. By the very nature of the job they have to suck out the uniqueness and turn the heavy, vaguely sweet taste of pumpernickel bread into plain old generic Wonder bread. Often this metaphor is actually quite literal with main stream media being predominantly focused upon white males. The average lead of you big budget, blockbuster film or high profile network is almost always going to be a white male. They may throw in a female counterpart or an American-American best friend to so-called diversify the product, but in the end you’re viewing a product told from a particular social view that reinforces a white patriarchal power structure.
Everyday we are surrounded by millions upon millions of signs. The amazing thing about these signs is our mind rarely ever consciously registers them, rather it just accepts them and automatically derives meaning. The study of semiotics is an attempt to look at these various signs in-depth. But before one can study a sign, one must look at what a sign is. A sign is made up of two parts, the signifier which is the image/object/sound itself and the signified is the concept it represents. Each sign has a two types of significations, which is the relationship between the signifier and the signified.
The last week of December I counted down to the new year by introducing a feature I refer to as the Remotely Interesting Retrospective. All week long I wrote about my First Tier and Second Tier series of the year, along with the Other Shows I watched and a collection of the Bits & Pieces I sampled. And while we’re now a week into 2012 I thought I’d post one extra part of the Retrospective. After writing about every 2011 show I watched in the year, I thought it might be fun to do a bonus article on the various shows I caught up on in 2011, despite them not having aired that year. With this last post I’ll have written about every single show/episode I watched in 2011. Hope you’ve enjoyed my 7,000 plus words on my 2011 viewing experience and thanks overall to everyone who read Remotely Interesting during its first year run. It’s been quite the success in my book and I look forward to doing this for as long as I can.