Netflix and the heroic binge

movie & TV August 25, 2017 14:00

By The Nation

2,860 Viewed

Netflix superpower? It’s about knowing what viewers should watch next, especially if it’s something they’d never expect.



Case in point, one in eight Marvel Television viewers were new to comic book-based content before discovering their first heroic binge on Netflix1.

Viewers are finding their way to the adventures of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist through “The Defenders”. And it’s not by chance, it’s by design - more than 80 per cent of all shows are discovered through Netflix recommendations.

“At Netflix we know genres are just wrappers, which is why we work hard to create algorithms that help members break these pre-conceived notions and make it easier for them to find stories they’ll love, even in seemingly unlikely places,” says Todd Yellin, vice president of Product.

Getting over a genre bias isn’t limited to the Marvel Universe. One in five “Stranger Things” fans were new to horror before entering the “Upside Down2”. Similarly, one in seven “Black Mirror” watchers were new to science fiction before exploring the dark side of technology. 

Looking into the shows those new to the genre watched most before its four Marvel series, Netflix uncovered interesting patterns that act as a bingeing gateway to the Marvel Universe. 

Anti-heroes and moral ambiguity lead viewers to Marvel’s “Daredevil”. 

Stories that dabble in life’s grey area heighten viewers’ senses for “Daredevil”, like the political turmoil of “House of Cards” and the thin lines of family loyalty in “Bloodline”. As do characters who blur the lines between vigilante and villain, like Walter White’s entrepreneurial antics in “Breaking Bad” and Dexter Morgan’s homicidal heroics in “Dexter”.

Sharp humour, strong females and dark crime draw watchers to Marvel’s “Jessica Jones”.

It’s Jessica Jones' sharp wit that makes her binge-worthy. Series with smart humour, like “Master of None” and “John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid”, draw viewers to Jones as do stories with strong female leads, like “Orange is the New Black”. A nod to her detective roots, series immersed in dark criminal worlds also do the trick, like the psychological thrill of “Making A Murderer”.

Dangerous worlds and complex consequences direct viewers to Marvel’s “Luke Cage”.

Shows that expose the dark side of society draw viewers to Luke Cage, like the question of guilt in Amanda Knox and the examination of technology in “Black Mirror”. Similarly, series immersed in dangerous realms, like a cartel-ridden Medellin in “Narcos” lead watchers to Cage’s world.

Edgy coming-of-age tales steer watchers to Marvel’s “Iron Fist”.

Grit isn’t the only path to a comic binge. Edgy coming-of-age series, like “Love, Shameless” and “13 Reasons Why”, bring viewers to Danny Rand and his transitional tale from orphan to crime fighter. The passage from warrior to winner also struck a chord with viewers courtesy of “Ultimate Beastmaster”.