Netflix Is Taking Over The World And No One Seems To Be Worried About It

Anyone else fast forwarding to a Black Mirror-style future where Netflix literally controls everything we watch? Just me?

Netflix Is Taking Over The World And We’re Not Sure That’s A Good Thing

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Updated on

‘Are you still watching?’ is a loaded question that, by now, we’re all too familiar with. What we can only imagine to have been Netflix’s well intended method of making sure you hadn’t accidentally fallen asleep and left the second season of Riverdale playing in the background, started to feel accusatory and judgemental. It started to feel like an awkward reminder that, yes, you are binge watching a show alone in the dark, wearing the same clothes as yesterday with a sprinkling of Dorito dust in your hair.

And, as most relatable realisations do, it became a meme. A really funny one, of course. But what if our obsessive Netflix habits have surpassed the lol-able boundaries of memedom? I don’t mean to alarm anyone but Netflix owns our asses. And that could become something a bit more sinister than we realise.

On an uninspired weekday evening over the Christmas break, I was watching TV with my nan. Her routine is pretty standard - she puts the news on, flicks to another news channel, hovers over a cooking show for a while, gives up and then hands me the remote. Don’t laugh, but it was the first time I’d held a remote control in quite a while – why would I need to when I have a phone and a laptop? But the fact that I noticed the novelty of it felt really, really odd.

I didn’t read too much into it at the time, and proceeded to merrily flick through unfamiliar channels to find something to fill the couple of hours before dinner. After too many minutes of tuning in, not understanding and then switching to another channel, I found myself getting overwhelmedly wound up by the irregularity of it all.

READ MORE: 25 TV Shows You'll Definitely Remember If You're A True 90s Kid


90s TV Shows

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air1 of 25
CREDIT: Youtube

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Who can forget Will Smith and Carlton Banks in this American sitcom ... "Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned up-side down"...

Buffy the Vampire slayer2 of 25

Buffy the Vampire slayer

American drama series based on the life of Buffy Summers, who slays vampires and demons

Sabrina the Teenage Witch3 of 25

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Sabrina the Teenage Witch and her magical talking cat Salem

RUGRATS4 of 25


Who can forget Tommy, Chuckie, Lil & Phil (and Dil)? The Nickelodeon show already had four seasons, three movies and a spin-off, and in 2018 it was revealed another series was in the works. Until then, I'm just going to sit munching on my Reptar Bar and rewatch episodes on Amazon Prime.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S5 of 25


F.R.I.E.N.D.S. - Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe

Saved by the Bell6 of 25
CREDIT: Digital Spy

Saved by the Bell

American sitcom based on high school students Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, A .C . Slater, Jessie Spano and Screech Power

Boy meets World7 of 25

Boy meets World

American sitcom based on the every-day life of Cory Matthews.

The X-Files8 of 25
CREDIT: Itunes

The X-Files

Long-running sci-fi based on FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

The Simpsons9 of 25

The Simpsons

Animated American sitcom based on the Simpson family - Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie who live in Springfield

Dawson's Creek10 of 25
CREDIT: Itunes

Dawson's Creek

Teen drama series based on college friends including Dawson Leery

Will & Grace11 of 25

Will & Grace

American sitcom based in New York, based on the relationship between Will, a gay lawyer, and Grace, an interior designer

Arthur12 of 25


American animated series based on the life of aardvark Arthur Read

Dexter's Laboratory13 of 25
CREDIT: Youtube

Dexter's Laboratory

American animated series based on Dexter, genius inventor of a laboratory in the basement of his house, and his sister Dee Dee

The Powerpuff Girls14 of 25

The Powerpuff Girls

American animated series based on super-powered trio Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup

Kenen and Kel15 of 25

Kenen and Kel

American sitcom based on Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell... "Who loves orange Soda? KEL LOVES ORANGE SODA"

Bear in the Big Blue House16 of 25
CREDIT: Playbuzz

Bear in the Big Blue House

American TV series based on Bear and friends Ojo, Tutter, Treelo, Pip, Pop, and Shadow

Animaniacs17 of 25
CREDIT: Google


American animated series based on siblings Yakko and Wakko, and their sister Dot

Seinfield18 of 25
CREDIT: Google


American sitcom based on Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer

Freaks and Geeks19 of 25
CREDIT: Youtube

Freaks and Geeks

American comedy series and teen drama based on high schooler Lindsay Weir and friends

Frasier20 of 25
CREDIT: Amazon


American sitcom based on Dr. Frasier Crane

Full House21 of 25
CREDIT: Itunes

Full House

American sitcom based on the events of widowed father, Danny Tanner, who has to raise three daughters

Recess22 of 25
CREDIT: Recess Wikia


American animated series based on Third Street School fourth-graders T.J, Ashley, Vince, Gus, Gretchen and Mikey

Hey Arnold!23 of 25

Hey Arnold!

Charmed24 of 25
CREDIT: Amazon


Series based on three sisters Prue, Pipper and Phoebe who are all witches with individual magical powers

That 70's Show25 of 25

That 70's Show

American sitcom based on the lives of teenager friends living in 'Point Place', with Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher as part of the cast!

‘How the hell am I meant to settle in to anything without knowing what’s going on when everything’s already fucking started’, I thought as I pleadingly worked my way through the uncooperative TV guide for something that happened to be starting at 17 minutes past the hour. Needless to say, I didn’t find anything. So I surrendered to my internal tantrum, trudged upstairs and watched Love Actually (again) on my own in bed simply because I knew I could watch it on my own terms.

On demand is a blessing. The control is very much in our hands and we can orientate our viewing schedules to our time-precious lifestyles, which have inevitably changed quite dramatically since television first became a thing all those decades ago. But at what point does that become a problem?

Watching live TV is a bit of an occasion, these days. Save for First Dates, Great British Bake Off and last year’s Love Island phenomenon, it’s hard to pin point the time of day that we organise ourselves on mass around pre-scheduled programming when we’re so used to doing it the other way around now. We squeeze a couple of episodes of streaming services’ various offerings into our commutes, our lunch breaks and that last precious hour before going to bed. And at the centre of this web of on-demand dependency is Netflix, the black and red beacon of uninterrupted telly viewing.

I know as much as anyone that other streaming services are available, of course.Amazon Prime TV has some incredible shows at the moment. BBC recently announced a similar service with it’s back catalogue of classic TV shows. Hell, All4 is great too. But if I’m going to go back and watch the first and second seasons of Skins (aka, the best two), then I’m probably going to go and do that on Netflix rather than the On-Demand service of its home channel. Sorry.

Netflix dominates, you see. And that’s just something we’ve all come to expect. Since announcing their 8-billion-dollar content budget for 2018, actors, directors and huge production companies are flocking to Netflix in huge numbers. Netflix made history in becoming the first streaming service to get eight Oscar nominations – a huge accolade after the controversy of enteringnon-cinema release films into Cannes Film Festival last year.

Netflix became a verb years ago back when the internet coined ‘Netflix and Chill’, a phrase-cum-meme that has surpassed that awkward window of still being socially acceptable to share without seeming out of touch (and not funny), and landed as quite simply being one of those phrases we slip into conversation without really noticing. They have an expected 128 million subscribers worldwide, and while that’s just a fraction of the global population, it’s still twice as many people as there are in the UK, half of the US, and that’s a serious level of influence. And that’s only expected to grow.

You can’t help but wonder where that level of influence and access becomes too much. The answer is probably when the scores of data that’s gathered by such a substantial company is used less than admirable ways. You might remember when Netflix tweeted ‘To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?’. Some people were into it, but others thought it was inappropriate, invasive and not as funny as they probably thought it would be.

It quite rightly called into question Netflix’s use of data that they so famously keep very tight lipped on. And of course, the awkwardness and general scepticism around just how much Netflix know – and actively monitor – our viewing activity doesn’t go away all on its own. At least, it hasn’t for me.

This doesn't mean that my Netflix viewing habits have lessened at all. Lol, don't be ridiculous. I'm one of the many who quite literally imagine life without it. But, call me paranoid, I can't help silently panic a little when I realise how long I spend scrolling through the endless list of titles when it would probably be a lot easier to just pop E4 on and be done with it. I hesitate, albeit momentarily, when I recall that story about the person who received an email from Netflix to check they were okay after it noted a change in their viewing behaviour.

I can't be the only one who's a bit nervous about this shift in power that so many of the older stations don't have a chance of keeping up with. I'm not one to stand in the way of technological progress, but is anyone else fast-forwarding to a Black Mirror-style future where Netflix literally controls what we watch? Just me? Okay.

Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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