Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hey Netflix, Stop Screwing With My Queue Already

I am an unabashed Netflix lover. I have been a Netflix subscriber for numerous years and loved almost every moment of it (we'll forget about that time I tried out bluray renting and had almost everyone I received be shattered by the time it got to my mailbox...).  However, lately, I've been more than a little frustrated and it is with the section of their business that they're supposedly trying to get everyone to focus on--instant streaming.

Over the course of the last 3-6 months, Netflix have been overhauling their TV series entries in their database. In doing so, they've consolidated all of the seasons of a TV series into one Netflix entry. This may have made sense in concept, but the execution has left a lot to be desired. I see 3 significant problems with this system, and each is mightily annoying.

  1. My streaming queue keeps getting rearranged. I have over 200 titles in my streaming queue (excessive, I know) and they are organized in a very specific manner. As Netflix monkeys around with their television series entries, whenever there is a change to a title in my queue, chunks of it get re-ordered in nonsensical ways. For example, I've been watching Stargate: Universe so it's at the front of my queue. Multiple times, however, as Netflix made changes it kicked the series (along with others at the front of my queue) to areas at the bottom of my queue. I then have to either go and completely re-order my queue or do the long scroll to get to what I want to watch. Now I can understand this happening once, but it's happened at least 10 times now and each time I get more frustrated.
  2. You can't rate individual seasons. You are now only allowed to rate the show as a whole. This is odd for a few reasons. Long shows that have their ups and downs you may want to rate differently by season. For example, the last couple of seasons of Scrubs were almost unwatchable, but the early seasons are completely engaging. But I can only rate the show as a whole now. I guess looking at the series as a whole is ok from a rating perspective, but it does lead into my final issue...
  3. It's harder than ever to keep track of what you've watched with a series, especially if only certain seasons are on streaming. I used to add only the season I was currently on to my queue so I could keep track of where I was. This was helpful with shows that have multiple seasons, and especially helpful if only some seasons were on streaming. Now, you can add a series to your streaming queue, but when you get through what is available streaming it's not obvious whether there's more to see on disc. And as things go from streaming to disc-only, especially if you're in the middle of watching, you can easily lose track of where you were. It's just not a user-friendly way of managing what you're watching, especially if you're a TV junkie (which, I guess, I could see myself as being).
So as much as I love you, Netflix, I implore you to stop mucking around with your streaming offerings, to stop screwing up my queue, and to undo this new TV series organizational scheme. It's not helpful at all. I doubt that anything will change, especially with the dominance in the market that Netflix now has, but I can hope, right?

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