#2. Netflix Doesn't Want Your Precious Cult Classics
Netflix jumped on board instant streaming early, largely abandoning the dying concept of physical media. They also began focusing on quality original programming, rather than relying solely on the beneficence of the cable networks. Netflix has even tapped the angsty nerd market by picking up some prematurely cancelled but massively beloved shows, like Arrested Development. If Netflix continues in this vein, they will have all of the money, and they will drown the very world with it.
But they're apparently not going to surf a giant tidal wave of currency over the backs of your children. Because their CCO is out there saying stuff like:
"The Firefly fan is still the Firefly fan from when it was on TV, and there's fewer of them and they're more passionate every year. Whereas with Arrested Development we're going to be serving a multiple of the original audience. Any of the other shows we could bring back would be a fraction of the original audience."
Netflix's CCO also acknowledged that while the show is popular among their users, "it would be impractical to create new episodes, given the actors have aged and the sets no longer exist."
That's right: Netflix has officially come out and said they not only would not pick up Firefly, but won't be picking up any other shows like Firefly, because they're not a marketable commodity. I don't know about you, but there has not been one single instance where I have fired up Netflix and not seen this:
It's been one of their "most popular" shows since the day they got the rights to it. But it would be stupid to bring it back because it wasn't popular enough?
Don't get me wrong: I like Netflix. I think they're doing great work with Arrested Development (and if they're not, I'm going to personally burn down their homes). And even some of their original series have been really good, or at least they seemed like they might have been really good for about four episodes before you realized that they're just Gross Twilight.
But you can't pick Firefly up because the cast is older and the old sets are gone? That's the best possible way to start again! New sets and years of implied lore to mine are exactly the kinds of things fans of the show would love. Sure, you can't pick up from where the show left off, but you can do way better: You can pick up 10 years later, and show us where they are now -- you know, kind of like the exact thing you're doing with Arrested Development.
#1. HBO Unties Itself from Cable, But Only Literally
A few years ago, somebody at HBO did an amazing thing: They keyed in their access codes, flipped the bright red doomsday switch, twisted the Great and Forbidden Wheel, and cracked open the sealed door to the Cable Bunker. They poked their heads out and looked around at the rest of the world.
"Shit," said HBO, squinting in the first daylight their atrophied eyes had ever seen, "There's Internet everywhere. And they're using it to watch our stuff for free."
To the shock of all, a television network saw the impending threat of piracy and ... adjusted their services. HBO launched GO, a mobile version of their programming untied from the archaic yoke of television. Good lord, an intelligent and reasonable response to a shifting consumer market? Fuck your flying cars; this ... this is the stuff of science fiction.
Aaaand then they required a cable account to sign up for it.
They looked at the wants of the current market, they listened to their consumers, they researched and developed a functional and desired product, and then they shoved it directly up their ass sideways and did a funny little clapping dance while the current market sighed in exasperation. No, HBO, when we said "We wouldn't pirate your shows if we could access them somewhere else," we weren't talking about "the bathroom." We wanted to ditch cable -- that's the point of all of this! The reason tech-savvy people are stealing your shows instead of paying for a cable package isn't because it's too hard to watch them on the lawn; it's the fact that you have a giant fucking wall constructed out of 600 channels worth of bullshit. I'd like to watch Game of Thrones. I'll happily pay you for the opportunity to support quality work. I will not, however, pay for ESPN 8 to keep airing 12-hour marathons of Taiwanese Toe Dancing Competitions and 17 different networks devoted to selling collectible plates.