At first, Netflix's own programming made big artsy swings with shows like Orange Is The New Black and Bojack Horseman, and bold flops like Marco Polo. It seemed that the streaming giant was on its way to becoming the new HBO or, at very least, the new AMC (Or, worst-case scenario, the new Starz.). But when it started bleeding licenses in 2018, Netflix made a perplexing pivot and proceeded to pad its prestige with piles and piles of trash. Now, with a constant release schedule of C+ shows like Fuller House, Hallmark-level movies like The Knight Before Christmas and a bunch of Adam Sandler's glorified vacation slideshows, Netflix has been crowned the "king of mediocre," making itself look like an out-of-their-depth kid trying to make an essay look longer by starting every sentence with "on the other hand" instead of "however" or "in order to" instead of "to."
On the other hand, in order to truly understand the service's strategy we have to adjust our vision to 3:4 and look back to the glory days of daytime TV. Hard to imagine but, once upon a time, TV channels didn't even try to fill the entire day with programs, telling everyone who switched on their box before 5 PM to switch it off and go buy war bonds. By the fifties, TV execs finally realized that housewives keep existing even when the men aren't home. Suddenly the race was on to create days' worth of content without going bankrupt. This created the phenomenon of daytime TV, which brought about the rise of cheap and easy programming like game shows, Made-for-TV movies, soap operas, reality TV and anything bland and simple enough to not distract you from ironing your husband's underpants.
That quantity over quality pattern is exactly how Netflix is now trying to mesmerize the 21st equivalent of the lonely housewife: the digitally isolated. And yes, that now includes Big Brother-style reality shows -- though strangely updated for the streaming generation. Like The Circle, which is just Survivor for social media influencers. Or Dating Around, which is like Blind Date for people who've never been swiped right on Tinder. Or the infamous Terrace House, the reality show equivalent of the YouTube comment section under a six-hour-long Let's Play of The Sims. And with this pattern, it's only a matter of time before Netflix starts rebooting soap operas like All My Children. Or suggests to the makers of The Crown that the next season should be 130 episodes of the queen dealing with her evil twin's pregnancy.