If you keep up with us on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, you already know that we have somewhat of a fascination with the marrying of tech and pop culture. We are loyal watchers of TV shows which develop those cult following viewerships, such as Breaking Bad, Orange is The New Black, Homeland, Shameless, American Horror Story, and most recently, of course, the brilliant House of Cards, where Kevin Spacey just blows us all away as our new, favorite “bad guy.” I mean… come on. He is brilliant in this role!!
What do two of these cult-following TV shows have in common? They are Netflix Original Series. Orange is The New Black and House of Cards are the first of its kind to premier solely on Netflix.
If you have been keeping up with us, you already know that a few of us around here are big fans of everything Netflix is doing right now, and we love the award recognition they have been receiving, most recently as Robin Wright won a Golden Globe for her role as Clare Underwood. Netflix is reinventing themselves and staying relevant as the entertainment world shifts to embrace the future. We should all be taking notes. I wonder how many more subscribers they have received since award season? Is this scary for network television? Possibly. The creators of these two (in our opinion) incredible series are really in tune with their audience and where the future is leading us. Netflix seems to have no boundaries in what they can get away with and that makes for some really fun watching!
Creators know who will be talking about their show, and where. They know that in order to create this cult following they need to make themselves visible. They have accomplished this by creating thrills which naturally make fans want to give play-by-play updates on their Twitter feeds in an almost obsessive way. The creators of these two massive hits “get it.” This is evident in a few ways:
Firstly, the obvious. They release an entire seasons at once. We no longer need to wait week after week for a new episode to air. As we covered during our Oscar app recap, this tactic allows us binge-watchers to stream the entire season (sometimes in one sitting…) the very minute they are available on our Smart TVs, Apple TVs, or whichever smart device you deem superior in your household! This past Valentine’s Day, House of Cards Season 2 was available, making many boyfriends and husbands happy that this year they could get out of that fancy dinner and opt for a quiet night in with the Underwoods.
Secondly, the openness. Recently in the office, the ladies began forwarding around an open-casting call to be an extra in Orange is the New Black. Casting calls took place right outside of New York City. The creators really acknowledged their fans here, giving us a chance to actually get on set and be part of the show we love. Posting open-casting calls all over Facebook and encouraging anyone, experienced or not, to try out for a chance to appear as an extra in this Netflix Original Series was really smart. The requirements were “the scarier looking the better,” so sadly our sweet-faced ladies did not make the cut! But the posting was shared on more walls than I can count, creating even more excitement for the show’s next season while breaking down the walls between fan and actor.
And lastly, the interaction. A few weeks ago Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards, held a Q&A for the fans on Twitter. He opened himself up to questions such as “Which character presents the most problems for you when it comes to writing for them?” to finding out that there was not even a question when it came to the casting of Frank Underwood: “Kevin (Spacey) was our ONLY choice. And if he said no, we might not have done the show. There can only be one Underwood and it’s Kevin!” tweeted Willimon.
With Netflix changing the game and creators speaking directly with their fans in a stripped-down Q&A session via Twitter, our entertainment experience is shifting to digital in every way imaginable.
Do you think instant season streaming will only grow? How can we ever imagine a time where, heaven forbid, we had to wait a week for answers… and episodes. Where do you see this new fad taking us? How will networks try to compete? Well, this past Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported a deal between Netflix and Comcast. What will this mean? We’ll be interested to keep up on those happenings…