First Click: Netflix Unoriginals

April 3rd, 2015


Television provides entire generations of humans with a common historical experience. We drop catch-phrases as punchlines that everyone gets, while relating plot structures to real-life situations:

Oh, your wife was killed in a car crash? Maybe you can recruit your best friend and brother-in-law to help raise your kids just like Danny in Full House? That’d be hilarious.

Media executives know that nostalgia is the comfort food of entertainment. Reruns make us feel warm inside, memories warp mediocrity into a smile, making the trite feel extraordinary, the banal, exciting. Thus the onslaught of reboots, revivals, and sequels that have quickly become the norm for the industry. For every Inception there’s a Scooby Doo, Battleship, and Son of the Mask. For every Melancholia there’s a Blues Brothers 2000, GI Joe, and Speed Racer. Now Netflix is rumored to be reviving Full House, like the reanimated corpses of X-Files (on Fox) and Twin Peaks (on Showtime) already confirmed.

John O’Connor, New York Times TV critic and Irish cyborg killer, called the first episode of Full House “predictable” when it aired in 1987, suggesting the hapless-men-changing-diapers trope would appeal to women because “they may find watching men more diverting than keeping tabs on other women.” Uh hem. Growing up in the 80s as a teenage male who was neither mutant, nor ninja, nor turtle — I couldn’t care less. But lots of people did, and still do: Full House averaged about 1.2 million viewers this week on Nickelodeon.

Nostalgia is lazy, it’s playing it safe, and frankly it’s boring. Just because there are only seven basic plots to story telling doesn’t mean we can’t have unique characters with new personalities engaged in creative twists of fate. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to demand something original from so called “Netflix Originals?"

Five stories to start your day

  1. Netflix may be reviving Full House as... Fuller House

    Fuller House would be a multi-camera project starring Candace Cameron Bure as DJ Tanner, now 20 years older than when the show ended its run on ABC. Reports say Andrea Barber, who played DJ's friend Kimmy, would also star. Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier — aka Danny, Jesse, and Joey — would make guest appearances.

  2. You can now run Android apps on a Mac or PC with Google Chrome

    After launching a limited App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) back in September, Google is expanding its beta project to allow Android apps to run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. It’s an early experiment designed primarily for developers, but anyone can now download an APK of an existing Android app and launch it on a Windows / Linux PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

  3. Sony buys streaming games service OnLive only to shut it down

    Sony has pulled out its pocketbook to snap up streaming game businesses before, and is doing so once again. Today it announced that it has acquired streaming game service OnLive for an undisclosed sum. Interestingly enough, OnLive will not become some new tentacle of Sony's gaming empire, but is shutting down at the end of the month.

  4. France bans pro-anorexia websites and underweight models

    The law, passed Thursday evening, takes aim at "pro-anorexia" websites that promote "thinspiration" to young girls and women, saying they push people to "excessive thinness." An amendment passed Friday morning prohibits fashion agencies from hiring underweight and malnourished models.

  5. Read a new chapter from George R.R. Martin's long-awaited The Winds of Winter

    The Game of Thrones continues. George R.R. Martin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire series and killer of all your favorite characters, has released a new chapter from his upcoming book, The Winds of Winter, on his website. The upcoming book will be the sixth in the much-loved low-fantasy series.

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