Netflix is testing a feature that I am referring to as a “sick day function” — an option to turn off that pesky pop-up that appears after watching three episodes in a row of something to ask if you’re still watching.
The new feature looks like it’s been in testing for a while in certain regions, and a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to The Verge today that the feature is still in testing mode. Over the recent weeks, however, excitement over the feature has hit Twitter and TikTok. It is exciting! A box appears that asks if you’re still watching or if you want to “play without asking again.” Hypothetically, if you’re in the middle of rewatching Supernatural and don’t want Netflix to interrupt you every three episodes, hitting “play without asking again” will allow you to binge to your heart’s content.
Look, the “still watching?” feature is, in all practicality, good. People fall asleep to Netflix, and it’s not great for anyone — the environment, our bills, our minds, probably — if Netflix is running all night. At the same time, the “still watching?” question makes my blood boil every time. It’s just... so condescending, the same way that if I spell something wrong in Google, I don’t need to see a sentence in all italics at the top of the page asking, “Did you mean?” If I want to sit on my couch for 12 hours and stream Lucifer or Schitt’s Creek without interruption, that’s my business, Netflix.
There’s a reason that I’ve dubbed this the “sick day function.” Picture this: you have a terrible head cold or flu. The Apple TV remote is lost somewhere because the Apple TV remote is always lost somewhere. Or maybe you’re using a PlayStation or Xbox controller, but it’s charging, and it’s too far out of reach. Then, the dreaded “still watching?” message pops up, and, in your fever-induced, exhausted state, all you want to do is yell, “Yes, you stupid thing, I am still watching!” (This is also good for when the next season of Stranger Things comes out, and we’re all racing to finish it in one night so Twitter doesn’t spoil it for us.)
There are very few product updates that make me go “thank you!!!,” but this is indeed one of them. I hope Netflix rolls it out to all of us soon, ahead of cold and flu season, when we’re just going to want to watch New Girl again while sitting on the couch with a runny nose and a box full of tissues. (Please don’t judge my TV choices, we’re all just trying our best... my best just happens to include marathoning Lucifer.)