Netflix, Please Add a ‘Watched It’ Button Already

It's Sunday morning. I am slightly tired and ready to get up. I want something to watch. On mornings like these, my wife and I enjoy watching made-for TV whodunnits or courtroom dramas. However, there are many streaming services available, so it can take a while to find a good one.
After settling on one, we settle down with steaming cups of tea in our hands. But, it soon dawns upon my wife that it is what we have seen. I am not convinced, and suggest that we give it another ten minutes. Sometimes you can't recall a movie because it's a big turkey. Other times it follows a predictable pattern that you only remember seeing it once. My wife insists, "She did it but dressed as the man." She's right. It is obvious. We are back to our endless search.

Streaming services keep track of everything I watch. Why can't I filter what I've watched? It would be great to have a way for me to mark what I've seen, whether it was years ago or via another streaming service. Let's not forget to filter out musicals, The Big Bang Theory and any other content with James Corden. These quality-of-life updates are slow to be added by most streaming services, but it can save you precious time for those rare worry-free weekends.

There are endless libraries

We watch way too much TV, especially after the almost two-year-long intermittent lockdowns. It's not difficult to find obscure gems on streaming services, but I do know that there are. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and others offer rows upon rows of movies and shows, each divided into different genres and categories. However, I am increasingly getting the impression that every row contains the same titles but jumbled together in a different order (look at Prime Video).

Since the beginning, streaming services have struggled to decide what content to recommend. While there are some objective rows such as what's most popular in your country and what's hot, how does this platform decide what you should watch next? Netflix uses a thumbs-up or thumbs-down system but it isn't clear exactly what it does. I was curious.

A spokesperson for Netflix told me that if you rate something thumbs up or down it means you've watched it on Netflix. A thumbs-up should lead to related content suggestions. Conversely, a thumbs-down will result in fewer similar movies or shows. It's so easy.

Netflix has a team of people who tag all movies and shows on the platform as related content. They attach descriptors such as "horror", mystery, understated and ominous to movies like Midnight Mass. The system can then cross-reference tags to suggest other shows and movies. You can choose to not watch the show if you don't like it.

You will be amazed at the difference in Netflix recommendations if you take a look at another person's profile. It doesn't matter how you rate something. This can cause the rating system to feel like it's not doing enough.