In a very smart essay on watching television, Anne Helen Peterson outlines "a new television pantheon."
It is, she writes:
[T]here’s what’s streaming on Netflix, and then there’s everything else.
Here's one of the many nuggets of insight in the piece:
The networks have long depended on a concept that scholar Raymond Williams dubbed “flow” — the seamless shift from show to commercial to show that creates a televisual flow so natural it’s painful to get out. Netflix does this as well, creating what one of my students has called “inertia problems.” One episode ends, and the countdown to the next begins in the corner. One season ends, and the next one pops before you. One series ends, and it’s ready with fairly accurate suggestions as to the type of programming you’d like to try next. The more you consume Netflix, the more you’ll consume Netflix.
And it’s not like they’re going to run out of content. As the Hollywood studios have tried to play hardball with what films they will and won’t lease, Netflix has turned its focus to television. And it’s not just quality and quasi-quality television: they’re flush with children’s, reality, and British television, with more seasons — and shows — added every month.