You’re not the only one who’s noticed an increasing number of genres in your Netflix queue. A little more than a year ago, Alexis Madrigal wrote an article for The Atlantic about the absurdly specific language Netflix used to personalize suggestions. In the article, “How Netflix reverse-engineered Hollywood,” Madrigal breaks down the vocabulary and grammar of Netflix to conclude that “Netflix has meticulously analyzed and tagged every movie and TV show imaginable. They possess a stockpile of data about Hollywood entertainment that is absolutely unprecedented.”
So when the London design firm Good, Form & Spectacle found Madrigal’s research, it embarked on its own project of Netflix absurdities to create a limited database of genres. (Note that Netflix shut down its public API last fall, so this project may unfortunately not have very long legs.) The resulting Netflix-O-Matic lets you browse Netflix via a randomly generated list of microgenres: Comedies starring Akshay Kumar (five movies), dark Danish independent movies (only two), gritty showbiz movies from the 1980s (just one, Camera Afrique). Even if the database is far from exhaustive, it’s still pretty fun to flip through, and would be a great way for budding film buffs to discover cinematic obscurities. And who wouldn’t want to discover more witty British dramas based on classic literature, or goofy Chinese movies from the 1980s? Plus, this sidesteps the problem of Netflix suggestion you might like Chuggington because the kids got ahold of your iPad again.
You can play with Netflix-O-Matic here.