All told, the golden age of the DVD commentary track was a relatively short one, heralded on one end by the death of VHS, and on the other by the rise of streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix, which, for all their merits, don’t spend a ton of energy fleshing out the bonus features of their online offerings.
Now, a new “social tool” has just been launched to help people find a new source of “people talking over your TV and movies,” without having to do all that tricky interrupting work yourselves. Called Scener, the free site combines a Google Chrome extension—allowing you to play sync-ed up commentary videos over your Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube content—and a roster of commentaries from a number of (mostly) well-known YouTube contributors, dishing on stuff like Seinfeld, Boogie Nights, and Netflix exclusives like Orange Is The New Black.
Looking over the library, it seems to be a pretty even mix of “hang out” broadcasts—allowing you to squeal along with whatever awful thing happens next on American Horror Story—and deeper dives, replicating, at least in part, the experience of watching a movie with a well-researched commentary track. (Not that it can necessarily hold a candle to actually listening to a director talk about their choices, but hey, what are you gonna do—purchase physical media?)
Obviously, there’s nothing exactly new about the basic concept here; Twitch and YouTube commentary was already a real, if disorganized thing, and RiffTrax has been selling play-along commentary tracks for movies for more than a decade. But it is a somewhat nifty way to add a human element to your binge watch; at the very least, it’ll save you the trouble of talking to yourself the next time Iron Fist does something especially dumb.