Netflix has changed my life in two ways – it has become next to impossible to spend a day without binging on the streaming platform, and yet, the site has made it almost equally difficult to find a new show to watch!
While there may be tons of supporting arguments about how intuitive and flexible the Netflix navigation system is at present, it goes without saying that the amount of time that I usually spend in searching for the right show on Netflix (and right here has many different connotations – where the Netflix-owned match percentage algorithm fails to make significant impact) is usually equal to, or more than the duration of an actual episode or movie!
Mainly, it’s not easy to browse through what titles are being added in order of them being added, and there’s no way to find out if a particular title is being deleted. And when I search for a movie or show that isn’t available, the ‘Titles related to’ section does not justify the kind of content that I’m usually craving for (I said it – scouting for content on Netflix is already a crave-game!)
The problem intensifies when I’m craving for a list of shows/movies similar to something that I’ve already seen on Netflix. In an earlier piece this week, we had discussed why Dirk Gently fans should consider watching The Haunting of Hill House – and I must admit that the in-house Netflix algorithm had done little or nothing to give me that suggestion, leading to more wishful thinking about how to find stuff that I want to watch.
And then, I found Flixable.
Flixable was developed as a solution to the problems mentioned above, by a Reddit user, who, like me, was presumably tired of relying on the existing algorithm to find decent content. It aims to one job only – to enlist, categorize and filter Netflix content better. The UI is clean and intuitive, and sports easy drop down menus that allow you to select your preferred genre. The site also boasts of a timeline seek bar, which lets you select the ‘year of release’ as a range, if you are interested in looking for content that was first released during a specific time frame (For me, a great reference frame is 1986-2014). By default, the timeline extends from 1920 to 2019.
And when you click on a thumbnail in the selection, it takes you to a landing page for that particular show or movie, with all available trailers, synopsis sections, and breadcrumbs that let you navigate back to the genre, or find a list of movies featuring the same director or cast. This is immensely helpful for finding, let’s say – a set of shows that feature Andy Samberg, after I’ve clicked through to the page for Brooklyn Nine Nine.
There’s a ‘watch on Netflix’ button on the page for each show/movie, which opens the corresponding content on a new tab on Netflix, and starts playing automatically if you’re logged in! This is important because it closes the loop to make Flixable a “complete” solution.
Other features that make Flixable a great option for navigating through Netflix, are the modifiable ‘Sort By’ options (you can select to sort titles as per their date of addition to Netflix, their ratings (Flixable records IMDb ratings for all titles), their year of release, and so on.
The only problem right now, is that the current avatar of Flixable has been stocked with global Netflix.com titles, which are slightly different from the selection that’s available in India, but the makers of the website are busy at work to add more region-specific categorization. Finnish titles have already been updated, and work on Canadian Netflix titles is underway. Given the huge market and demand for streaming video in the Indian subcontinent, here’s hoping that Flixable brings about a holistic India-specific Netflix solution soon!