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Netflix at the Nexus

Content, Practice, and Production in the Age of Streaming Television

Edited By Theo Plothe and Amber M. Buck

Netflix’s meteoric rise as an online content provider has been well documented and much debated in the popular press and in academic circles as an industry disrupter, while also blamed for ending TV’s "Golden Age." For academic researchers, Netflix exists at the nexus of multiple fields: internet research, information studies, media studies, and television and has an impact on the creation of culture and how individuals relate to the media they consume. Netflix at the Nexus examines Netflix’s broad impact on technology and television from multiple perspectives, including the interface, the content, and user experiences. Chapters by leading international scholars in television and internet studies provide a transnational perspective on Netflix’s changing role in the media landscape. As a whole, this collection provides a comprehensive consideration of the impact of streaming television.

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Chapter 5. Netflix and TV-as-Film: A Case Study of Stranger Things and The OA (Ana Cabral Martins)


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A Case Study of Stranger Things and The OA

Ana Cabral Martins

For the last two decades, the emergence of digital content distribution has made filmed entertainment available through a myriad of new platforms and formats thanks to this technology. Online digital platforms, such as Netflix, have been erasing medium-specificity, i.e., features that are unique to the nature of one particular medium, specifically cinema and television.

This blur between cinema and television has also increased through the same treatment offered by platforms such as Netflix to its properties, including episodic content such as their original “television” series, or films they produce or buy to distribute. The Cannes controversy over Bong Joon-ho’s new film Okja (2017) that led the festival to proclaim that Netflix films will not compete for festival prizes starting next year is proof of Netflix’s disruptive force.

As both cinema (see the shared universe model of the Marvel Cinematic Universe1) and particularly television, have become increasingly serialized, so too has the appeal of long-form storytelling increased. Evidence of this change can be found in the kind of talent that is increasingly attracted to serialized storytelling, whether on television (ushered in by the likes of the recent Breaking Bad, Mad Men, True Detective series) or in streaming platforms under the guise of “quality television.” ← 81 | 82 →

The impact of long-form storytelling has led to examples of such televisual...

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