We’ve talked about Netflix’s shows many times before, and how can we not when it’s one of the most popular streaming services around. Part of its success is its way of “predicting” what people will like based on what they’ve already seen, this allowed 80% of their customers to get into shows and genres that they never, or had never, thought they would watch. But just what leads Netflix’s algorithm to decide where you should go next?

Thankfully, Netflix recently released a list on how shows are mapped out and what causes you to be led to watching one show or another, finally answering the long awaited question. As you’d expect, the answer was simpler than anyone thought. What Netflix’s system does is put the shows into different tags, while these labels may vary from one show to the next, they still coincide even if minimally.

The list was made with its hit franchise, The Defenders, as a basis as the franchise is made up of four, very different, marvel superhero shows that have all connected into one giant crossover that premiered recently.

It turns out that The Defenders were the ones that lucked out the most from Netflix’s format. According to the company, one out of eight people had no relation to any comically related property before watching either of the Defender shows, and they were all taken there from watching other similar series.

Of course, the same thing happened with other shows like Stranger Things which helped introduced people to Horror or Black Mirror that explored the genres of Sci-Fi.

All that aside, for as much as Marvel’s shows have benefitted from Netflix’s algorithm, they’ve also been used to springboard the public towards other series. For example, fans of anti-hero led shows that explore the grey areas of justice and have their characters face repercussions for their mistakes, such as Daredevil, are led to shows like House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Narcos.

Not all shows are so simple to gauge out though. Jessica Jones, for example, relies on its sharp wit humour and characters, which can link it to other comedic shows and movies such as Master of None and The Ridiculous Six. However, it’s also show that delves into the exploration of psychology and many serious themes that help put it straight into the drama category of other shows like Orange is the New Black and The 100.

Comically, the more heroic and simplistic Iron Fist about a young man coming back to New York to reclaim his parent’s fortune while fighting off a gang of ninjas is also linked mostly with comedic or overly dramatic shows. In this case the vampire drama Vampire Diaries, Love and even the Ultimate Beastmaster which is a reality show.

Granted, you should take all of this with a grain of salt. Netflix is a company that wants you to watch their shows since it all means more revenue for them. So it’s not surprising that it would link each series solely because it has some elements of one thing or the other, especially when, as a service, it needs to get its customers to try out new things.

Nevertheless, it’s still amazing to find out how everything works behind the scenes and just what goes into deciding which shows we should watch or not. It could still use some fixing up and in the grand scheme of things we all still end up watching what we’ve already planned on watching anyway, but the fact that Netflix is willing to improve it as it goes proves its dedication for what it’s selling.



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