The problem with having too many options is not knowing which one to pick, as what usually happens on Netflix with its massive catalog of original content, licensed TV series, and a gallery of documentaries.
To help curb this indecisiveness, Netflix is testing a feature that would let users watch a "Random Episode" of a TV show.
Netflix Is Testing A Random Episode Option
As first reported by Android Police, Netflix is apparently testing a feature that cues up a random episode of a given series — kind of like a "Shuffle" feature, but for shows. It's only being tested on Android at the moment. The video streaming service has since confirmed that it's indeed currently testing the tool and that it's exclusive to Android for now.
"We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app," a spokesperson for Netflix said, as per Gizmodo. As always with features and services in testing, there's no guarantee if this Random Episode functionality will arrive at some point.
"These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent."
Pros And Cons
It's easy to see the pros that come with this feature. For one, it'll guide users on what to watch next once they're done bingeing the entire second season of The OA. Plus, it helps Netflix push content users wouldn't necessarily explore. It might, for example, offer a random episode of Our Planet to get viewers hooked on nature documentaries even though they don't usually go for that genre.
Conversely, this feature definitely has some drawbacks. For starters, it could be a bit confusing for viewers to see a random episode without first understanding the overall plot, characters, and storyline. This could work for serialized dramas, or shows where there's a "case of the week" in each episode. Sitcoms not heavily reliant on story and plot could also gain some new viewers through this. For shows with character and story arcs stretched across multiple episodes, however, this doesn't seem appropriate or beneficial.
It's worth noting that this feature closely resembles the experience of channel surfing on TV, though. A screenshot provided by Android Police lists Arrested Development and The Office as a couple of the shows included, individual episodes of which one might enjoy even without knowing the overall context. If Netflix limits the feature to just these kinds of shows, then the feature makes plenty of sense.
What do you think of Netflix's shuffle mode? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!