Static: Netflix list shifts in circle of digital life

George Lang: Netflix adds and drops dozens of movies and television shows each month.
By George Lang Published: January 6, 2014

Netflix giveth, and Netflix taketh away.

This happens every few months and a good portion of the Internet sets its hair on fire over it: Netflix adds and drops dozens of movies and television shows. This means that a Netflix user's “My List” can change pretty dramatically overnight, and 2014 began with some significant streaming shifts.

The focus is usually on what Netflix sheds from its service. On Jan. 1, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was erased from Netflix' memory, as were “Serpico,” “Being John Malkovich,” “Do the Right Thing” and about 80 other movie titles and five television series. These sudden losses inspire reams of digital hyperbole — and occasional heavy-breathing Wall Street think pieces on Netflix' perceived corporate vulnerability — as viewers discover that “Troll 2,” “Perfect 10 Model Boxing (Volume 1)” and “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” are nowhere to be found. Inevitably, there's a rash of empty “I'm canceling my subscription!” posts in comments sections.

However, Netflix added about 70 titles that same day, including “Raging Bull,” “American Psycho,” “The Apartment,” “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Bull Durham,” along with the final four seasons of “Dexter” and, for gentler mystery-solving entertainment, a whopping 259 episodes of “Murder, She Wrote.” Furthermore, Netflix users with unusual amounts of free time can now watch both versions of “Red Dawn” back to back and compare the subtleties and subtexts.

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