Monday, October 23, 2017

Why Netflix Should Let Users Disable "Skip Intro"

The past two weeks I have been getting caught up on the original Twin Peaks on Netflix. For that reason, I watched two episodes on each of the past two Saturday nights. The Saturday before last I noticed something odd. For some reason on the second episode that I watched the opening credits were skipped. Thinking I must have hit fast forward by mistake, I simply rewound the video to the start of the opening credits. This past Saturday it did the same thing on the second episode I watched. Thinking it must be some kind of glitch, I did a search on Google. As it turns out, it seems Netflix automatically skips the opening credits of shows on some devices (such as my Samsung Smart TV) when one is binge watching them.

Now I knew that Netflix had introduced a "Skip Intro" button earlier this year for those philistines people who want to skip the opening credits of shows. For those unfamiliar with the "Skip Intro" button, it is a button that appears any time you hover over the opening credits of a show. Now I would never use the "Skip Intro" button, but I really have no strong objections to it. That having been said, I have a big problem with Netflix automatically skipping over the opening credits of shows with absolutely no input from me.

The simple fact is that I enjoy watching the opening credits of shows, even when I am binge watching them. To me opening credits are part and parcel of the television viewing experience. Opening credits tell one who stars on the show, who produces the show, and often who guest stars on the show as well (the last is particularly true of shows produced in the Sixties and Seventies). And many opening credits are works of art in and of themselves. I have actually watched the opening credits to such shows as Mission: Impossible, Mad Men, and Batman on YouTube simply because I enjoy them so much. Of course, that brings me to another thing. Quite simply, many shows have great theme songs that I dearly love. In addition to Mission: Impossible, Mad Men, and Batman, I also love the theme music to such diverse shows as The Monkees, Bonanza, Cowboy Bebop, and Cheers. Ultimately, even when I am binge watching a show, I want to watch the opening credits every single time. I do not want to "skip" the "intro".

Of course, beyond my love of TV shows' opening credits, there is also the simple fact that I think watching the opening credits of TV shows is the right thing to do. Credits sequences are a means of giving credit to those people involved in the creation of TV shows and movies. From the star of a show to the key grips who worked on it, everyone gets some recognition in the opening and closing credits. In skipping the opening credits, then, people who worked on the show (for the opening credits usually the lead actors, the producers, the creators, and sometimes the writers and directors as well) are not being recognised by a particular viewer for what they have done. Indeed, credits are a very important thing in the television and motion picture industries. The DGA, SAG, and WGA all have rules regarding credits in television shows and movies. Often the size of the name of a particular actor, director, or writer should be in the credits will be written into his or her contract for any particular movie or show. In automatically skipping intros, Netflix is then denying that opening credits, a very important thing to many in the industry (not to mention television connoisseurs such as myself), are important at all.

Anyway, this weekend I sent a complaint to Netflix about automatically skipping intros. I let them know that the "Skip Intro" button might be fine for those who want it, but those of us who want to watch the opening credits should not be forced to rewind to do so when we are binge watching a show because Netflix automatically skipped the intro. Quite simply, much like the Auto-Play feature, Netflix should have a place in settings where one can disable "Skip Intro".

I am truly hoping that Netflix will listen to me. I am sure that I am not the only viewer who likes to watch the opening credits of shows and I am sure I am not the only one who hates it when Netflix skips the opening credits automatically. Regardless, until such time as Netflix gives us a means to disable the "Skip Intro" feature, I will be rewinding to watch the opening credits every single time Netflix automatically skips them.

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