Do you still remember the hymns to the supposed triumph of “Quality TV” over program television? When the colleagues came to the office overnight because they had watched several seasons of “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones” in one go? When the friends bragged about how damn self-determined their nightly Netflix program has been since they canceled cable reception?

Netflix was the pioneer who first recognized the longing for individuality in the series marathon and made a big deal out of it. With more than 200 million users, the streaming service is one of the few profiteers of the pandemic – and overloads its own library with one in-house production after another. For the user, the decision-making whether the overwhelming offer is increasingly difficult.

For all undecided people, Netflix recently introduced a shuffle option. “Play something” is the name of the function in German-speaking countries-of course not something, but a film or series found by the algorithm to fit. It is not chance that determines the program, but the mathematical calculation of viewing habits, length of stay and preferred genres. The evaluation of this data affects upcoming productions and eliminates the random moment of art that Leonardo da Vinci and Marcel Duchamp already took advantage of.

Iron in peace while the telly is running

Cultural pessimism is not appropriate despite the bleak prospects. After all, the algorithm is not half as clever as its programmers hope. For example, if you liked the novel adaptation “The Queen’s Gambit” about the youthful chess genius Elizabeth Harmon, the family gangster drama “Peaky Blinders” is turned on in shuffle mode. This is about as fitting as if you were interested in the “Mountain Doctor” just because you liked “Grey’s Anatomy”.