Like its streaming library that draws us in with excellent original series and feature films, Netflix updates other parts of its website/app to give consumers a more unique streaming experience. Some of it is weird, but...well, a lot of it is weird. And the service's newest feature is just such an offbeat addition, bringing the 1990s immediately to mind (for those sentient at the time) with the modern version of the time-honored mixtape. Ladies and gentlemen, Netflix presents: Flixtape. Everybody saw that rhyme coming, right?
The purpose of a mixtape, in a general sense, is to pass along a curated collection of jams that you think would mesh well with the recipient's tastes. Flixtape is, at least conceptually, a decent enough reimagining, letting people slap together a themed string of Netflix programming to share with others, with the added quirks of giving the "tape" a name and a cover, complete with little doodles. It's clearly just a tricked-up version of playlist sharing, but it brings back some of the personalized flair that mixtapes had going for them.
In practice, there isn't much to putting one of these things together. You go to the Flixtape website. You name it. You delete Netflix's not-on-the-money suggestions for what to add, and you add up to six different TV shows or movies. The cover-making is a pretty limited feature, and one wishes that there was more customization to be had here, such as the ability to draw or add other details. But it's fine. I made "The Chortles on Tap Flixtape," which had comedies in it, and I have no problem believing if aliens came to Earth one day, they would be a lot cooler after having watched everything therein.
There were more raised-eyebrow motivations for making mixtapes as well, but I don't know that Flixtape is going to work the same way for young love, unless young folks are starting relationships over shared interest in movies with boobs in them. There was artistic merit in making mixtapes in terms of track order and flow and intended reactions, and that doesn't transfer as well to visual media. And even making a custom VHS tape for someone felt like a craft, while a Flixtape creation is something to be done while leftovers are heating up in the microwave. Progress!
In the long run, I'm more interested in Netflix's "watch offline" update, but I like how the company continues to keep imagination going strong with keeping the viewer experience fresh. So go make a sci-fi Flixtape for someone you know with a bunch of the excellent genre shows in this list, or give a new subscriber the gift of advice by showing him or her the best shows Netflix has on its 2016 schedule.