Netflix Is Apparently Testing A New 'Random Episode' Feature That Sounds Kinda Terrible

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(Image credit: Saeed Adyani / Netflix)

Netflix is testing out something new, and it may not be to everyone’s liking. Never one to hold back from a little experimentation, Netflix is switching things up for its subscribers. Literally!

Netflix is now testing out an option (via its Android app) that randomly picks an episode for you, per an Android Police tipster. In playback controls, there is a shuffle option that allows Netflix to pick a “random episode.” If it selects a random episode from a series you have never watched before, that sounds terrible.

You cannot effectively get into a show that way, as far as I'm concerned. At least, not easily. If the streaming service served up a random episode for a show you are already familiar with, that option sounds a lot less terrible.

When people watch regular television that is in syndication, they are watching a random episode from days gone by rather than one relevant to the show's ongoing arcs. For those who can remember not watching everything on-demand, the concept may have its appeal. There is/was something slightly freeing about that. However, it is not for everyone.

Thankfully, Netflix is giving you a choice on whether to opt in or not. Netflix wants to turn you on to shows you may not have watched otherwise by choosing for you, but you don't have to go with that option, even if you are an Android user who has the choice.

All of this said, perhaps the option doesn't have to be terrible. Considering its prolific library, Netflix has devised a feature that streamlines the arduous task of choosing what to watch. Let’s face it: who of us doesn't spend a lot of time struggling to decide? By then, you could have watched an entire episode of your future favorite show.

You would think that Netflix is using an algorithm of what you have previously watched to suggest something. If that is the case, it should offer content that fits your viewing preferences. It is basically the “more like this” suggestion area in action, which is not a bad thing at all.

Who knows? Netflix may know what you want to watch better than you do. Subscribers do get stuck for a reason. There is an option that tackles this already in place on the streaming service.

When you currently finish a series or movie, Netflix will automatically start a countdown for what it considers a similar viewing suggestion. If you do not make it to the remote in time, it starts playing it. Thanks to that feature, I ended up watching one of the best shows I have seen this year. So, having that option on a broader scale sounds personally exciting.

Plus, using this feature would save a lot of the time spent scanning through the “more like this” option. That category does not currently remove shows you already watched from the option pool. Hopefully, this new option would take that into account. See? Not necessarily terrible at all.

Netflix is continuing to stretch its limits. Giving viewers the chance to select their own adventure in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch means more choices. At the end of the day, it may be relaxing to have Netflix make one for you.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.