Stop watching bad TV!

Netflix has several teen-oriented shows that lack in both originality and quality.

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Stop watching bad TV!

Riverdale is just one example of the formulaic, poorly-done shows that nevertheless is popular among teen viewers.

Riverdale is just one example of the formulaic, poorly-done shows that nevertheless is popular among teen viewers.

Riverdale is just one example of the formulaic, poorly-done shows that nevertheless is popular among teen viewers.

Riverdale is just one example of the formulaic, poorly-done shows that nevertheless is popular among teen viewers.

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Netflix has had endless success since it started creating its own original shows and movies in 2013, with the release of the wildly popular House of Cards. If you talk to anyone about what they like to watch, they’ll most likely rattle off a list including Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Bojack Horseman, Ozark, Narcos, The Crown, or any number of other shows that have completely skyrocketed in popularity.

There’s no denying that Netflix has created its fair share of quality, original shows and movies, but as with many things, Netflix’s shiny facade has an unsightly, grotesque underbelly. In this case, the underbelly is the swath of bland, recycled, cliched, and particularly lazy shows, many of which are oriented toward a teen audience.

The issue, however, isn’t just that the shows are bad, but that they do extremely well. People enjoy watching them, and they often have massive success within their target audience.

Many of the shows and movies Netflix puts out for younger audiences lack the originality and relatability that makes for good teen-oriented content, and tend to rely on tired tropes and stereotypes instead of verging from the norm and creating something more innovative and fresh.

Unfortunately, the teenagers being pandered to with the unimaginative content actually enjoy it, and enable more of it to be created and then forced on Netflix viewers.

The most notorious case of bad teen Netflix programming is undeniably the show Riverdale, an Archie comics reboot that has been endlessly promoted by the site since it’s introduction to Netflix in January of 2017, which resulted in a surge of popularity, primarily from its target teenage demographic.

Riverdale has been both endlessly praised and ridiculed, depending on where you look. For those who love it, the show can do no wrong, even when it recycles the same tropes, the same plot lines, and the same cringe-inducing lines. For those who do not love it, it’s hard to ignore the cliches, absurd storylines, questionable acting, and blatant pandering to its primarily female teen audience.

In many ways, the show seems to value visuals, like familiar vintage settings, glowy, oversaturated colors, and the attractiveness of its actors, over the actual content of the show. Some dedicated viewers have even admitted that the show often devolves into nonsensical or out of place B-stories and musical numbers, or that watching the show is more of a “guilty pleasure” than a serious viewing.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that the show, now into its third season, is still growing in popularity. Despite being unoriginal and often cringe-worthy, the show has still managed to create a dedicated, loyal audience who will continue to watch it, even as it becomes more and more inane.

But Riverdale isn’t alone in this sea of bad content. Recently, Netflix released another reboot in a similar vein to Riverdale. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, (based also on the Archie comic book series of the same name), although slightly more varied and original in premise, is still burdened by the chiches and visual overproduction that plagues Riverdale, and is of course another unoriginal, rebooted show that brings very little to the table, beyond blatantly catering to its audience under the guise of being more progressive and forward thinking than it’s source material.

In addition to these shows, other new series that debuted this year, like Insatiable, as well as teen movies like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Kissing Booth, and Sierra Burgess is a Loser do little to improve on the genre they fall in, and yet all soar in popularity, for at least some time. Even though they draw criticism from some viewers, the vast majority of their audiences gush endlessly over the characters, the visuals, and most importantly, the actors.

Viewership for Riverdale peaked this year, with the season two premiere of the show raking in 2.3 million views. The hit movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was revealed by Netflix to have garnered over 13 million Instagram followers for one of the lead actors in the film, Noah Centineo. The other lead in the movie, Lana Condor, was revealed to have gotten over 5 million new followers after the release of the film. In many cases, not only do the shows and movies succeed profoundly, but the actors themselves.

The problem, really, is that these shows and movies don’t get popular because of their predictable plots and trope-laden lines, but because of the people who deliver them. By consistently hiring the same attractive, popular, and already loved actors to play roles in their new releases, Netflix doesn’t have to worry about making something innovative and fresh for its teen viewers. By simply hiring the right actors, the right people to portray their stereotypical characters, they’ll always find success.

So it’s unlikely that Netflix will improve on their teen content anytime soon, because there’s simply no reason for them to change. In the world of Netflix, if it’s not broke, they won’t fix it. And things aren’t quite broken yet.

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