Streaming 2018: From Netflix to Disney Fatigue?

Netflix seems to be changing its tack quite substantially. Late last year they have released „Bright” with Will Smith, a movie that was not quite well received, but that has since been hailed as the most-watched original content by the streaming giant. So popular, in fact, that they have ordered the sequel. But other new additions to its roster, including Annihilation (bought from Paramount for a cool USD 55 mln) and Extinction, show the new trend of pushing for more cinematic experience on Smart-TVs and smartphones. Even if the movies aren’t likely to be Oscar-fare (consider the recently flopping Cloverfield Paradox) or even acclaimed by the critics, they hold enough broad appeal to make viewers take a bowl of popcorn and sit on a couch. A feat some may say is dying out in the absence of good traditional TV, but that is now being gradually brought back in the realm of online TV.

But while that is happening for Netflix, there are some other possible reasons for the company trying to veer away from what used to define it. One thing really stands out. The newest original series and movies are no longer even tangentially related to the superhero genre. That may be due to the fact that last few entries of that type from the streaming behemoth have received a „meh” from the audience. Chief among those were, of course, Iron Fist and the Defenders.

However, if you consider the equally unremarkable debut of another Marvel property, ABC’s Inhumans, it quickly becomes obvious that it’s more than just Netflix’s misstep. It speaks volumes about us, the audience, that we are perhaps losing our interest in the once perennially engrossing blockbusters starring the likes of Robert Downey Jr or Chris Hemsworth. What gives?


This may be because of a certain new (or rather quite old, depending on how you look at it) trend – the „superhero fatigue„. Apparently, moviegoers have been a little reticent to watch latest antics of caped crusaders. People are reasonably fed up, as these days, everywhere you look, there is another super-person – be it in the cinema, TV, comic books… The list goes on.

Yet it’s not just superheroes that we are getting tired of. At the Washington Post, Brian Fung explains the phenomenon of the so-called Star Wars fatigue, resultant from Disney’s incredible track record in reviving the previously flagging property. „Disney faces an even greater challenge: developing Star Wars at a pace that won’t exhaust audiences, or the source material, too quickly as executives seek to grow the sci-fi franchise into the size of a small moon,” Fung says. He is adamant that this isn’t just the case with Star Wars, though. „Although superhero movies still make loads of money, a persistent critique of the genre is their formulaic homogeneity and a relentless firehose of content. And it’s a trap that Star Wars would do well to avoid,” he warns.


Elsewhere in the ‚biz, Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige is less worried. According to him, the recipe is to „make films like Thor: Ragnarok, like Homecoming, like Guardians of the Galaxy, certainly like Panther, and the upcoming Infinity War to keep it interesting and change it up.” The variety in superhero genre certainly did allow it to rise both to the lofty heights of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as well as to a more realistic, tonally different „street-level superheroes” from Netflix’s own Jessica Jones and The Defenders.


Meanwhile, Disney makes no bones about the fact that it doesn’t want to compete with Netflix directly. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, said on the topic of their upcoming streaming service, “We have an opportunity to spend more on original product, but not necessarily to go into the volume direction that Netflix has gone because we have this unique brand.”

Even so, the new service is slated to have at least several TV series spun off from the vast galaxy far, far away. Is it that unique, then? It does make financial sense, but it will add on top of their already impressive big-screen catalogue revolving around superheroes and Star Wars. With around four or five original movies per year and five new TV shows (all family-friendly) planned, it certainly seems like more of the same. Does it mean we will eventually catch „Disney fatigue”, not just the Star Wars and superhero variety? Tune in to Disney’s online channel in 2019 to see…


to change one’s tack – zmienić (całkowicie) kierunek działania (o kimś)
substantially – znacząco
to hail sth as sth – okrzyczeć coś mianem czegoś
most-watched – najczęściej oglądany (o popularnym filmie)
to order sth – zamówić coś
roster – harmonogram, rozkład
a cool X – okrągły X (o dużej sumie)
extinction – wymieranie, wymarcie
to push for sth – zabiegać o coś
X-fare – coś typowego dla X, coś zasługującego na X (np. Oscara)
flop – klapa
acclaimed – uznany
broad appeal – który zainteresuje odbiorcę masowego
feat – wyczyn
absence – nieobecność
gradually – stopniowo
realm – kraina
to veer away from sth – stronić od czegoś, odejść
to stand out – wyróżniać się
tangentially – mający z czymś niewielki związek/styczność
genre – gatunek
due to – z powodu
entry – tu: tytuł (np. film, serial)
behemoth – gigant
meh – wzruszenie ramionami, nijaka reakcja (pot.)
chief – główny
to consider sth – rozważyć coś
misstep – złe posunięcie, potknięcie
to speak volumes about sb – wiele/wymownie o kimś świadczyć
perennially – stale, wiecznie
engrossing – wciągający
blockbuster – hit
starring X – z X w roli głównej
the likes of X – ludzie/ktoś pokroju X
what gives? – o co chodzi? czemu? (pot.)
depending on – w zależności od
fatigue – zmęczenie, wyczerpanie
moviegoers – widzowie kin
reticent – oporny, powściągliwy
antics – wyczyny, popisy
caped crusader – zamaskowany mściciel (pot. o superbohaterze)
reasonably – rozsądnie, słusznie
fed up – mający (kogóś/czegoś) dość
be it.. or… – czy to… czy…
phenomenon – fenomen
resultant from sth – związany z czymś, wywołany przez coś
track record – historia dokonań
to revive sth – odżywić coś, przywrócić do życia
flagging – niedomagający
property – tu: marka (znanych filmów, gier itp.), cykl/seria (filmów, książek itp.) produkowana/wydawana przez daną wytwórnię, studio itp.
challenge – wyzwanie
pace – szybkość, tempo
to exhaust – wyczerpać
executive – dyrektor, menadżer wyższego szczebla
franchise – franczyza, marka
adamant – stanowczy
loads of X – masa X, góra X (pot.)
persistent – stały
critique – krytyka
formulaic – schematyczny
homogeneity – jednorodność
relentless – nieustający, wieczny
firehose – tu: róg obfitość, wieczne źródło
to do well to do sth – dobrze zrobić, robiąc coś
to warn – ostrzegać
‚biz – pot. o show-biznesie
head honcho – wielka szycha, gruba ryba
recipe – recepta
infinity – nieskonczoność
to change sth up – wprowadzać w coś innowacje, zróżnicować coś (pot.)
variety – różnorodność
lofty heights – szczyty, wyżyny (czegoś)
tonally – tu: pod kątem tonu/stylu
to compete with sb – rywalizować z kimś
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) – dyrektor naczelny
not necessarily – niekoniecznie
volume – objętość, ilość (czegoś masowo robionego)
unique – unikalny
slated to do sth – mający coś zrobić (w przyszłości/według planów)
to spin sth off – stworzyć coś powiązanego/dodatkowego (do głównego produktu, marki itp.)
vast – rozległy, szeroki
impressive – imponujący
to revolve around sth – obracać się wokół czegoś, być z czymś związanym
to tune in(to) sth – włączyć coś (np. kanał TV)

by Prochor Aniszczuk

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