I wasn’t actually in a famous 90s TV show. That’s the first line of the ending credits theme song of Bojack Horseman, which is one of my favorite shows on Netflix.
It’s an animated show about a talking bipedal horse who starred in a popular 90s sitcom about a horse raising three human orphans titled, “Horsin’ Around.” The show deals with his life about a decade after his popular sitcom ended. Now Bojack Horseman is rich, living in the Hollywood Hills, and dealing with serious life issues. The show’s as strange as it sounds but it’s spectacular and represents why Netflix is killing it. These types of comedies would never make it on TV, maybe it would be picked up on cartoon networks Adult Swim.
Shows like Bojack Horseman and Kimmie Schmidt are what make Netflix great. Netflix sits in the best position on any of the future media companies who will dominate the online content business. The way Netflix is producing quality content will make it hard for HBO to even keep up.
As of right now, HBO still operates on the typical television schedule. They only release certain shows at certain times of the year and then you need to wait a week to watch your next episode. They release about three new shows about every few months. HBO depends on hits. The lead field in terms of consistently high production quality. Nobody makes a show like Game of Thrones, except HBO. That’s what makes them great and a major competitor to Netflix but when you put out great products people get the perception that everything you produce also needs to be great. If it’s good or okay, then it sucks. It doesn’t matter that the show could be better than 99% of the content out there. It only matters that it wasn’t as good as True Detective Season One or the Sopranos.
Netflix doesn’t have this problem because they drowned out there mediocrity with scale. Yeah, Marco Polo was awful. At least the first few episodes I watched weren’t great, Lilyhammer is up and down, and there are a whole pile of shows I never even bothered to watch. That doesn’t matter because House of Cards is one of my favorite shows, and Orange, Kimmie Schmidt, and Bojack Horseman are my new favorite comedies. These shows don’t have to be as great as VEEP, which is the best comedy on TV. They only need to be good and different which they are.
What dragged me into Bojack Horseman’s first season wasn’t because it was the funniest show I’ve ever seen. It’s quirks and originality made it funnier than the rest of the stuff on TV.
The battle for the king of content will be a fascinating development where the consumer is the big winner. Will HBO have to change their business model? I think that it’s obvious they have and will have to change more but they won’t become Netflix. There is a premium market out there. Is it difficult to continue to kill it the way HBO has over the years with more competition? It is but as shows like Mad Men, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Breaking Bad have shown that people will pay with their money and attention for extremely high quality shows.
I don’t see anyone beating Netflix on quantity but who will win on quality. That’s the major question. Right now, quality is where HBO is winning but will Netflix eventually start producing enough quality, House of Cards-like shows, to make everyone forget about the alternatives?
Time will tell.
I’ll keep watching my favorite 90s celebrity horse and having the ending credits theme song stuck in my head.