The company has been trying to “productize” some kind of shuffle function for a while now, including a test for a random TV episode feature that it ran in April. Its stated reasons are to give users more discovery options and to give them a quicker way to jump into watching.


It seems unfortunate that Netflix is using yet another algorithm tailored to users’ viewing habits rather than pushing people outside of their comfort zones. The phenomenon of scrolling for half an hour through the same list of suggestions before giving up is a common trope, and the company buries a lot of its offerings. Vulture recently ranked Netflix’s original movies, and I was astonished to see it has over 400 feature films to its name, a ton of which have completely flown under my radar.

That raises another key point for Netflix: It should consider giving users the option to hit shuffle in specific categories. I might give the wheel a spin for films or anime. I don’t particularly want to jump into episode 8, season 3 of Ozark. But if the pandemic continues to throw a wrench in the production of new releases, I’ll probably get a lot more comfortable with the chaos button.