View Finder: A series of fortunate television events

Nick Broughall 25 November 2016

viewfinder snickets

Netflix is jumping from win to win with its original programming according to GFK, and we're hoping that's not going to change any time soon.

2016 hasn't been overly kind to the entertainment industry. This is the year we lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling and – worst of all – Prince. But in a year filled with mourning, the kids from Netflix's Stranger Things were a beacon of light and happiness.

There's no arguing that Stranger Things was one of the best shows of 2016. This week, analytics firm GFK gave us an insight into just how good it was.

Surprisingly, the 80s setting and Goonies vibe wasn't just a hit with older people like me desperate for a geeky nostalgia hit. GFK says that the largest demographic for the show was in fact 18-34 year olds, which obviously means that young people not only have excellent taste in Netflix shows, but that they were probably also looking for fashion tips.

Also interesting was the ongoing demand for the supernatural thriller. Eight weeks after it launched, Stranger Things was accounting for 7% of all streaming video streams according to GFK's data. Comparatively, both Narcos and Making a Murderer had dropped to 3% by this stage.

Season 2 of Stranger things has gone into production, and will double down on the Goonies factor with Sean Astin joining the cast alongside Paul Reiser. Hopefully they can capture the same magic the second time around.

Now, for the bad news...

The terrible, horrible, devastating story of the Baudelaire orphans has been given an official trailer. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events will land on Friday 13th January next year, and Netflix is going to make everyone feel awful about it.

I read the 13 books of this series just over a decade ago as a distraction from the reality of a terminally ill family member. It's funny how sometimes simple kids books provide the best escape. Anyway, it was simple and ridiculous enough to make the reality I was living seem less awful, and while I won't say I hated the Jim Carrey movie, the books were always more suited to a TV series than a single film.

First impressions from the trailer have me super excited. Neil Patrick Harris looks to be perfect as Count Olaf, and having Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket is encouraging (though he'll always be The Tick to me). Looks like the books have just jumped to the top of the list for bedtime reading with my kids, too.

Will the real comedians please Stan up?

Stan's announcement earlier this week that it had commissioned a range of Australian stand up specials for 2017 is yet another reason it is still standing while rival local service Presto is fading away.

But it also highlights how the global nature of Netflix makes it tough to compete with. Yesterday, Netflix announced three stand up specials from Dave Chappelle, including an all-new set plus two unreleased sets from a couple of years ago.

If I'm brutally honest I can comfortably say I'll never watch any of these. I much prefer my streamed comedy to have a narrative. But the fact that Netflix has countered Stan's announcement with its own major international comedian in the same week shows the strength the market leader has.

I did think that stand-up comedy would be Netflix's approach to Australian content, but instead they seem to be happy signing licensing deals for shows like the ABC's Glitch for the moment.

I think Netflix will get around to creating Aussie Netflix originals eventually. But until Australian originals can promise the same demand as something like a Gilmore Girls reboot, it's well down the priority list for the streaming giant.

That said, if anyone's got a killer idea for that kind of show, give Netflix a call (or Stan, those guys are probably pretty keen too). Or drop a comment below with your idea, hit us up on the finder tech Twitter account or Facebook page. I promise we won't steal it.

There's not much of November left, but you can check out everything that's coming to Netflix, Stan, Presto and Hayu in Australia for November here. Want to get a jump on your festive streaming plans? We've got the full rundown of December's streaming options here.

Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in streaming TV and movies for Australians.

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