You’re watching “Stranger Things” and the emotional, talky scenes are just taking too long. You want to cut to the part where the Demogorgon eats its next victim. Do you dare flip the speed control to 1.5x so you can get to the action parts sooner?
Netflix is beta-testing this new feature for Android phone and tablet users, and if it’s successful, you might have the chance to speed up or slow down a show or movie as you please. Much like you can already can on podcasts, audiobooks and YouTube, you can watch a show faster, where it sounds like everyone is speed talking, but not all high-pitched like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Immediately upon hearing this, Hollywood director and producer Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") weighed in, expressing his distaste for the feature and imploring Netflix to not tinker with their creative vision as was intended.
Director Peyton Reed ("Ant-Man") agreed:
This makes sense if you’re watching the latest Scorsese, but what about something like a reality competition show, where you can do without the overly dramatic pauses and mid-episode recaps?
As viewers, there is a lot of content to consume, and our time is precious as it is. What’s the harm of viewing less, shall we say, “artistic” bits of content a little faster because we have somewhere to be? Shouldn’t we be able to digest media how we want, whether that’s standing on our heads or while we’re playing Candy Crush on our phones? Directors can make movies and shows how they choose and direct us to turn the brightness up or down (like with that super dark “Game of Thrones” episode), or not watch it slowed down, but isn’t it nice for Netflix to give us the choice?
Netflix responded to all the criticism with a statement, saying, “This last test has generated a fair amount of feedback -- both for and against. It’s a feature that has long been available on DVD players -- and has been frequently requested by our members. For example, people looking to rewatch their favorite scene or wanting to go slower because it’s a foreign language title.”
For the record, they aren’t planning on making this feature available on big screens, like TVs, which is a more cinematic viewing experience than your phone, anyway. And, really, should you even be watching “The Irishman” on your phone to begin with?
Netflix, give the people what they want. You need to compete with Disney and Apple now in the streaming arena, after all. And directors, chill out. Because if I have 30 minutes to watch “Gilmore Girls,” you better believe Lorelei and Rory will be speaking a little faster than even they are used to!