Settling in to stream a show or movie, then spending the next approximately 20 minutes to three hours browsing for an option has become one of America’s favorite pastimes. We’ve all been there.
But Netflix, which accidentally helped popularize the practice with its seemingly unlimited content, is here to help you choose. Instead of scrolling mindlessly until you settle on something, the company is currently testing ways to play a random popular episode of a sitcom
As The Verge reported, some Android users are currently seeing a “Play a Popular Episode” section on the homepage of their Netflix app. Some of these “popular” episodes include Netflix mainstays like The Office, Arrested Development and Our Planet—sure to hit the spot during a binging dry spell.
But it’s not just pushing viewers toward already-popular content that Netflix is hoping for. The platform is also testing a feature that encourages customers to click on and view random episodes of what sounds like anthology-based shows. In fact, this feature is literally being dubbed “Random Episode.” While this could be useful for those hoping to catch an episode of a popular show here and there, it doesn’t exactly boast a great viewing experience for users hungry for discoverability. Admittedly “Random Episodes” definitely sounds useful for those who passively enjoy say, Friends reruns, while cooking or cleaning.
The company hasn’t confirmed whether the features will be coming to all devices in the near future.
It’s unclear why Netflix thinks auto-playing anything for its customers is a good idea. The platform already catches a lot of flack for auto-playing trailers promoting its latest offerings, with a focus on its original content.
Earlier this month, Netflix decided to axe the beloved AirPlay streaming capability from its mobile app, no longer allowing users to beam content onto their Apple TVs, shortly after Apple TV+ was announced.
It’s evident that all of Netflix’s latest algorithm tweaking is a direct reaction to new competition. Within weeks, the platform was infamously left off of Apple TV’s new channel lineup, along with suffering from a lukewarm Q1.