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Netflix Is Experimenting With a ‘Play Random Episode’ Feature

Why make a choice when the algorithm can do it for you?


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If you have trouble choosing which episode of your favorite shows to watch on Netflix, the streaming giant may soon have a solution. The company is experimenting with an option that will allow viewers to play random episodes rather than choosing one on their lonesome, rolling out the feature on the Android app before deciding whether or not to implement it further.

“We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app,” Netflix told Deadline in a statement yesterday. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.”

Netflix has many binge-friendly series, of course, and among those the new option is currently available for are “The Office,” “Arrested Development,” “New Girl,” and “Our Planet.” Shows for which the feature is available appear in a new row labeled, appropriately enough, “Play a Random Episode,” and are marked by a red “shuffle” icon that assures viewers they can now revisit their favorite fictional worlds without choosing where to go first.

Though still the biggest streaming service by far, Netflix will soon have more competition in the form of competing services Disney+ and Apple TV+, both of which are scheduled to launch this year with a slate of exclusive original programming. Among the upcoming series set to premiere on Netflix are “Chambers,” “The Society,” and Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us.”

Whether this new feature eases the existential angst inherent in making a decision about to watch — “a wealth of possibilities breeds dread,” as Martin Buber said — remains to be seen, but one imagines that a fair number of customers will be glad to have the millstone of choice removed from their shoulders.

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