Recently I re-instated my Netflix account after finally getting things in my life settled down to a point where I could just sit back and watch some stuff. I have had Netflix streaming off and on for a couple of years now and the biggest problem for me was not so much the lack of content but the broken suggestions system, it would recommend me the most useless crap no matter how hard I tried I just could not get it to adjust to my tastes. Then last summer they launched a new account based system where each person can have their own taste preferences and if one person watches say Doctor Who it does not clutter my list up with Downton Abby and other british crap because it labels Doctor Who “british” instead of “sci-fi”. Anyways I finally discovered a solution that works for me, of course this won’t work so much if you have other people on your account like friends or family so this is more for single people or couples without kids.
First I signed up for all five accounts, it doesn’t cost anything extra and it saves me a lot of hassle sorting out all my recommendations. Here is how I do it,
Primary account, leave this as the catch all account, use it for anything you no matter how random it might be, or set it aside as the “Guest” account if you have company or a cheap ass roommate. The idea is to have one throw away account that Netflix will never get right because you need a place to watch that crap you might like because Scarlett Johanson is in it but don’t want it thinking you like Woody Allen. So this is your junk account do what you want and forget about it.
Then set up the other four accounts as follows,
Pick four categories you are a BIG fan of and set up each account to be tailored to that specific type of viewing. Try to keep it specific enough that you only watch shows or movies from that style of show or movie no matter what. For instance if you use that as your comedies account do NOT watch anything but comedies, do the whole rating game as if you ONLY like comedies, so tell it always on comedies and never on everything that is not comedies. Then you vote hated it on everything it suggests that is NOT a comedy, now it can be campy sci-fi or those cheesy Army of Darkness movies, its okay as long as it is well known to be more on the laughs. Then rate everything that is comedy, even if you personally hate it, 4 and 5 stars, 3 is the minimum here. Use 3 stars for the stuff you DO hate but if it is comedy make sure it is 3 stars, 4 for the stuff you would normally rate 3 and 5 is well anything you would rate 4 or higher. This will seed your Netflix account with nothing but comedies, sure it will suggest comedies you hate but as you watch movies and shows it will learn your tastes much better. Do this for your next three favorites, say have one for childrens stuff or anime and seed it for that, maybe have one that is devoted only to Westerns and ONLY use it for westerns and rate movies as if you are John Wayne’s biggest fan. This will give you four accounts that will help you find the more obscure stuff without burying you in tons of crap you hate.
Remember if something catches your eye that does NOT fit that category you are on, immediately switch to the proper account, after rating it appopriately for that account. To do this, say you are in your Comedies only account but you get a recommendation for Sharknado, funny film but if you watch it you will be flooded with 2 headed shark attack, Croczilla, and the like. So say you have a campy sci-fi or a monster movies account, rate it as 1 star (hated it) OR not interested in your comedies account, switch over to your Monster movies account and rate it 3 stars right now, re-rated it 4 or 5 ONLY if it was something you really liked, keeping in mind everything in that account that is remotely similar to the stuff you might like is always a 3 and up. So say you like Comedies but HATE Adam Sandler, okay in all your accounts rate Adam Sandler movies 1 star or not interested but in your Comedies account rate it a 3, not that you want more Adam sandler but you MIGHT just get that really goofy spoof movie you never knew the name of to show up some day. This system works much better than just having to remember to search for movies once a month in the hopes they got something new or spending time trying to browse the categories as that never works. Or if you do not want to chance ruining one of your accounts, remember you set back that junk account earlier in those rare moments you might find yourself watching Sharknado but not wanting endless sharkmovie suggestions in all your accounts.
My accounts are pretty focused, I have my junk account for all the normal crap but I maintain my favorite sitcoms and comedies and dramas in there too just in case, if I see something interesting I put it in the list and watch it latter.
My second account is set up to be geared towards cartoons and anime, specifically super hero cartoons and anything anime. I also seed it with some sci-fi stuff like Power Rangers and Heroes but keep it mostly for animated and comic book related stuff. So far the recommendations are pretty tight and spot on, I occasionally get a Disney flick, if it is one I like say Lady and the Tramp or Alice in Wonderland, I rate it 3 stars and be on my way, if it is something like Mickey Mouse and the Beanstalk I click 1 star, Be sure to be very careful in these content accounts to rarely use Not interested as it might confuse your distate for Adam Sandler for a hatred of whatever his style of comedy is supposed to be when you like other comedians just not him.
My second “content themed” account is general science fiction, this one i try to be strict with, anything that is sci-fi, fantasy or monster movies, if it has aliens, magic, or even radioactive mutants it is ok, but I mostly seed it with robots and space travel, time travel and futuristic stuff. I down vote all anime, cartoons, and anything that is NOT blatantly sci-fi or sci-fi related, I use the anime account for the cartoons so this one I rate all animated stuff as 1 star or 2 stars if it is something I personally really like but don’t want it seeding my account. I try to leave the horror movies, even the sci-fi themed horror movies for another account because while to me Event Horizon is science fiction to Netflix is is a thriller and thinks I like Hellraiser because of the one set in space.
My third themed account is just that, horror movies, this is anything that is gory, bloody, and scary. NOT violent stuff like Kill Bill but gory stuff like Human centipede or Saw, etc. I try to keep it very specific and I let it suggest anything meant to send chills down your spine. I especially like the early splatter and slasher films and netflix has a really good selection despite not having the super stars of Jason and Freddy to fill in their ranks at least they have the good stuff like Sleepaway camp or Children of the Corn. I also reserve this one for thrillers but only those that feature actual serial killers and are high on suspense, Hide and Seek is NOT for this account but Silence of the Lambs would be.
The fourth themed account I deleted. I was using it for action films but that became too cumbersome and I tried to narrow it down to martial arts and commando style movies but it kept suggesting me crime thrillers and detective movies, not that those are bad or anything but it was not getting that I liked guns and explosions and asskicking not Sherlock Holmes. I might try to reinstate it and be more focused but I also have to keep in mind what my personal tastes are and remember Terminator is Sci-Fi and Avengers is Comic book and keep those in the right account.
Now obviously this is a lot of hard work and most people won’t even bother but if you are like me and it really annoys you to no end that it keeps recommending “Top picks for you” and there is Breakfast at Tiffany’s all because I watched Planet of the Apes and they are both “classics” apparently. I also got tired of telling it how much I HATE westerns but I watched Avengers and all those westerns I gave 1 and 0 stars to suddenly came back because they were somehow related in some alternate reality that Netflix appears to exist in. So there you have it a way to keep your taste profiles organized. Keep in mind if you watch one movie that does not belong your hard work will be for nothing so make sure you keep your junk account nomatter what, even if you mostly seed it with a genre you like. I use my junk account for sitcoms mostly but I also just let it recommend whatever it wants because it just can’t win, one night I watched Hell Raiser one and 2, followed by Thor, followed by Great Outdoors and then down rated every Western they had in their catalog and as soon as I watched Men In Black it thought Tommy Lee Jones was in some western, Will Smith was in Wild Wild West, hey I lied before i really do like westerns and there you go, flood gates opened. It is not for everybody but again if you really do want to use Netflix to discover interesting new movies then it is well worth the effort, I am still waiting for Hackers but it did find me a couple of good alternatives to keep me entertained in the mean time.