Netflix releases a bonus episode of 'Sandman'.  It's another proof that he wants to distance himself from binge-watching.

Netflix releases a bonus episode of ‘Sandman’. It’s another proof that he wants to distance himself from binge-watching.

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Despite the not particularly unanimous criticism, ‘Sandman’ has been at the top of Netflix’s most watched for two weeks, and the second season has been almost confirmed although not officially announced. It is logical that Netflix has considered stretching a little the good feelings that it has left among its fans, and for this reason it has launched a bonus episode, an eleventh story adapting a couple of stories that didn’t fit into the main plot.

So it has been with this special chapter divided into two parts. These are ‘The dream of a thousand cats’ and ‘Calliope’, perfect testimonies of how Neil Gaiman’s original comic was structured: a mosaic of stories that gave rise to a very rich accumulation of textures, styles and tones, something that precisely had been lost with the monolithic translation to Netflix images.

In this double episode featuring stories from the original ‘Land of Dreams’ arc, we meet a Siamese cat who fantasizes about a world dominated by cats, and a creatively blocked writer looking for inspiration for his magnum opus tries to find inspiration for his novel. . Both stories are taken from the ‘Dreamland’ arc of the original comics and are available now. on the platform.

What makes this double chapter special is that it is the first time that the series goes into animation (also, with the voices of James McAvoy and Sandra Oh), a format that would undoubtedly have suited the episodes with more load. fantastic production. But apart from a gift to the fans and an opening of aesthetics and narratives that fit with the collective mosaic of the dream world of ‘Sandman’, there is a possible strategic reason for this release.

Binge-watching is over

After a time reigning in the panorama of the streaming with its system of distribution of episodes that favored the binge-watching (ie binge-watching in marathon sessions), Netflix is ​​beginning to change its strategy. This is due to the fact that after infecting other platforms with this system, the saturation to which the viewer is subjected -incapable of consuming everything that is offered, much less doing it at such a high speed- and the need to cut costs has led many platforms to rethink their strategy.

Some platforms like Disney + never turned to the binge-watching, and they always distributed their chapters on a weekly basis. The result is that its main dishes, the ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel series, are gradually enjoyed by viewers, and its echo on social networks and word of mouth works for a longer time. It’s a tactic that even platforms that have tried both possibilities, such as HBO Max or Prime Video, have adopted for their two big fall releases, ‘Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings’. de Poder’, which will come to us in weekly episodes.

But is that even Netflix itself is backing down on its hitherto monolithic tactic of releasing full seasons. We had the clearest example recently, in the division into two installments of the last season of ‘Stranger Things’. These two batches allowed the network conversation to stretch over time, in addition to providing a cliffhanger which suited the internal rhythm of the season.

'The House of the Dragon' is a compressed and simplified version of 'Game of Thrones'.  And it suits you very well

And now repeat strategy with this isolated episode of ‘Sandman’. If the platform sees that it works, let’s not rule out seeing how it repeats it more often, with seasons split in half or with isolated chapters as an appetizer or epilogue for complete seasons. Perhaps, like everything, the streaming it is subject to cycles, and this is one of the many immovable myths that remained to fall.

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