One of the most common posts I see on Facebook these days is simple.
What should I watch?
This questions is usually followed, in frequency, by similar questions like
What book should I read?
Where should I go on vacation?
What car should I buy?
I love that Facebook has become this mecca of crowdsourcing information. It’s kind of the equivalent of going to a party, striking up a conversation with people you may or may not know well and asking for their input on something.
With Facebook, we can eliminate the need to buy food and drink and invite people into our homes. We eliminate the need for idle chitchat and get-to-know-you speak. We can jump right in and ask whatever is on our minds. And when you ask an open-ended question on Facebook, you WILL get an opinion (or twelve). People love to share their opinions.
So what’s wrong with this? What’s wrong with jumping into the nuts and bolts of the information we need? I’ll tell you what’s wrong.
Because I write about entertainment and also co-host an entertainment podcast, Facebook is always sure to show me a friend’s status that’s asking some variation of what should I watch?
And, of course, being the opinionated consumer of entertainment that I am, I answer, but not without a few caveats.
The first thing I need to know is what you want to watch. Are you looking for a TV show? Are you looking for a movie?
The next thing I need to know is how you want to watch. Are you streaming most of your entertainment? If so, where do you stream? Do you have Hulu or Netflix or Amazon or even HBO?
I’d also like to know who you will be watching with. Is this a family situation? (we struggle with quality family shows) Is this something for you and your significant other to watch after the kids go to bed? Are you home sick in bed answering to no one about your viewing choices?
And finally, I need to know what type of shows you like to watch. If you like Fuller House (and if you do, I’m not sure I can help you), I probably won’t recommend Black Mirror.
I find it rather hilarious that, first, people ask such a blanket question with no qualification, and second, that people clearly respond with what their favorite shows are instead of seeing if there might be a more personalized recommendation they can offer.
So, next time you’re crowdsourcing for what to watch next, take a few tips from some of my friends that have asked the question in the right way. You might be surprised at the answers you get.
What’s good: You’re looking for TV shows. You have Netflix and Hulu. You tend to like (pretty tame) crime dramas. That’s perfect. You should get some great recommendations!
My recommendations: Broadchurch, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Law & Order, Making a Murderer, Alias Grace, Sherlock, Monk; for something more intense: Mindhunter, The Fall, Happy Valley, Longmire
What’s good: You’re looking for a comedy series. You need something age-appropriate. You like The Office which shows you have exquisite taste!
My recommendations: The Goldbergs, Parks & Rec, The Good Place, Psych, Regular Show, Schitt’s Creek
What’s good: We don’t know what you want to watch or where you want to watch it but we know what you DON’T want to watch. And it’s god to suck you in because you like to binge.
My recommendations: Ozark, Big Little Lies, Outlander, Shameless, Westworld, The Crown
See how all that works? The more specific you are, the better your recommendations will be.
I had a friend that posted simple: RECOMMENDATIONS needed for new TV show to watch on Netflix or Amazon. And not surprisingly, the comments ranged from The Handmaid’s Tale to Golden Girls. I know there’s an audience for both shows. I’m just not sure it’s the same audience.
So, the next time you’re looking for your next show to watch, remember a few key things for your Facebook post:
What do you want to watch?
How do you want to watch it?
Who do you want to watch it with?
What type of entertainment do you like?
Or, feel free to copy/paste the following and fill in the blanks for your own status:
Friends – I need your recommendations! I’m looking for a (TV show/movie) to watch with my (family/spouse/self). I can stream on (Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/HBO/etc.) and I typically like to watch (genre and show examples).
BONUS: Unless you want everyone to suggest the exact same show over and over again, you might ant to also add something like:
Oh, and by the way, I’ve already seen Stranger Things.
And if that’s not enough to help you, you can also listen to my recommendations along with my co-host Shannon every other week on Stinger: The Entertainment Podcast. Whether or not you listen to our podcast, we’d love for you to join our Movie and TV Discussion group – perfect for questions like what to watch next!