Like The Simpsons and deep-fried Mars bars, Netflix has hidden depths lurking beneath its simple exterior.
We don't blame you for missing them - after all, it's so easy to just fire up another episode of Archer (they're only twenty minutes long, after all).
But with a little tinkering with settings and third party software, you can personalise your binge-watching experience in ways that don't initially seem possible.
From manually ordering your 'My List' to delving into Netflix's hidden menus and sub-genres, we've rounded our favourite ways to get the most out of our favourite telly streamer.
Let's get started, (you'll be back to watching Luke Cage in no time, promise)...
1) BE ALL THUMBS
Citing it as “confusing” for users, Netflix ditched its old star rating system in 2017, replacing it with a much simpler thumbs up/thumbs down model. By giving users a binary choice – did we like something, or didn’t we? – rather than asking them to rate something out of five, Netflix has tried to encourage them to rate more items.
The whole point of this, of course, is to feed Netflix’s recommendation algorithms with more precious data, in order to put the shows and movies you’ll actually like right in front of you, and in giving those shows a personal percentage rating (the higher the percentage, the higher the chances you’ll like it). As with a lot of the service’s opaque behind-the-scenes workings, it’s hard to tell how much difference rating things actually makes, but according to Netflix it does play a part (along with your streaming history, and the ratings of other users who have similar tastes to you).
2) Play with profiles
Your little niece might adore Peppa Pig's deep plot lines, but you don’t want it skewing your recommendations away from Jason Statham and John Woo films.
Having separate profiles for your kids, mum, cat and goldfish Gary means that none of their muck will get mixed in with yours, and ensure your recommendations keep running smoothly.
If you're lucky enough to be the only one using the account, you can also use profiles to personalise Netflix's interface and boost your couch potato efficiency - for example, having one profile for 'TV shows' and another for 'Movies'. Just make sure you use ratings to help Netflix cotton onto your plan.
3) Manual mode
Think you know better than Netflix’s algorithms? Luckily, there is a way to manually rearrange the handy ‘My List’ section, which is ordered automatically by default, and create a personal Netflix playlist.
Any edits you make will sync across all devices, such as the PS4 app, and once it's in manual mode this list will let you add notes to TV shows and tells you which are due to expire soon.
4) MIX AND MATCH
Wouldn’t it be great to have one watchlist that combines your favourite Netflix shows with the best of Amazon, iPlayer and Now TV?
JustWatch comes closest to this organisational dream. Sure, you can't actually watch shows in the app, but the ability to search for shows across all of your services is incredibly useful, and it also alerts you when something on your wishlist has been added to Netflix.
The coverage of services is comprehensive, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, to iTunes, PlayStation, the Google Play Store, and everything in between.
5) MAKE A REQUEST
Can’t find your favourite episode of MacGyver on Netflix? Why not go directly to the source and ask them to correct that oversight? Head to Netflix’s title request page and you can feed in up to three suggestions at a time. Of course, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually act on your requests, but at least you’ve tried…
Find your match
6) Extend yourself
If you’re anything like us, you’ll spend more time flicking through endless pages of things to watch than actually watching anything.
That's why it's worth building your Netflix watchlist in Chrome, where you can use browser extensions to pull in extra info. The FindFlix extension handily lets you search Netflix's many hidden sub-genres, like Asian action movies, alien sci-fi and werewolf horror movies. If you’d rather not use an extension to do this, you can pop on over to Netflixcodes.me instead.
Combine either of these with the powerful FlixPlus extension, which, among other things, pulls in reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, and you’ll be the most efficient binge-watching machine since the Binge Watcher model IV 3000.
7) Ask a bot
While AI bots (thankfully) remain a fair way away from infiltrating your toaster and burning you in your sleep, they’re still pretty clever.
Take Facebook Messenger's AndChill bot. It’ll fire over some surprisingly good movie recommendations based on things you tell it you like, along with some trailers so you can get a feel for its choices.
8) Shuffle mode
If you’re feeling particularly flustered after a hard day’s graft and want to choose something with minimal effort, Netflix Roulette will recommend something completely at random.
Well, not completely random, otherwise you might end up watching Avalanche Sharks. Choose filters like actor, genre and star rating, but make sure a strict 'no re-spin' policy is enforced.