11. Netflix and Hulu: “A Relative Amount of Creative Freedom” #CaPC25

11. Netflix and Hulu: “A Relative Amount of Creative Freedom” #CaPC25 January 1, 2014

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013. 

Previous #12: Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

#11: Netflix and Hulu

What do #8, #9, and #17 on our list have in common? All of them exist (in the U.S. at least) solely on the internet via either Netflix or Hulu, streaming video services that have expanded their original vision from letting us watch existing television programs to creating original programming. You can’t watch House of Cards on cable. You can’t catch Moone Boy at primetime on NBC. Orange is the New Black isn’t available through HBO Go.

All three of these shows, and an ever-expanding stable of genuinely great shows (also see: Derek, Misfits, Rev., Battleground) are enough to convince audiences that great TV will exist well after we all cut the proverbial cable. That’s a relief on its own. But the nature of these shows are singular and focused enough that they feel new in and of themselves, even when viewed without the medium in mind.

Absent from the burden of subscribers and ratings, Hulu and Netflix offer a relative amount of creative freedom. The relentless darkness of House of Cards, the complex personal stories of Orange is the New Black, and the complete absence of cynicism or irony in Moone Boy all reflect a lack of one thing we’ve grown to expect when it comes to television: compromise.

Next #10: Pope Francis

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