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Netflix Is Testing a ‘Shuffle’ Option to Help Users Decide WTH to Watch

You know the drill. You settle in for a cozy evening on the couch to watch something on Netflix, and then the scroll-suck happens. It’s a phenomenon by which you spend so much time trying to decide what to watch that you eventually just give up and go to bed. But that may not be an issue much longer — The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Netflix is trying out a new shuffle feature that could help subscribers find new (and old) favorite TV shows to watch.

The blog Android Police first picked up on this fun little fact, reporting to followers that certain viewers have recently found a “Random Episode” option in the playback control. This would then shuffle to a random episode in whatever series they were watching. “We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app. These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent,” a company spokeswoman told THR in a statement.

As THR points out, the shuffle feature might not seem especially useful for super-serialized shows like The Crown or The OA. Then again, think of the potential here. Let’s say you wanted to explore a show without committing to multiple episodes. If the shuffle button played a popular episode — theoretically one that captured the essence of the show’s appeal — it could help you decide whether that show is in your watching wheelhouse before you spend hours of your life on it.

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GIF: Giphy. Giphy.

So, how would this work? According to Cord Cutter News, if this feature becomes available to all Netflix subscribers, a new row on the Netflix screen labeled “Play a Random Episode” will appear. Also, shows that allow for this feature will be indicated with a red shuffle icon the corner. Popular series like The Office, New Girl, Our Planet and Arrested Development are reportedly all part of the experiment, per Deadline.

With this potential new development, now feels like the appropriate time to petition Netflix to bring back Max. Remember Max? In 2013, Netflix rolled out this talking, human-like interface that — in 120 seconds — helped pinpoint an ideal title to watch via four fun games. Max was a glorious hybrid of the streaming service’s sophisticated algorithms and Jellyvision’s popular (and hilariously irreverent) “You Don’t Know Jack” interactive game.

And, well, we want him back. TBH, he sounds like the perfect companion to the potential random episode option. Thoughts, Netflix?

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