The average American television viewer is more insulated than most. The television landscape they have cultivated over the last 50 years is mostly driven by the 4 major television networks (FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS) and is heavily commercialized. The most left of field and globalized content available, up until the introduction of Hulu, Netflix and other streaming sites, was HBO. But even HBO presents mostly television series that deal with American problems in an American way, although with a heavily critical lens.
What the streaming sites have given America is the chance to dilute it’s culturally isolated entertainment with television series from overseas. Such exports as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Please Like Me, Moone Boy and Being Human have gained the ability to immediately find consumers in America as a direct result of streaming sites. Netflix especially highlights overseas series to American viewers as the shows act as exclusive content as no other channel is showing them.
Before Netflix became a wide spread service the most common form of global content making way in the network paradigm of American television was the remake. While this trend is still extensively used the number of unsuccessful remakes has increased in the past few years. This, I believe, is a direct consequence of globalization. America is starting to see the benefit of other countries entertainment prospects. A perfect example of this is the American music industry, with the rise of Lorde and Gotye both winning Grammy’s and holding the number 1 spot atop the Billboard 100 for months at a time.
As a poptimist I am hopeful that the American mainstream can carve a place for foreign exports. Netflix has started something that the world at large has been trying to do for years, make America care about non American culture, but it is at best a scratch on the surface of a very high cultural wall.
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