An Open Letter to Netflix Or, ‘WHY? JUST TELL ME WHY!?’

Dear Netflix,

Now, you’ve made it personal. You hurt me, when all I did was love you.

Dr. Walter Bishop wracks his brain trying to figure out why Netflix pulled the final season of Fringe

I recently wrote a glowing review of your brilliant original series, Orange is the New Black. By extension, the review gushed about you, Netflix, as a unique engine of creativity, producing award worthy new series seemingly out of thin air. I didn’t delve into the dark scandal of your disastrous rate hike fiasco of recent past, because my goal was to glorify your hopeful promise, not revisit past sins.

Then, you stabbed me in the back.

Having eagerly gorged entire seasons of Arrested Development, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black, I needed something new. An OG X-Files fan, I delved into Fringe, and flew through seasons Netflix Style, like a man possessed. I’d been on a J.J.Abrams ride before, you see, back when devouring whole seasons of Lost in a marathon sitting was an idealistic endeavor. I’m of two minds: while I loved Lost, and I’m endeared to Fringe, their myriad alternate universe time travel plot wormholes made me decide that if I could go back in time, and prevent one person from existing, it would be J.J.Abrams – just for the sheer hours of life I’d get back, perhaps re-purposed for creative endeavor.

Alas, ever an addict, I snarkily hoot past impossible JJA paradoxes in Fringe, buckled up, enjoying the ride. Coming up for air while inhaling Season Three, I double checked Netflix had all five seasons available. Afterall, I’d caught up on Lost just as the sixth and final season was being broadcast on TV, and was thus doomed to experience the epilogue unfold in maddeningly slow TV Time, after devouring five seasons straight, Netflix Style – occasionally breaking to sleep, or eat.

So here I go again, willfully imbibing labyrinthine roller coaster plot twisting time travel loops and mad paradoxical love triangles, unencumbered by time restraints, Netflix Style. Then, just as Season Four of Fringe arcs to its exhilarating panoply of climaxes, lo and behold, suddenly Season Five isn’t available on Netfilx anymore!!?! Say what?

How can you do this to me?

Despite its often maddening faults, I’m emotionally invested in Fringe, on the edge of my seat excited to see how it comes together in the final season, with the epic showdown [spoiler alert] between Humans and Observers (who are really future humans, after all), and Olivia now being presented unabashedly as a Christ figure, healing the sick and being resurrected – with help from Dr. Bishop, of course – and all I want is to watch it conclude! Now.

Navigating leviathan levels of red tape, I swung branch to branch through Netflix Corporate’s vast phone tree to determine a culprit, eventually querying bigwig Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, who responded: “As was reported in the media – Fringe season 5 went live early for a brief time due to a technical error. It will be returning as scheduled soon.” Company spokesperson Jenny McCabe added: “Nothing sinister going on here, or anything like that. We just had the wrong date. And so, we put it up and we realized it was the wrong date, and we took it down. It’ll be back up in September. So, you know we like this content, and all, but licenses have certain dates, and it was just the wrong date.”

I don’t know. Maybe that’s the truth… but it feels like an intentional ploy to get attention, mercilessly withholding final seasons like a pompous, teasing pet owner making Fido dance the Macarena on hind legs for table scraps. You KNOW that come September, I’ll be back to gnaw down those final 13 episodes of Fringe like Mahatma Gandhi breaking fast at an all you can eat buffet. You know I’ll be back for House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Arrested Development – if it forgoes a jaunt to the Big Screen to mercifully toss us another juicy season.

Oh Netflix, you’re always such a tease, but this time you went too far. Promising access to the final season of Fringe, then reneging, you’ve maimed loyal devotees like me. I don’t trust you now. If I recall, you recently made Streaming split up with the awesome Red Envelopes which had endeared you to me in the first place. I’m sensing a pattern here. I love you and you hurt me. You know I’m hooked, so you treat me like pond scum for daring to show interest? Well, I’m not gonna take it! I OFFICIALLY BOYCOTT NETFLIX!!! At least, um, until House of Cards Season Two.

Yeah, you know I’m hooked, you know you’ve got me. Please show me some respect, don’t just treat me like I’m your bitch.

Even if I am.

By Seth Aronson