I absolutely hate autoplay. What was designed as a time-saving feature to let you jump to the next episode of a show during an epic binge session on your favorite streaming service has become a daily nuisance. Autoplay features should go in the trash…then that trash can go to sea.
I can’t remember when autoplay first became a thing on Netflix, but it feels like years now. Ever since the Big N introduced this credit-skipping feature, it’s been rolled out on pretty much all of the top streaming services. And that’s not a good thing in any way.
That’s my hatred of autoplay, I physically screamed while taking the photos for this article. Twice. Just when I had lined up the perfect photo to sum up my disdain for autoplay features, the next installment of Derry girls was on my screen before I could photograph the problem. That is both appropriate and annoying. But mostly annoying.
Ah, Derry girls. What. A show. This utterly charming, brilliantly absurd comedy about five teenagers growing up in the mid-1990s during the final years of The Troubles in Northern Ireland is one of the best television shows ever greenlit by Britain’s Channel 4. It’s silly, it’s irreverent, it contains heartbreaking pathos when you least expect it, and most of all it has rekindled my hatred for autoplay.
Play the prize
I’ve been catching up recently Derry girls — which ended in mid-2022 after three perfect seasons — on both Netflix and All 4. And while the viewing experience was delightfully side-splitting overall, the autoplay features of both streaming services really annoyed me at various points.
Watch the show on my Apple TV 4K (2022) box, the red mist has descended more than once as autoplay skipped the credits before I could reach my remote. As someone who almost exclusively watches their TV in a reclined, sloppy position on their couch, reaching that little metal thingy is more of a challenge than you might think.
Part of the reason Derry girls should be the poster… well, “girl,” because the death of autoplay is the immaculate soundtrack. If you’re a kid of the 90’s like me, the audio buffet of banger after banger it serves is like nothing else I’ve experienced.
Gangster Trippin by Fatboy Slim. Agree by supergrass. Corona is hypnotic The rhythm of the night. Orla’s glorious unconscious dance through the cobbled streets of Derry to the rousing beats of Sunchyme by Dario G during the last episode. East 17’s Stay another day… okay, maybe “banger” is a stretch for that last tune.
My favorite song in Derry Girls is To dream through the cranberries. The lilting chorus acts as the unofficial theme song for the show’s biggest moments, and more than once autoplay kept me from listening to this awesome melody over the credits. Weeks after watching the last episode, my ears are still offended.
The Derry girls season 3 finale is another example of autoplay’s ability to suck your soul out of your body. With about three minutes left until the very last episode, the pivotal scene of the show suddenly shrinks into a small box on my screen. LG C2 OLED so Channel 4 can try to trick me into watching another programme.
It’s unforgivable when you consider how good that final scene is. As the girls vote in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement, To dream plays in the background as the show transitions seamlessly between the actors in their voting booths and real-world news footage from 1998. It’s a phenomenal piece of television… struggling to find my Apple TV remote. The heartiest boo urns.
Walking Dead wrong
My hatred for this image-diminishing, credit-avoiding phenomenon goes back to 2016 when Netflix was still streaming The living Dead. Back in the old days of Season 5, just before the AMC zombie hit became a boring time sink, Netflix’s autoplay features ruined the show’s biggest reveal for me. That would be the return of Lenny James’ Morgan Jones: the best character in Walking dead history.
Thanks to autoplay, I initially missed Morgan’s post-credits cameos in the season 5 opener “No Sanctuary” and the mid-season classic “Coda.” The last appearance is my favorite sequence in The living Dead: a quiet, introspective reintroduction of a character who has found a newfound peace in a world in decline.
Ridiculously, auto-play nixes this awesome TWD moments even in 2023. The show may be on Disney Plus now, but the same credits-killing features will still rob you of these moments unless you’re quick with your remote.
I know that certain streaming services let you turn off autoplay if you dig into their menus. Still, it’s a big flaw that this feature isn’t advanced or smart enough to detect an important post-credits sequence. Imagine if Disney Plus automatically played to the next MCU movie before you could see that all-important Thanos reveal/Wakanda introduction/Howard the Duck cameo. Marvel fans would (deservedly) lose it.
My disdain for autoplay probably says a lot about my couch-hanging style, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still the worst. The sooner a streaming service can come up with an algorithm that can intelligently read when a post-credits sequence is about to come out or learn my preference for listening to music during the credits, the better. Autoplay, I hate you.