Looking the tv at home

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I got tired of Netflix months ago and moved on to letting the new content on HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ dominate my streaming habits. When I stopped in a few days ago to see if season four of "Ozark" had arrived, I was shocked to see Netflix had added something that instantly made me love it again:

A "Remove from Continue Watching" feature.

Netflix 'Continue Watching' queuePhoto credit: Marc Levy

The ability to delete a show or movie you didn't like from the "continue watching" queue is not exactly genius. It's an obvious feature every streamer should have — and would have, if it weren't trying to guilt us into watching more of something we didn't like enough to finish the first time. (This is another way sellers annoy customers because their profit margins are more important than making a process seamless, like grocery stores moving products around so we pass by lots of stuff we might buy instead of going directly to what we came for.)

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With most streaming services, it's impossible or ridiculously complicated to get rid of a show or movie we started but don't want to finish. Netflix used to require a multistep process that involved users going into their account settings, then profile controls, then viewing activity and deleting items individually.

Now it's a single step — an icon to click for each box in your "continue watching" row, just like you can remove a show or movie from a "to watch" queue.

Netflix didn't publicize the introduction of the option, which seems to have slipped into an update early this month, until Thursday. "Inbox zero might be hard to achieve on email, but why can't you bring that same enthusiasm to your 'Continue Watching' row?" Netflix said in its announcement. "We heard you, and that's why we're introducing a new way for members to give your 'Continue Watching' row a fresh start."

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I'm now much more likely to try a show or movie on Netflix knowing that if I don't like it, I can click it away guiltlessly, and not have it clog my "continue watching" row forever, nagging me to continue when I don't want to. There are literally dozens of shows and movies on Netflix, HBO Max, and others I would have sampled long ago if not for the fear of cluttering up my home screen with stuff that's not my liking.

And as soon as I finish bingeing the final season of "Ozark," Netflix will see how many.

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