By Sahil Patel
Is Netflix television? Is it web video? Or is it both? It’s my new favorite question to ask.
I ask this (again) because English comedian Ricky Gervais’ new series, “Derek,” is set to premiere on Netflix in the US on Thursday, September 12. Created, written, and directed by Gervais, the comedy-drama focuses on a “group of outsiders living on society’s margins.” The show, which spans seven, 30-minute episodes, follows Gervais’ character who works in a retirement home alongside characters played by Karl Pilkington, David Earl, and Kerry Godliman.
Here’s the thing, though, “Derek” already aired on television — in the UK, on Channel 4, last year. But Netflix is calling it a Netflix Original. In fact, the press announcement for the first season trailer, which you can watch below, says the series “is produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Netflix.”
Then you have “A Toca,” an original sketch comedy series financed by Netflix, which is making the show available only in Brazil. The Portuguese-language “A Toca” does not get the Netflix Original branding like “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” did, and “Derek” will.
So what is Netflix? Does it matter? At the end of the day, Netflix can call its original and exclusive content whatever it wants. It’s just interesting to see a company practice the same screen-agnosticism it has long said about its viewers.