Netflix finally lets you purge shows from Continue Watching

(Image credit: Netflix)

There's so much content on Netflix that starting a series or movie and then dropping it isn't uncommon. Netflix, though, hasn't always offered the option to remove the unwanted show from your "Continue Watching" list that appears at the top of the screen. Starting now, however, you can finally cull that list on your TV.

Last week, the streaming giant unveiled the ability to remove shows from the Continue Watching row on Netflix TV devices (it previously only worked on the Web and mobile devices). 

When you select a show from the list, there's now a "Remove from Continue Watching" option. The show instantly disappears from the list unless you find it and start watching again.

While the ever-present Continue Watching list is probably a source of frustration for many of Netflix's 222 million subscribers, the change might've been prompted by just one squeaky wheel.

In the blog post on the feature update, Netflix linked to a Tweet from Twitter user @RACS040 (or "Oscar") who asked for a "Remove From" option so he could remove content "that A) We've already watched or B) We've no intention of watching. Then your algorithms can make better suggestions."

Analysis: This is a good start, but Netflix could do more

It's a welcome change but why can't Netflix offer fuller customization? There's no such control on the "Watch it Again" row or the "Top Picks for [You]". That level of control would move Netflix a step closer to true personalization. 

At the very least, as "Oscar" noted, it might make the algorithm smarter about what you do and don't like.

In fact, "Oscar" agrees, telling TechRadar via Twitter, "It’s a good start, but it needs rolling out to other rows. e.g. on my Action-Sci Fi, I’ve seen the 1st 9suggestions. It’d be great to be able to remove those, so alt content can be suggested. Amazon [has] a “Hide” function that basically serves that purpose."

With Netflix facing more competition for our streaming attention and dollars, it could take the interface lead - if it would just let go and give us all even more control.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.