Netflix is testing a ‘random episode’ feature for TV shows

Does the idea of a shuffle button for Netflix sound appealing? The company has begun testing exactly that with some users of its Android app, according to Android Police. For those who’ve been included in the test, this new option appears in two ways: there’s a dedicated “Play a Popular Episode” column on the app’s home screen that features shows like The Office, Arrested Development, and Our Planet. Fans of those first two can probably enjoy any random episode, regardless of the season, and shuffle definitely makes sense for nature documentaries where each episode has its own theme.

Netflix also displays a “random episode” button in the playback controls once you’ve started watching a series that the service thinks this concept is a good fit for. Obviously, there are plenty of serialized shows where being dropped into any random episode really wouldn’t make much sense or be enjoyable.

Image: Android Police

But if you just want to throw on Friends, NCIS, Parks and Recreation, or Grey’s Anatomy in the background, this might actually prove rather convenient. Netflix also has a keen interest in anthology-type shows — hello, Black Mirror — and shuffle makes a lot of sense for that sort of content, too. The company has already experimented with mixing up its episode orders.

The Verge has reached out to Netflix for comment on whether subscribers on other devices and platforms can expect to see this option soon. I’m not seeing it on my Pixel 3 XL, so even on Android, this seems like a limited test at the moment.


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