What On Earth Is Netflix’s ‘Special Interest’ Category?

What On Earth Is Netflix’s ‘Special Interest’ Category?

Netflix used to be weird.

Image: Netflix. What are you?

In its early streaming days the video service bought up the rights to anything it could get its mitts on. Lately, Netflix has lost its sense of entropy, thanks to a dwindling library of movies and a big push toward original content. Or that’s how it feels until you look in Netflix’s “Special Interest” category.

Its contents bear no resemblance to the phrase “Special Interest”, or much in common with each other. Bob Ross competes with a life coach. A David Blaine special and a nature documentary share real estate with a knockoff Yule log. By all indications, this forgotten category is Netflix’s junk drawer.

Even Netflix does a little spring cleaning once in a while though. A Twitter search reveals two things: 1) How few people have ever bothered to look at this strange corner of the site, which appears to have existed since 2008, and 2) that “Special Interest” at one point contained shows about bellydancing, knife fighting, historic pubs, as well as various Shakespeare plays and a kama sutra tutorial. None of these are present among the 32 current titles, though we reached out to Netflix to see if there is any rhyme or reason to how things end up in this category.

What On Earth Is Netflix’s ‘Special Interest’ Category?
Image: Netflix. Honestly who has time for this

Image: Netflix. Honestly who has time for this

Now knowing what “Special Interest” has lost over the years, let’s see what it currently has to offer. How about a seven-hour train ride from Bergen, Norway to Oslo in real time? Or a full hour of jellyfish doing exactly what it is jellyfish do? Or three fireplaces each filmed at a different time of day? As someone who almost exclusively uses Netflix to fall asleep, “Special Interest” is an absolute goldmine.

Like most internet properties, Netflix likes to guess what I’m looking for before I even know it. Amazon finds books for me. Facebook serves me ads for things I’ve only mentioned in a passing text message. Google autocompletes my searches for everything except porn. Refreshingly, the “Special Interest” category is so far afield I suspect clicking anything in it will give the recommendation engine some sort of aneurysm.

Below are the current 27 titles in the category which you can use to end your next lazy date night or literally never look at for as long as you live:

  • Fireplace For Your Home: Birchwood Edition
  • Fireplace For Your Home: Classic Edition
  • Moving Art: Underwater
  • Moving Art: Forests
  • Moving Art: Oceans
  • Moving Art: Waterfalls
  • Moving Art: Flowers
  • Moving Art: Deserts
  • Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere
  • Chill With Bob Ross
  • Your Brush With Nature
  • Finding Your Element
  • NatureVision TV: Collection One
  • Ocean Wonders
  • David Blaine: What Is Magic?
  • International Street Art
  • Slow TV: Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
  • Slow TV: Salmon Fishing
  • Slow TV: The Telemark Canal
  • Slow TV: National Firewood Morning
  • Slow TV: National Firewood Evening
  • Slow TV: National Firewood Night
  • Slow TV: National Knitting Evening
  • Slow TV: National Knitting Night
  • Slow TV: Northern Railway
  • Slow TV: Northern Passage
  • Jellies

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