Napflix is a new Netflix competitor with an unusual twist. It bills itself as the “Siesta Video Platform”. It’s basically a Netflix clone based on Slow TV. Napflix offers the “most silent and sleepy content” to relax your brain so you can fall asleep. Rather than sharp 30-minute comedies or bingeworthy 1980s throwbacks, you’ve got long, boring documentaries, the sport of curling, and some pretty strange options.
Napflix is just another part of the world’s move to streaming services. Previously, when you wanted to watch boring television, you had to be at home during the daytime. Your choice was limited to dodgy soap operas about doctors and reality TV involving judges who somehow haven’t been disbarred yet. Now, it’s available through a sleek Netflix-like interface. Which ensures that anyone who has used any other streaming service will instantly feel at home.
I decided to give Napflix a proper look. Given Napflix’s aims, it’s got to be held to a different standard than other streaming services. I’m looking to be bored into falling asleep, not kept awake binge-watching until the early hours. So let’s see what’s available.
Napflix’s content is split into eight categories: Sports, Documental (I think they mean documentaries), Music, Education, Videogames, Daily, Relax, and Religion. There’s also a “New Content” tab where all of the latest videos are highlighted.
There isn’t that much content on Napflix yet, maybe a hundred or so videos. I could have counted them all but I was trying to bore myself to sleep with the actual videos themselves, not the interface. If you can’t find anything uninteresting to watch, feel free to count how many videos there are and let me know in the comments. If you’re awake long enough to do so.
The first section I checked out was Sports and, I have to say, I was very disappointed. While the 1992 Tour de France probably has a niche audience, there were also some cracking sports available. Formula 1, Cricket, Baseball, Chess, NASCAR, ski jumping, and more were on offer.
Unless you detest all sports, this isn’t boring content. Instead, it’s the kind of thing you watch on a lazy Sunday. If you’re at all a fan of sports, and want to be bored by Napflix, you should probably just avoid the sports section.
The Documental section faces similar problems: it’s hard to make a truly boring documentary. Sure, the Wonderful World of Tupperware sounds bad on the surface, but when you dig into it, Tupperware is an incredible innovation. The documentary itself is like an early version of How It’s Made.
With documentaries on quantum theory, pandas, koalas, and owls, Napflix’s documentary section is almost the equal of Netflix’s. Which, unless we’re very much mistaken, wasn’t the intention!
The Music section is a little stronger but only because I’m not a fan of ballet or opera. If you are a fan of these genres, it’s the same deal as above. You’ve got Swan Lake from the Kirov Ballet company and Aida performed by the San Francisco Opera company. Sure, it’s not a deep lineup, and they may become boring with repeat viewing, but it’s not as good as it could be.
Even the video of Spanish folk dancing crosses the line from being boring to being so bad it’s good. Or at least mildly amusing.
The Learning section is a complete write off. I was mildly interested in all eight videos on offer. Who doesn’t want to learn about Karl Marx, human behavioural biology, or the future of artificial intelligence?
Videogames is where we start to get the really boring content. I checked out an hour-long animation of a Minecraft pig walking, and it was as dreadful as I’d hoped it would be. Although, spoiler alert, at 45:56 the pig stops walking and an animated duck walks by. Which adds the merest frisson of excitement to proceedings.
There’s some other similarly boring content here that even hardcore video game fans won’t be able to enjoy. If you’re suffering from insomnia, check out the Flight Simulator video.
I have no idea what the Daily section is meant to contain. It’s a really weird mix which includes everything from someone’s first driving lesson, the 2014 World Dog Show in Helsinki, a 55-second clip of rotisserie chickens (probably not long enough for true boredom), and a 10-hour countdown timer with five beeps at the end (that’s more like it!).
Have a look. You might find the perfect sleep inducer for you.
Relax is where we start to find the gold standard Slow TV. You’ve got all the classics like an hourglass, a roaring log fire, an aquarium, a candle, and the sound of rain hitting a window.
My one complaint was that the hourglass video checked in at less than 59 minutes long. This is unacceptable.
For me personally, the Religion section has the best content: an 80-minute-long traditional Latin mass. Regular Mass is sleep inducing at the best of times — I had a Catholic upbringing so am allowed to judge — but the Latin version could prove to be stronger than Valium.
If you really want to drift off to boring content, this is where you need to go.
The Future of Napflix
Napflix is new on the scene and only really getting started. The content library isn’t very deep, and is, at times, way too interesting. However, with some dedication to acquiring a higher quantity and quality of boring videos, Napflix has plenty of room to grow.
Like Netflix, Napflix is also shifting into original content. Subway shows a train ride from Canal St. to Coney Island in New York, which is just as boring as it sounds.
The only issue for Napflix is that Netflix is in danger of getting a lot more boring too. Netflix’s catalog has halved from 11,000 titles in 2012 to 5,300 titles in 2016. Lets hope it can keep churning out the awesome Netflix originals, if only for the sake of Napflix.
What do you think of Napflix? Or of slow TV in general? Do you think it’s all a waste of time? Or could it have a legitimate meditative benefit? Please let us know in the comments below!
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