Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Netflix has been in the news a lot recently, both for good and bad reasons. The bad reason is that they are now blocking all VPN proxies from accessing foreign Netflix sites. The good reason is that they are producing more kick-ass programming and expanding into 190 countries.
Since Netflix seems to be on the up-and-up, this seems to be a good time to look at some new tools and sites which will make your Netflix experience much nicer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a way around their very inconvenient VPN blocking.
Netflix Super Browse: Reveal “Secret” Movie Categories [No Longer Available]
It was revealed not too long ago that Netflix has secret codes which gives you access to lists. Lists of available movies and TV shows drilled down into very precise categories. Knowing these codes would enable you to find what you are looking for more easily.
Super Browse is a browser extension available for both Chrome and Firefox [No Longer Available] which aims to make the code searching simpler. Instead of inputting numbers randomly and haphazardly hoping for the best, you can now use Super Browse to install a drop-down menu of all the categories. This menu sits at the top left next to the Netflix logo, with a handy search box if there is something specific you would like to see.
One immediate advantage of Super Browse? You can now find movies and TV shows based on the country/language. So “German TV shows” or “Russian movies”. The size of the category list is absolutely unbelievable.
Netflix Party (Chrome): Have a Movie Night with Friends
This Chrome browser extension is for all you long-distance lovers out there. Or it is equally good for anyone who wants to have a remote Netflix viewing session. Netflix Party synchronizes all Netflix viewing sessions for everyone involved in the Netflix bingefest, and also provides a chat function for everyone to shoot the breeze while watching. No longer do you have to be constantly annoyed with everyone being at different parts of the movie, and some idiot shouting what happens next.
When everyone is ready to watch, just open the movie and then click the “NP” icon in the address bar to open Netflix Party. Then begin to eat copious amounts of popcorn.
It could use some extra functions though to be even better. Two off the top of my head are audio chat and being able to boot someone out of the “party” if they outstay their welcome in any way. Oh and a direct line to Pizza Hut. That would be awesome.
Showgoers is another good alternative for watching Netflix with your friends remotely. You just need to find the perfect movie to watch together.
AllFlicks: A Power Filter for Netflix
A small sub-industry seems to be popping up where you are told where to find certain movies and TV shows across the Netflix universe. This was extremely useful before the VPN blocking, but it is still handy for seeing what is on in your country. Sometimes it is very easy to lose the overview. And if this VPN blocking nonsense comes to an end, these sites can act as your instant TV listings.
Let’s start with AllFlicks.net. I really like this one because you can choose to see results based on certain criteria – Genre, Year of Release, and Rating. I absolutely love black-and-white movies of the 1940’s and 1950’s. I can’t get enough of them, especially Humphrey Bogart. AllFlicks enables me to narrow the time period of what I’m looking for to between the 1940’s and 1950’s. I can specify I only want movies. And….hey presto!
What’s that dear? Start work? I can’t, I have far too much “Netflixing” to do.
Wioflix: Find Only The Best Movies
Wioflix focuses solely on the best-ranked movies on either Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, or Metacritic. There are no flops here, only the best, curated every week with information links, and a direct link to the movie itself.
You can also click on “New On Netflix” to see the latest additions, as well as “Random Pick“, which is self-explanatory. Just click the “Random Pick” button, choose your desired category, and it will throw a result at you. Although, I will say that it is not really that random as you often get the same result every time you press the refresh button. Their algorithm could use some tweaking.
One other slight drawback is that you can’t filter by country. So when you click on some results, you may find that they are not available in your country. Grrr…when will that VPN workaround be ready?
Despite these couple of drawbacks, Wioflix remains a solid choice for when you are stuck for something to watch.
Flicksurfer: Search Movies & TV Shows for Your Region
For me, Flicksurfer is a lot better. You can choose your country so that you only get results which you can actually watch. And again, Flicksurfer only focuses on the highest rated movies and TV shows. So the dreck has been swept away and you are left with things you can watch and not regret having wasted 2 hours of your life.
As before, you can filter between Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix, or “Average” which I assume must be all the rankings thrown together in one big mish-mash. You can also drill down between genre, director, or cast member if you really want to get specific.
But the Advanced Filters are where it really starts to sizzle under the hood. You can specify a time period, whether it won an Oscar or was nominated for an Oscar, and whether it won a Golden Globe or was nominated for one. You can also specify how many votes it should have received on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes.
If this doesn’t help you to find something to watch, then let me present to you the Pickiness of the Year Award 2016 from Picky University.
Netflix Roulette: When You Can’t Decide What to Watch
Flix Roulette leaves your viewing possibilities firmly within the realm of chance. Just like real-life roulette, where your fate hinges on where the ball lands, Flix Roulette spins the virtual wheel and gives you a viewing suggestion.
It’s not totally random though. You can use some filtering options such as genre, show both movies and TV shows (or just one of them), what the rating should be, and you can even mention the name of a director or actor.
But the beauty behind this site is when you do away with all of the filters and just press the “Spin” button. Put on your tuxedo, do your best Bogart impersonation and pretend you are at Monte Carlo. You may end up with some really weird suggestions on what to watch that evening.
How Do You Turbo-Charge Your Netflix Viewing?
There are so many tools and sites being developed all the time for improving Netflix. We are firmly entering an era where people are cutting the cable, and doing most of their viewing online. Netflix leads the pack when it comes to viewing options, giving media streaming competitors such as Amazon Instant Video a serious run for their money.
If you count yourself among the serious Netflix crowd, which third-party tools and sites do you use? What kind of help is still missing from the legion of Netflix tools? Tell us in the comments.