How to decide what to watch on TV (halt indecision)

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Can’t decide what to watch on TV or on the streaming platforms? Do you spend close to an hour just scrolling trying to find a movie or show to watch only to give up and go on Facebook or YouTube instead? This is exactly what I do and it’s frustrating.

It’s like I’m paralyzed by too many choices.

Thankfully, I have come up with a way to help me to decide what to watch on TV. (Hopefully it’ll work for you too so you can decide what to watch on Netflix or another platform.)

what to watch on netflix

How do I decide what movie to watch?

There are SO many choices of shows and movies to watch that you can easily be overwhelmed. What I’ve found to be helpful to overcome my indecision, is to actually restrict my options by choosing a narrow genre or niche.

I create constraints.

For instance, for awhile I was really into watching “time loop movies”. This may sound strange, but having this constraint of focusing on time loop movies made it really easy for me to decide what to watch.

When you have a constraint like this you narrow your choices from thousands of movies down to a few dozen.

It is like a process of elimination where all the movies that are NOT time loop movies are instantly disregarded.

Then you can just Google a list of time loop movies and start going through them.

What decision constraints could you use to decide what movie or show to watch?

You could choose to focus on shows or movies that have the same plot features – like time loops – or in the same sub-genre, but there are lots of other ways to create decision guardrails.

I’ve listed some ideas below.

You could watch movies or shows that:

  • have the same Actor (e.g. only watch Emily Blunt movies)
  • have the same Director (e.g. watch all Tony Scott’s movies)
  • are in the same series (like Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies or Mission Impossible films)
  • are made by the same company (Like Blumhouse Productions)
  • that take place in the same time period (e.g. movies set during World War II)
  • that involve a certain sport (e.g. lots of football movies out there)
  • won Academy awards in a unique category (like “Makeup and Hairstyling” award winners)
  • feature your favorite kind of music in the plot (like movies about rock n’ roll bands)

In the past when I’ve wasted time scrolling through Netflix or Amazon Prime, I’ve tried Googling “what to watch on Netflix” and it returns a list of like 100 different shows on Netflix to watch.

I guess that helps narrow it down from thousands of choices to 100 choices, but that’s still too many for me.

I’ve found that providing myself with tighter constraints has actually made my decision on what to watch a lot easier.

And I’m not saying that watching TV shows or movies is a great use of your time.

But I think watching an hour of TV is more rewarding than scrolling through Netflix for an hour searching for something to watch only to get frustrated by your inability to make a decision.

So what constraints can you establish to help overcome the “analysis paralysis” of what to watch?

The New York Film Academy has a handy list of film sub-genres that can help you narrow down your film choices.

For instance, there are courtroom dramas and legal thrillers, “found footage” horrors, disaster movies, movies where The Rock is in the jungle (that isn’t a real sub genre but I just wanted to see if you were still reading.)

Do you have a favorite actor or actress? Have you seen all their movies?

Do you like movies about the fashion industry?

Do you like movies about golf or golfers?

Brainstorm the movies you have enjoyed watching in the past and try to identify what you liked about them.

Was there something in the plot that you loved? Was there a twist?

Did you like a certain type of character? Such as was there a smart detective, a witty reporter, or a school teacher who was capable of so much more than they realized.

Dig in to your list of favorite movies and shows to determine what you like about them then explore more movies like it.

It’s pretty simple idea really, but it can help you narrow your choices and overcome indecision.

I hope this has helped you find some good entertainment to watch.