COMING soon on your Netflix service: a Portuguese-language sci-fi thriller shot in Brazil; the second series of “Narcos”, about a Colombian drug cartel; a British series about the life of Queen Elizabeth called “The Crown”; and new episodes of “Black Mirror”, a dystopian vision of the future that originated on Britain’s Channel 4 but was snapped up by the streaming service for tens of millions of dollars. In the next year there will be new television series in Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese, and the second series of a French political drama, “Marseille”, starring Gérard Depardieu. Some of these shows will be excellent, and some will not (the first series of “Marseille” was panned by critics). But that is not the point.

Netflix was once a humble DVD-by-mail business based in Los Gatos, California. It is now becoming a global television network. The subscription service expanded early this year from a mere 60 countries into a total of over 190. It has 83m subscribers, including 47m in America, who pay between $8 and $12 a month for it. Appetite for its many-flavoured fare is strong. A Netflix household streams an average of...Continue reading