Netflix has gotten into trouble twice this week over fooling about with its content.
It began with filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” which boasts two instances of shifting aspect ratios as a key part of the filmmaking – changing from 1:1 to more regular 1.85:1 and then back again during key moments of emotional resonance.
Turns out Netflix was showing it wrong, putting up pillar boxes which kept the ratio at 1:1 throughout and thus messing with the intentions and impact of the scenes. Dolan promptly wrote them an open letter demanding they fix the problem and the streaming service has since done so claiming it was a “technical mistake”.
Then today comes news from EW that Netflix has been showing a truncated version of the sixth season finale of ABC’s “Lost” – cutting out a whopping 18 minutes from the contentious 104 minute long finale which ended the mystery series.
“Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof says he was unaware of the Netflix presentation of the finale until the trade brought it to his attention. He’s not happy about that, telling them:
“I am totally befuddled by all this. Love it or hate it, the finale that aired is the definitive finale and to alter it in any way defies explanation. Something tells me that this isn’t Netflix’s fault … that it’s an honest mistake and something got miscommunicated – I seem to remember ABC had to make an edit for rerun airings that tightened the show into ‘format’ (42 minutes to accommodate commercials), and somehow that [version] mistakenly got sent to Netflix.
This sometimes happened with our finales – we’d ask for extra time and ABC would agree to air, but then we had to do another tighter version for subsequent airings and/or international [markets]. We usually left these (painful) cuts to the discretion of our editors… but as the show lives on in DVD form and on Netflix, there is ZERO reason to have the shorter version out there.”
Netflix has since issued a statement pledging to restore the full version of the finale. Shortened edits of various series still remain on the service however such as “Doctor Who” still using the shortened Syfy/BBC America versions of Tennant-era episodes as opposed to the full-length eps seen on the DVDs and on international broadcasts.