As good as Netflix’s own algorithm for suggesting new things to watch is, sometimes you just want to explore, which is not an easy task using the video-on-demand service’s default interface. However, there is a sneaky way to exploit Netflix’s meticulous genre (and sub-genre) cataloguing system for a more precise browsing experience. Using this trick, you can search everything from “Children and Family Movies for ages 5 to 7” to “Action & Adventure starring Gene Hackman”.
Every genre, sub-genre, and category is designated a specific ID number that can be found if added to the Netflix URL. The Atlantic’s Alexis C. Madrigal ran a script that scraped all the ID numbers from the Netflix database, finding 76,897 micro-genres, all of which are available to browse in a Google Doc. Others ran with that, and combined the codes into genre URLs, such as this handy list.
“Netflix has meticulously analyzed and tagged every movie and TV show imaginable,” Madrigal wrote. “They possess a stockpile of data about Hollywood entertainment that is absolutely unprecedented. The genres that I scraped and that we caricature above are just the surface manifestation of this deeper database.”
Some of the listed categories don’t lead to anything, which is understandable considering Netflix rotates its video content – not to mention geographical variation – but most links are useful.