My problem with “Binge Watching”

The emergence of original programming on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime has lead to consumers watching television shows consecutively with little to no breaks.  The term binge-watching has been used since Kevin Spacey had an interview about watching his Netflix show House of Cards the day it is released.  Since then the term has lead to a viewing cycle that is killing the television industry.

I am a fan of shows releasing all of their episodes all at once.  It is a nice ease and it means that I have the option to watch an episode whenever I see fit.  This is a great option to have when a show ends with a cliffhanger ending.  The issue I see with this example is the the very premise of suspenseful and leading endings.  The writers chose to leave you hanging at the tail end of an episode for a reason.  They want you to wait on baited breathe and think about everything that happened the previous 45 minutes.  It allows the suspense to sink in over time and leads to anticipation.  The anticipation of wanting to know what happens next has taken such an enormous leap from waiting seven days in between episodes, to seven minutes while you go to the bathroom are refill your snacks.  There is no time to digest everything you just watched in that short amount of time.  The brain likes to be challenged and the lack of processing time in between watching is destroying our willingness to to judge.

Shows that are available immediately  are more likely to get away with lapses of quality writing and producing because in the end it doesn’t matter.  All that matters to binge-watchers is how fast they can watch a show in a weekend so they can tweet about it and talk about it with their co-workers.  Shows such as 13 Reasons Why  and Stranger Things are all mediocre in the grand scheme of shows that are out at the moment, but people will watch these more than a show like The Leftovers because of ease.  Stranger Things had so many plot holes and boring characters that were irrelevant to the story that were made into jokes on the internet instead of actually trying to work things out and make a more complete show.

People also look at watching a show as a chore and is something that they have to do to keep up with the Jones’.  If a show does not please you and you are watching because your neighbor is, stop watching.  Go and look for something more your style.  It is okay to not like something.  Now a days people view indifference as a cancer to society.  It is okay to not like The Walking Dead.  Game of Thrones isn’t an amazing show.  These are all okay because at the end of the day, nothing else matters except what you like.  If you like Bravo reality shows, watch those and maybe try to get your friend to like them as well.  If they do not like it… THAT IS OKAY!  Ask them to suggest something for you to watch.  Television should work as a community that tries to grow with each other.  Things work better when people disagree.  “If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for”


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