Is binge-watching the new norm?
Binge-watch is the term, recently coined, for watching a series of television episodes in short succession. With the increase use of DVR and online stream services (i.e. Netflix and Hulu) binge-watching is becoming the new norm of watching television. Studies show that consumers are increasingly watching episodes of their favorite shows in one setting as opposed to the traditional weekly viewing upon the network airing of the episode.
I have binge-watched. In 2010, the last season of ABC’s “Lost” was going to air that spring. I had always read great reviews for the show, but had never watched the show. After learning that Hulu was making every previous episode of the show (5 seasons worth) available on its website I decided to watch every episode before season 6 began. It seemed liked an insurmountable task. I had about 1 month to watch over 100 episodes, plus I was still in school and working part-time.
However, as I have since learned binge-watching is addictive. I finished all 103 episodes before the season 6 premiere. Part of it of course was due to the extraordinary writing of the show (“Lost” continues to be my all-time favorite, television show). There was however another part. I loved the fact that I could watch all these episodes and not wait months, if not years, to watch the many plot twists of the show. I also liked that I didn’t have to watch as many commercials.
Since then I have occasionally binge-watched on a couple of TV shows. Last year I binged on Season 1 of Showtime’s “Homeland” (another great show). This past weekend I restarted my Netflix subscription. My first line of business of course was to begin watching the critically acclaimed Netflix series “House of Cards.” I became so immersed between watching that riveting show and watching Season 1 of “Arrested Development” that it prevented me from posting earlier this week.
On Monday I was going to post on this subject, but ironically stopped because I quickly began to suffer withdrawal symptoms from watching those shows. After just opening a Word Document to begin typing this post, I turned off my laptop and once again immersed myself into the depths of binge-watching.
I have luckily, since managed to wean myself away (at least momentarily) from Netflix because I began to feel neglectful of my followers. These past few days I realized something. I would much rather prefer the idea of 13 episode arcs of all network TV shows. For example, FOX’s “The Following” aired (and will subsequently air) only 13 episodes per season. HBO and SHOWTIME series already have a similar format. I believe dragging out storylines over 22-24 episodes only dilutes the quality of a show. By having fewer episodes I think a show would be tasked to cut what I like to refer to as “filler.” “Filler” is any episode or storyline that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the overall arc of the show. “Filler” can easily be detected. Many times I have seen a great episode of a show only to see a mediocre episode or two thus later.
Do you binge-watch?
Would you rather have 10-13 episode seasons of your favorite show?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate