May 27 2014

The Difficulties of Binge Watching

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials,Videos

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I’ve been binge watching television shows in my backlog ever since summer started. I started watching Arrow, Orphan Black, Parenthood, and Hannibal. The best part about starting a series is late is that you don’t have to bother with mid-season breaks or anything like it.

I only started watching Parenthood when the fifth season ended and I wasn’t going to catch up slowly. On top of that, the second season of Orange is the New Black will be coming soon and expect Netflix to release all the episodes at once.  The best part about binge watching is that it allows me to be in a particular mindset and focus on one show’s narrative since I’m not disrupted by other content. I also don’t have to be bothered by those annoying mid-season breaks or anything like it.

However, binge watching does have its dilemmas like all other things. The benefits come with the cons. If you binge watch, you’ll share my frustrations. Read on for more.

One of the downsides of binge watching is that you literally lose track of time. Sometimes you even feel powerless and you’re glued to the couch or bed. A friend of mine once said that Netflix only gives you 14/16 seconds to decide what to do with your life. For those who don’t know, the next episode of whatever you’re watching will automatically play if you don’t choose otherwise. I think that Netflix would like you to think that you have a choice when you really don’t. Do you really think you can decide between watching another episode of House of Cards and walking outside in that short amount of time? The strange part is that the episode plays once you’ve realized you need some fresh air. It may seem easy to just turn your TV off, for some reason we feel powerless to do so. Another weekend that ended up to be not productive… again.

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The best series to binge watch are ones that have already ended. There’s a beginning and an end. You don’t have to worry about getting spoiled mid-way. You can consume the content continuously and there are no pesky breaks to deal with.  On the other hand, I dread reaching the current season of series that are currently on air. I now have to choose between waiting for the current season to finish or join the waiting game like everyone else. When I caught up on Arrow, I would often find myself looking for the “next episode” option after the latest episode aired. I’m so used to binge watching that I forget that the next episode isn’t readily available.

I could just wait for the current season to end, but then that would mean avoiding spoilers like the plague. I hate how writers put spoilers in headlines. This makes googling just the show itself unsafe because it shows up in the relevant news feed. Additionally, the wait is going to be long and some people might need a dose of their favorite show from time to time. However, joining the weekly wait means you have to stay in suspense like everyone else since you can’t just jump to the next episode.

It’s a difficult decision, but I usually just join everyone else. One of the benefits of keeping up is that I get to live tweet and discuss with other fans when the episode airs. I don’t usually get this experience when I’m binge watching a show.  Sometimes the cast and crew join in as well and you can get the chance to interact with them.  Do you think that the binge watching model kills the water cooler?

Binge watching is something I do for specific cases. I do it whenever Netflix releases their shows since they drop the whole season. Secondly, I use it catch up with shows that have already ended or ones that I didn’t get to watch when it first came on. I’m not one to wait for the whole season to finish when I’m already in the latest season. It’s only something I do when it’s already there and I won’t wait for episodes to binge watch.





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One response so far

  • Lucas Tetrault

    I want to say that I’m an avid Binge Watcher. I was out of the loop on HIMYM and TBBT … my brother gave me the first season of each on DVD and I watched them both in a weekend. That’s how I was hooked. After that, I binged watched both of the series till I caught up with their respective seasons. (HIMYM – season 7 and TBBT season 4) After which – I had to watch the rest on TV like everyone else. (usually through DVR)

    I’m an advocate for both ways of watching select shows because by watching when the episodes air, I have something to look forward to most nights of the week. It’s something my wife and I get to enjoy together once the kid is asleep.

    Then there is the binge watching for shows that have ended and I either never knew about, or that I’ve heard countless people tell me over and over again that I should watch. (ie: Breaking Bad). BB was amazing and I can’t imagine what it might have been like to wait each week to find out what was going to happen next.

    Shows I’ve binged:
    – the Wire
    – Breaking Bad
    – HIMYM
    – TBBT
    – Firefly
    – Avatar
    – Battlestar Galactica
    – Sopranos
    – Chuck

    Shows I watch on TV:
    – LOST
    – HIMYM
    – TBBT
    – Vikings
    – True Detective
    – Friends
    – Arrow
    – Modern Family
    – The Following
    – The River

    Great post! :)

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