Okay, so “ruining” may be too harsh of a phrase, but my TV experience is definitely changing.
Since I’ve been home for winter break, I’ve watched 4 episodes of Breaking Bad, 9 episodes of Modern Family, and a whopping 31 episodes of Supernatural.
With Netflix as my sidekick, I’ve been able to watch TV without the suspense of waiting a week or even months if the episode happened right before a hiatus. In a way, I feel as though I’m cheating myself out of the true experience.
As mad as I get when it happens, I love the anticipation that leads up to a new episode. The buildup that comes from thinking of the countless possibilities of what is next. “When will Swan remember who she is?” “How EXACTLY is Ted going to meet the mother?” “Is Carrie actually over Sebastian?” Every week I get to look forward to my questions being answered, even if I have to wait for more than one episode.
With the TV shows that I still follow on a weekly basis, I act like a six year old on Christmas sitting in front of the TV waiting for a season premiere.
Netflix robs me of that anticipation and has completely changed the TV watching/series following experience. If something suspenseful happens, I don’t have to wait days to find the answers, and I also don’t have to stop and change DVDs. In fact, Netflix will automatically start playing the next episode, so I don’t have to move.
Binge watching changes TV shows into a movie-esque event. Yes, they’re still separated into episodes, but they all run together much like an extra long movie as compared to one puzzle piece at a time. If you look at binge watching as a really long movie or as a challenge of how many episodes can be watched in one day, then it brings a whole new experience that can be a different kind of magic than the suspense one day, week after week. It’s simply a whole different ballgame.
We as a society are keen on instant gratification. We feel as though we should have exactly what we want the moment we realize that we want it. When it comes to television, services such as Netflix and Hulu+ give us the opportunity to binge on most of our favorite series without interruption and at our own pace. We’re able to satisfy our desire to know exactly what’s going to happen next without waiting for producers and TV stations to set time aside to slowly reveal answers.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to be giving up Netflix binging any time soon. It’s just too much fun. I will, however, always set aside a show or two that I watch on a weekly basis in order to not give up the contemplation and sense of wonder that having to wait for a new episode brings into my life.