Binge-watching has been around a lot longer than streaming platforms. For those of us who love DVD boxsets, the chance to binge-watch favourite TV shows has always been a thing.
Netflix however, took binge-watching to a whole new level and quite frankly, it’s ruined me. The ability to watch three seasons of a show on-demand has made watching weekly TV very difficult for me. I no longer have the patience to wait a week to see what comes next. Unless it’s Star Trek Discovery of course, somehow, with that particular show, I manage to hold it together until the following week. Alas, I can’t say the same thing for Star Trek Picard, it took me several weeks to get into that series and in the end, I decided to leave it until Amazon had released all the episodes before trying again. I was disappointed in myself because Picard is my all-time favourite captain.
The same happened with WandaVision. Despite my anticipation of a new Marvel offering, I couldn’t get into the first few episodes so waited until Disney released the final episode before sitting down to watch them all. Binge-watching makes it easier to power through an episode as you sit hoping the next episode will be better.
Why I prefer binge watching
I’ve convinced myself that being able to watch three or four episodes of a new series back-to-back to see if it passes the challenge is time and energy well spent. Why wait four weeks to find out a show sucks when you can discover that in one evening?
The truth is, I binge watch to escape reality for a little while. Being immersed in a good tv series, for a few hours helps reduce my stress levels and block out the state of our world for a little while.
There is a downside to binge watching
The downside of binge-watching is that it makes me less creative. Not having to wait a week between episodes means I don’t have the space to come up with crazy scenarios for what happens next. I’m writing less because I don’t give myself space to think about what I’ve just experienced.
Forget about writing reviews. I don’t have time between each episode of a show. I just about have time to grab a snack or take a pee break. I’ve found that for some shows, after a few weeks, I find it hard to recall what happened in individual episodes. Everything is smushed together and where I would once find interesting detail in a scene, I basically just remember the big payoff at the end of an episode or season.
This could go a long way to explaining why I found season seven of The Flash so very disappointing. Rather than watch it weekly, I let the episodes pile up and then watched them four or five at a time. Then again, no. I think that series has had it.
A study found that binge-watching can make a show less fulfilling as binge-watchers reported significantly less enjoyment from the show. Another study shows that regularly watching over three hours of TV each day could lead to cognitive decline in language and memory later on.
Food for thought. Will I give up binge-watching? No. Will I take more time out between episodes? Yes. I think I should.