Netflix and Binge-Watching

A lot is being made of the all-at-once viewing availability of the new Netflix Original Series’. Although in theory people seem to love the idea, I think in reality, it takes some of the luster away from the TV show.

Normally when experiencing a TV show’s season, part of the fun is the speculation, debates, and anticipation week to week. While I agree that having the availability of the entire season at once is nice, it kills most of the intensity of the emotional roller-coaster that writers attempt to take us on throughout a season.

I like to think back to the days of Lost. Every week people spent the 7 days between episodes talking about the show, writing about each nuance, and speculating as to what will happen the following week. With the release of Arrested Development and House of Cards, the conversations were mostly “are you watching it?” and “have you finished yet?”. Besides those two questions, it’s unlikely for you to be on the same page as someone else and be able to talk about any of the shows in a group, without spoiling it for someone.

I’m not sure exactly what the right answer is here. I’m in the camp that thinks Netflix should release the season in smaller chunks, so to me that means 3 episodes per week is the right number. Its a manageable amount for people to watch in one week, it still allows for minor weekend-binge watching, and it will help retain some anticipation throughout the season.

Netflix has done a great job entering the world of television and original programming, and I hope they continue to tweak with their format for viewing. They’ve come this far, and now they need to restore the entire TV show viewing experience, while continuing to revolutionize the industry.

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