With Netflix and other streaming view sites, watching TV is turning into more like watching Computer.
One reason? Well, at Hulu you can go back to the late 50s and early 60s to watch multiple episodes of Bonanza or Rawhide on your computer. I’ve wanted to re-watch the 1981 German sub war movie “Das Boot” for years---but not until I joined Hulu this week at $7.99 a month did I find a way to do that---same with the “I Claudius” BBC series of the late 70s.
I don’t have a TV and that’s no bother. It insulates me from an overload of news. Yet with Netflix and Hulu, I indulge for the sake of enjoyment, and keep up with news by selecting online articles to read that fall into an area of personal interest.
It’s funny. When I regularly watched Bonanza as a kid, the show appeared real…but now 50 years later it appears primitive---too clean and arranged. I’ll watch episodes of it later anyway for nostalgic value.
The web is replete with news and differing opinion about “binge watching.” People talk about the phenomena and the dramatic series that spin the phenomena into life. I wondered if chat forums exist geared to discuss specific shows---yes, at IO9 for the final episode of “Breaking Bad.” Comments and insight about that slam dunk compelling show would most likely interest the assiduous viewer. At Television without Pity viewers discuss a variety of series shows on Netflix including “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “How I met you’re Mother” and “Orange is the New Black.”
To me the word “Binge” has an unhealthy connotation---a binge ipso facto harms. A binge isn’t real if it’s harmless---I don't have an antidote called setting limits. I know watching “Breaking Bad” from 8 pm until 6 am will screw with my sleep pattern. But when I'm hooked on a show, I'll do it anyway.
What makes it hard to detach from a good episodic Netflix series? The suspense! Meanwhile, the high quality of the program itself---the attention to detail, it magnetizes you into watching intently---with deep interest. You want to know what’s going to happen next and you don’t.
The "Walking Dead" series is graphic and realistic seeming…each character displays individual, personal substance. You know what their personalities are like and enjoy watching them develop. At the end of an episode, you’re amped to watch more---the “cliffhanger” affect. The end of an episode is an end with a hook of curiosity that can easily reel you into watching the next. All it takes is a click on the continue button.
I myself would also “binge watch” streaming series lectures on the Fall of Rome--- Or how the magnificent Gothic cathedrals of France were constructed. In the future universities may offer such courses free of charge. It’s an idea already put before us.