It all started with DVD box sets, and then streaming services. Since then, the way we watch TV has changed forever. The traditional TV format of weekly releases is no longer the only option for watching TV, as these two mediums have brought in a new way of life, a phenomenon called binge-watching.
But what led to the rise in binge-watching was when Netflix dropped all 13 episodes of the show “House of Cards” all at once in 2013. While this gave viewers the opportunity to watch the entire season at their own pace, or at one go, most choose the latter. Since then, binge-watching is considered normal. More people are opting to binge-race, competing to finish one season within 24 hours of a series’ release.
photo source: CC0 Public Domain
In commemoration of World Television Day 2020 on Nov 21, 2020, we list out the pros, cons, and beauty of both binge-watching and weekly watching.
There’s no waiting in binge-watching
Binge-watching has many perks. One of it is the obvious: you do not have to wait at all for the next episode. There are no commercial breaks too! The whole season is there on your TV screen, waiting for you to swallow it all up in one sitting.
You’ll connect the dots of the story easier when you binge-watch
Another fun part of binge-watching is that you won’t risk forgetting some elements of the plot, and who is who.
Have you recalled watching a heavy, complicated series and then dropped it sometime mid-season because by the time the next episode is aired on the following week, you’ve forgotten important details. For example, who is the king’s second cousin, what’s the name of the serial killer, or you just can’t seem to digest what the characters are talking about although you know they’ve mentioned the same thing in the previous episodes? Frustrating, isn’t it?
But that is unlikely the case with binge-watching. Watching one season in a short time span helps you remember and connect the dots easily!
Binge-watching affects your normal routine
There is no doubt that binge-watching in its entirety is an enjoyable activity. Like any other enjoyable activity, you’ll get a surge in the ‘feel good’ hormone, dopamine.
However, there is a downside of being too engrossed in a TV series in one sitting over long hours. You’ll eventually forget how to function like a normal, sane human being. You’ll neglect your natural needs to eat at a normal mealtime, and you are most likely to lose sleep.
And before you know it, you’ll get the feeling that your day afterwards will be messed up – oh no!
Weekly watching lets you work around your schedule
Let’s say a TV series only releases one episode per week whereby one episode’s air time would go up to 90 minutes at maximum. Therefore, out of the 24 hours you have in a day, how many do minutes do you spend for that particular show?
Just that 90 minutes! The remaining hours of the day belongs to you. You can do other things such as go jogging, eat dinnertime peacefully with your family and sleep earlier!
Weekly watch helps you catch up with the rest of the TV audiences better
Just imagine this: your social media feed is filled with spoilers on the ending of a TV show that was just released, in one full-fledged season yesterday. No fun!
That wouldn’t be the case with weekly watch.
With so many TV series available at the touch of your fingertips in this era, it can take weeks for a series to get recognised by the audience pool that are genuinely interested in a specific series.
You might even discover a certain show by week 3 once it is aired. If this is the case, you’ll have five episodes to watch before you can understand what’s actually going in week 3’s episodes (that is if the series releases 2 episodes per week). That is actually not hard to catch up compared to having to watch the entire show when you’ve already known how the ending will turn out which is even more frustrating!
A thriving recap culture from weekly releases
A good thing about weekly releases is the fact that it gives viewers the space and time to participate in cultural discussions around social media.
The one-week time frame in between episodes is a special, important time for avid viewers. It lets the viewers come up with theories, discuss on what could be the cause of it and what will happen next. One example would be discussing the episode of a show with your colleague the day after it aired simply one of the rarest joys of watching television, right?
Also, the anticipation and hype of an upcoming new episode is really… There’s just nothing quite like it!
Binge-watching or weekly watching?
There is no right or wrong way to watch TV. While binge-watching is undeniably convenient for those who can’t afford to wait seven days for the next episode, weekly watch also has its own special place, especially for the recap community.
At the end of the day, it all depends on how responsible you consume television. If you opt to binge-watch, be mindful before you click on ‘next episode’ out of a whim. Don’t chug one season in one sitting; take in maybe 3 episodes at a time. If you opt to weekly watch, don’t judge a series way too early before you drop it mid-season.
Ultimately, the best way to consume TV is to do it in moderation.