Binge-watching, or marathon viewing a TV show instead of catching it in weekly installments, isn’t necessarily new. Thanks to a whole host of streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, binge-watching has become incredibly easy, and even preferable to some who have grown impatient with the typical television viewing format. Perhaps that’s why TBS decided to roll out their new comedy series, “Angie Tribeca,” in a 25-hour “Binge-A-Thon,” airing the entire first season five times over the course of January 17 and 18.
So what exactly does binge-watching have to offer that regular viewing practices don’t? Sure, it offers a sense of immediacy. No longer do you have to wait a week for the resolution to a cliff hanger – now, you only have to wait a few minutes at most for the next episode to load. It also has the potential to make a complicated series with a lot of moving parts easier to understand, as one no longer has to remember key character traits or plot points from week to week. In a way, it also has the potential to help a series that might become great over time but start out slow. I love the Aziz Ansari-created (and now, Critic’s Choice Award Winning) Netflix series “Master of None,” but if I had only been able to watch the first episode, one of the slower installments, I might not have continued with it and realized how great it truly is. In summation, binge-watching certainly has its perks.
That being said, I’ve never been able to fully get on the binge-watching train. While others have gotten sick of waiting a week for a new episode, I appreciate the break. It gives me time to take in what I’ve already seen and form my own opinions and predictions on what’s to come next. I also appreciate the communal quality of everyone watching a show live at the same time. That experience can fuel exciting and interesting discussion and only add to the enjoyment of a TV series.
I also think that in some cases binge-watching can even take away from the appreciation of a show. The only time I ever tried to binge-watch something was the fourth season of “Arrested Development.” I was so excited for the fourth season to debut that I jumped at the chance to watch it all in one sitting. But now, I couldn’t tell you anything about it. I was so focused on watching it all at once that it almost feels like I didn’t really pay attention to the specific episodes themselves. (I know for a fact that I definitely didn’t watch one episode; I fell asleep for an entire episode during my binge and never bothered to go back and watch it again.) When I was finished with the season, I felt accomplished but I didn’t really feel satisfied. Binge-watching it made me more focused on what was coming next than what was happening in the moment. If you ask me, that’s not how TV should be enjoyed.
I definitely plan on watching “Angie Tribeca.” I love its star, Rashida Jones, and have no doubt in my mind that it will be funny given its creators, the hilarious Nancy and Steve Carell. But will I take part in the “Binge-A-Thon?” Probably not. While I certainly see the perks that binge-watching can offer, I much prefer to space out my viewing. Given the ways of the world now, I guess that makes me old-fashioned.
What do you think? Do you prefer to binge-watch over a weekly viewing schedule? Let me know in the comments. And, like they said in days of old…