With winter coming, the perfect way to spend a cold rainy Sunday afternoon is with some binge viewing. Some people like to watch a TV show on DVD an episode at a time, maybe one or two episodes a week, that way they can make a TV show last for months. Others, like myself binge view. That’s when you sit down and watch at least 3 episodes of a TV show on DVD in a row, if it’s only a half hour show then at least 6 episodes in a row. The best way to tell if you binge view is when you realise that you have watched a whole disc of your TV on DVD without getting up off the couch. A much easier task when the DVD menu has a ‘play all’ option.
TV show producers and writers are well aware that many people binge view their shows and are writing and producing shows that will keep the binge viewer engaged over multiple episodes. Back in the 1980s and 1990s we may have watched the same TV show at the same time slot every week on TV but the episode each week could be viewed as a stand-alone episode. The characters were the same but the story line for each episode was pretty much wrapped up each week. If you missed an episode you could easily catch up next time you watched. Today’s shows are very different, now if you miss an episode you have lost the whole thread of the show. By binge viewing TV shows you can watch the story as a whole and the plot twists and storylines that can carry over entire episode and even to other seasons are easier to follow and remember.
Take ‘House of Cards’ as the perfect example of this. It’s a show that, while based around a few main characters, does not have stand-alone episodes. Each episode is intricate weaving of plot lines and twists that will run through the whole season and will carry over into other seasons. There are your main characters that the show on based upon and many other characters that have their own stories that all weave into the main plot. These are the kinds of TV shows that require some concentration to watch so you can keep up with who is doing what, and why. Binge viewing allows us to feel engaged into the story and is the perfect way to ensure that we don’t miss an episode of our favourite show and then literally lose the plot.