Holaaaaa y’all! As you may or may not know I have been binge watching Dexter on Netflix over the last few weeks. As the show comes to a close I’ve been thinking about this whole binge watching thing and trying to decide if it’s better than the traditional style of watching one episode of a week. There are a number of pros and cons of binge watching …
Pro: You don’t have to sit and wait for the next episode to come along next week. If it’s a network show you also don’t have to deal with the network suddenly deciding to show a rerun one week before returning to the current season. This is great for impatient people like me who want to get on with the show and see how it all ends. Bonus: No cliffhangers! Just go onto the next show immediately!
Con: You don’t take time to really think about the show or analyze what just happened. You just immediately click “next episode” and plow through them without seeing some of the more subtle things going on during the show.
Pro: Binge watching allows you to remember some nuggets of information that are dropped early on but not revisited until later in the season. Sometimes shows like to drop little hints about different characters or situations, but you forget about the little things if you have to wait eight to twelve weeks to revisit them.
Con: You don’t really have time to identify with anyone other than the main characters. If you binge watch a show like Dexter you might finish all eight seasons and then say “Damn, they didn’t really do much with that Quinn guy” without realizing that actually did. You were just too busy rolling your eyes at the TV saying “Get back to Dexter and this dude he’s gonna kill!”
Pro: On the other hand, if there are characters or parts of the storyline that you don’t care for, you don’t feel you’ve wasted your time watching one episode. You just go on to the next. Shows often times have “filler” episodes where nothing is really done to advance the main plot of the season other than some tidying up and maybe fixing something that was going in a bad direction.
Con: TV loses its social element. Unless you’re watching the show at the same time and at the same pace with friends, family or coworkers you don’t get to stop and talk about the show. You don’t get other people’s perspectives on what has happened. You don’t get to speculate on what might happen down the road or predict how it all ends with others either. Even if you’re watching the show with someone else, by watching several episodes a day and getting through whole seasons in a week you don’t actually talk about the show in depth.
Pro: You’re more likely to finish the series. I really thought Dexter went off the rails late in season five and continued to do so in season six and seven. But, I had already invested so much time and energy in it that I was going to see it through. If I had to wait forty weeks after season six for the next season to start, I very well might have forgotten about the show or found something better to do.
Cons: You pick up on all the little things that can make a show annoying much more easily. You see them repeating storylines more easily. You see all the clichés and tropes that are used by bad writers to fill space. This starts to really get on your nerves and you might focus on those things (or certain characters you can’t stand) more than on the show itself.
Pro: You finally get to find out what the hoopla was about surrounding a certain show and will know what people are talking about when they reference it.
Con: You might find that it just wasn’t worth it.