It’s the age old question……well okay, maybe not that old but it is question that gets asked a lot today, what is better, binge-watching a show or doing it old school, watching an episode per week? If you have come here for the right answer you are going to be sorely disappointed. Instead, all I can offer you is my own opinion. ‘Why would I want that?’ I hear you scream! Well, you probably don’t but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Annoyingly I think I actually sit on the fence! It entirely depends on the type of show I’m watching. I’m going to use Superhero shows as my example here as there are tonnes to choose from and they are on different formats. The Marvel/Netflix shows have achieved great success (mostly) and the main benefit of them being released on Netflix is that we get all the episodes in a season all at once! Brilliant right?! Well yes and no.
I love superheroes, I’ve never been shy about that, but as as result of my love for them I want to consume everything I can as quickly as possible (see Completionist Viewing). Having all episodes available at the same time means I will put aside literally any other show, film, game or book that I am in the middle of and watch as much of the show as I can as quick as I can! This will usually mean I finish a 10 episode season in 2 days and get very little sleep! Part of me thinks that I might not have appreciated the show as much as I could have done if I was fresh and alert after having a good night’s sleep but my craving suppresses those kind of thoughts. The nature of our world and the social media circles I live in means that everyone will be talking about these shows as soon as they are released, so naturally I want to see it all to take part in those conversations!
On the other side of things we have shows like the CW Superheroes, Agents of SHIELD and Gotham. Each releases an episode every week (Gotham will when Season 3 actually fucking airs over in the UK!!!). This gives you time to let what you see sink in, you can mull it over in your mind for an entire week, come up with theories, predictions and in my case, have time to write a little review post about it! The downside to a weekly release is that the shows tend to be longer, with the CW shows having 20+ episodes, resulting in some stories being stretched out and plenty of filler episodes. While this isn’t because the show is released weekly, it is a by product of the show having to fill such a large portion of the year.
If the show is good then I don’t mind waiting a week for another episode. If it is bad, that week gives me more time to analyse it and figure out what I didn’t like about it. Having all episodes available reduces this analysing as I will inevitably jump straight into the next episode without really thinking about what I’ve just watched. Because of this I think I remember the weekly episodes more than I do the streamed ones, but that doesn’t mean I like them more, in fact Daredevil season 1 is my favourite superhero TV show to date!
Something else I’ve only just considered, if I can watch all the episodes at once then it’s less likely I will come across spoilers. Because I live on social media, on almost a daily basis I am seeing little articles, photos, stories giving spoilers for properties that I watch. Due to most of the shows being released in the US weeks before the UK the internet is flooded with spoilers before each episode airs here. I know I know, I should avoid the internet until the episodes air but then I wouldn’t get to write for you lovely people!!!
So what have we decided here? Well, nothing really. The main benefit I can see for binge watching is being able catch up with shows you may have missed when they were originally aired. If you record them on your digital TV box or use streaming services or even have them on blu-ray or DVD, you can watch it all at your leisure. Binge watching these enables you to catch up with the rest of the world quickly, for example I am currently plowing my way through season 2 of Hannibal which I missed on tv. Soon I will able to talk to people about it!
There are ups and downs to both methods of watching but if you’re going to push me for an answer I’m going to choose binge watch, purely because of my desire to watch all of everything!!!!!
Everyone has their preference, what is yours? Let us know in the comments below!!