Growing up networks or even syndicated channels would have a marathon. It would be one show or one franchise airing all day long. It was a good way for people to get caught up on a series they might have come in late on or see some favorite episodes again. This would be the exception rather than the rule.
And then Netflix came along.
At first Netflix simply worked as a main-away video store. It didn’t really allow for impulse video rental but if there was a movie you just had to watch this was the place to get it. As the internet allowed better quality streaming of video they led the way in streaming TV shows and movies, but they did so from the “box set” format, posting an entire series at once. That was fine for older shows being released on home video after they aired on television, but then they started having original series, that they would release an entire season at a time and only the whole season at once. That would keep people locked to their computers and smart devices to see the whole thing so they could get in on the discussion for the latest fan favorite. Said fan favorite didn’t really last nearly as long, and didn’t have the staying power of shows not released that way, like shows on HBO or other streaming services. While marathoning/binge watching isn’t new thanks to home video, it does alter the way we interact with entertainment, and not necessarily for the better.
With some swearing in his video, Geoff Thew of Mother’s Basement explains why binge watching may actually be hurting the way we interact with TV today, since although he doesn’t mention it in the video, it has caused more marathoning even on TV networks like HGTV and Tru TV.
Catch more Mother’s Basement on their YouTube channel.
If you want to binge watch you can wait until the full season airs, and rekindle an overall discussion with those who watched it an episode a week or even a day discussing the season as a whole. Binge watching also ruins serialized storytelling because they were designed to come back each day/week, like the old movie serials. Wondering what would happen next is part of what get me into becoming a storyteller, because the ideas I came up with made for good stories on their own. Netflix also gets heat from anime fans for not releasing a full series, even when it’s translated and ready, until the entire season is done, which flies in the face of the “simuldub” crazy. I don’t have Netflix but unless it was important for review purposes I would probably watch an episode at a time, and maybe even that for reviews. After all, I’ve been reviewing books a chapter at a time recently, so why not something designed to be reviewed that way?