TV in the Age of Netflix: Binge-watching

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for more than a week now, in a not-quite-sick, but not-quite-well limbo that leaves me tired, but with few other physical symptoms to point to in order to justify my sloth-like nature. So while I’ve been trying to find the right balance to bring me back to the world of the fully alert, I’ve also been resting more, and as a result also watching a lot more TV in the evenings instead of getting anything useful done.

We have Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions, and with our Roku player we can watch both on our TV without even getting up from the couch. While we still have episodes of regular TV that we watch on a week-to-week basis, I’m finding that with streaming media I’m now becoming someone who grows impatient at having to wait a week between episodes.

This has led to our new hobby: binge-watching. Do you do it, too? Netflix started this trend for us, by making their own original series with an entire season available at once. We’ve also gone back to re-watch favorite shows several episodes at a time, seeing the continuity without the long wait between episodes. It’s the ultimate instant gratification: all of the drama of the series storyline, without the seven-day (or longer!) wait between each hour long episode.

Binge-watching shows online

While there are certain shows that we will endure watching week-to-week because we can’t possibly wait for the whole season to be released (Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon A Time, etc), there are others that we give a pass to, and then later come back to binge watch.

Our latest “never-watched-but-should-have” show? Veronica Mars. After hearing so many people talk about the recent movie, and how much they loved the show years ago, I convinced Aaron that we needed to give it a try. All three seasons are available on Amazon Prime, so we started the first episode and gave it a try a few weeks ago.

Of course, I’m not sure we fit the description of true binge-watchers. Unlike some binge-watchers, we’re limited by our kid-free hours. Binge watching for us is usually only 2-3 episodes a night at most, more during the weekends, since we have to wait until the kids are in bed. But that’s really just a limit on the front end of our viewing time. We’ve watched the whole first season now, staying up far too late this weekend to see how the first season ended, and then deciding we had to watch just the first episode of season two to see who Veronica was talking to in the very last scene of season one before we could go to bed.

We’re hooked. Which means we’ll continue filling evening hours with this show until we reach the end. And we have to reach the end before June, when season two of Orange is the New Black is released. Because (for us, at least), the first rule of binge-watching is to never switch to a new show until you’ve finished all available episodes of the current show.

The kids are doing it, too, to a lesser degree. They never watched Phineas and Ferb when it was first released, but discovered it recently on Netflix and have been slowly watching their way through the first three seasons.

There are still plenty of shows that we have yet to see and will eventually get to, with current contenders being House of Cards and Breaking Bad, which friends have told us are both excellent shows. Although the nicer weather will cut down on our TV viewing time, I still think we’ll get through another show or two this summer.

What are you binge-watching? What shows are we missing out on online?

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  1. Erin Channell says:

    Binge watching: Supernatural, Dark Angel, Farscape, Stargate SG-1, In Plain Site, Warehouse 13, Eureka, Haven…anything along those lines 🙂

  2. I second Supernatural! TNT has been playing it in order from Season 1 a few weeks ago, so I get 3 episodes a day during the week. (They do a “marathon” on Fridays, but show episodes from varying seasons, so I just hold on DVR until I am ready.) I missed it the first time around, so am glad to be rapidly catching up. (I’m midway Season 5 right now.)

    And… you won’t believe it, but, until December 2012, I hadn’t seen Doctor Who. Everyone was all excited for The Snowmen, and made it perfectly clear that this was a fandom that I really ought to be a part, so I mega-binge-watched to catch myself up before Christmas that year. Of course I then had to wait like everyone else for the 50th anniversary the following year, etc. Ditto on Sherlock: watched it all and now am counting…the….days.
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  3. House is my current binge watch.
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  4. MN RN Mom says:

    We got a Roku and Netflix for the first time this past Xmas. I don’t have time to binge watch anything but my daughter and husband have enjoyed it greatly. He’s binge watched the Dr Whos, Battle Star Galactica and several documentary series. My 8 year old binge watched the newest Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated (we did too) and Phineas and Ferb, Arthur, Jessie and a few Good Luck Charlie. So many possibilities, never enough time! LOL

  5. I was tickled to find out at our family reunion that my 12 year old niece is binge-watching DS9 on Netflix. She’s become a Trekkie without me even having to do anything.
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