Binging, a term most modern television watchers are familiar with. To ‘binge’, is to consume something in excess, and usually refers to food. However, with the creation of Netflix, Hulu, online streaming and You Tube, binging can now be used in connection with TV and Internet.
I confess myself to be a serial ‘binger’. A subscription to Netflix has made this very easy as I can sit and watch a whole series in one day, should I have the time. The fact that online streaming sites upload whole series in one go also make this easier. Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards and the recent Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp are just a few that are available straight away. This means no waiting week to week for a new episode. Many Game of Thrones fans would love all 10 episodes to be there to watch straight away, sitting down to 10 hours of blood, violence, sex and dragons.
Mass consumption of a show is great. The characters seem to develop quicker, story arcs are solved faster and a whole series in one evening can be considered that evening well spent. Either alone or with family and friends, binging on a TV show of any genre, creates a lot of fun. And there is always so much on offer.
Nevertheless, is the fact we can now binge on our favourite shows good for us? Is watching something in one or two days able to free us up to get on with other things later in the week? Or does it mean that when we get through one show or season, we simply go straight to the next and never move from the sofa (expect for toilet duties)?
I feel like binging is good and bad. Throughout the past few years, I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to relax and binge on the newest TV show someone has told me to watch (there is still a long list to get through) with no major commitments to distract me. Watching shows on Netflix is a way to unwind at the end of a long shift at work. Shows like Community, The Office or Parks and Recreation provide a good laugh and little concentration. There are well written characters, silly plots and there needs to be no real emotional connection (till they get cancelled) to the whole show.
The dramatic shows also create brilliant diversion. Daredevil, Breaking Bad and older ones like House are wonderful shows, good cast and high on the drama and action that without meaning to, you have watched a whole season in less than a week.
But there is a downside and not just the odd technical side when the Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough and too much bandwidth is used. Regular scheduled TV, is not as important. Only big shows, like Game of Thrones are what people tune in to, as pretty much everything is online. Also, for those who watch sports, TV is better. There will always be some sports game on TV (yay – go sports team!).
And there is also access. Of course, if you are signed up to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime etc, you have a wider variety, but then if you also need to eat you can only pick one. What is available on American Netflix might not be available in the UK, whereas on TV, eventually, your favourite shows will be aired in the UK and vice versa. But of course, there are ways around that.
So really, which is better – to binge on your favourite show online or waiting every week filled with suspense?
Binging. Binging is definitely better.