I Want It Now! :: Why Netflix is Ruining the TV Watching Experience

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Now now, read a little bit further before you jump down my throat.

I love Netflix.

It’s probably one of the greatest inventions of the Twenty-first Century. This is coming from a girl who has spent hours and hours — days even! — bingeing on entire series. The power of Netflix has introduced me to classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, overseas gems such as Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and even more recent hits like Lost and Breaking Bad. Platforms like Netflix and Hulu are great for catching up on episodes. But that’s exactly it; they’re great for catching up.

The greatest Australian export since Hugh Jackman.

This last week, the entire third season of Orange is the New Black was released on Netflix, and I was PSYCHED! It’s a fantastic show! And I’m not going to lie, I started watching it immediately; each episode trailing into another. At the same time, millions of people across the world started consuming these never-before-seen episodes. But as great of a show as OITNB is, instantly released series cannot hold a candle to the experience of watching “live” television.*

* Live as in episodes released weekly, as opposed to all at once.

For me, watching a show is a social experience.

I may be watching TV deep within the depths of my room, shades down, void of all human contact, but following a show connects me to an entire population of fellow fans. Some are my friends, some are family, some are complete strangers. But we are united through our devotion to a series.

Take this week’s finale of Game of Thrones.

If you don’t know what happened, basically the internet exploded.

And it was so much fun!

As soon as credits were rolling, everyone took to twitter to express their feelings. Jokes were cracked, theories were hatched, and support was given for the mourning. And this didn’t just happen for the last episode. After every episode, I texted my watching friends with a “OMG, can you believe that so and so did that? What does that mean?” Down the rabbit hole we go!

And you can’t forget Think Pieces! Media sites get so much traffic from writing follow-ups to the week’s episodes. Why? Because viewers want to talk about what they saw. If you have a good show, you crave more beyond the 50 minutes of air time.

Unfortunately, you can’t vent your joy/anger/shock/frustration with Netflix original series because…

Spoilers Spoilers Everywhere!

You may have finished Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in a record-breaking six hours, but your friend has been chugging through it for the last three months. There are so many things you’re dying to talk about, but you can’t because they insist on no spoilers.

Ok, now let’s consider a show with more pressing issues like OITNB. There are so many big themes to discuss: race, sexuality, class. When is too soon to release those think pieces? Look at one of my favorite news sites, Jezebel, for example: at least two Game of Thrones related articles are written a week, while only two articles for Orange is the New Black have been featured since the season’s airing. And the GoT ones discuss the episode, where as the latter revolve around casting and production.

In this day and age, leaking spoilers is a big deal! While on live TV you can assume it’s safe to talk a week later, there’s no way to tell when the whole season is released!

And by the time your friend does catch up…

What happened again?

In a fifty minute episode, how can you possibly remember every laugh, every zinger, or every time Taystee drops a fantastic Harry Potter reference?

Simple. You can’t.

Now multiply that by thirteen episodes.

I have trouble keeping what happened in the earlier episodes of the season’s GoT straight, and that’s a shorter season than Orange is the New Black, for sure. And both these shows are jam packed with fantastic writing. So all these moments that I can’t wait to talk about, to see if you cried a little too, will be lost by the time you’ve finishes the season. This could be a huge disservice to the hot button issues a groundbreaking show like that brings up.

Instead it’s like:

“Hey did you finally finish this season?”

“Yah, wasn’t it great?”

“Totally!”

“Yah…”

“OK”

“So…”

“There was something really important that I wanted to talk about, and I was waiting for you finish, but now I can’t remember.”

“Aw man, too bad.”

“Yah”

“Uhh, gotta go now.”

Stop! Let’s talk about how privelege allows Piper to manipulate the prison system, or how prison is a dumping ground for the mentally ill like Suzanne! Isn’t that why the show was written?

Is this every going to change? Probably not.

Most likely even more series will have entire seasons released at once. Society is increasingly now now now more than ever. And we’ll continue to eat it up. There’s nothing wrong with the Netflix release, but let’s never forget the thrill of live television. It’s what’s keeping us binge-aholics from becoming mole people.

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5 Fandom Saturday? :: Best Binge-worthy Shows

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As my longterm vacation *cough*unemployment*cough* comes to an end, I was planning to write a post on all the things I binge watched when daytime tv was just too unbearable to deal with. Then this 5 Fandom Friday appeared and took away that pressure. Now, bare in mind that my favorite shows to binge watch aren’t the same as the ones that I actually did binge on the last few months, so you might still be able to look forward to that post. To be an excellent, binge-worthy show, it must not only be a great show, but one that makes you say “maybe just one more” after each episode ends. They’re addictive and fun, but not too deep that you can’t multitask while watching them. And they have to be easily available for watching at any time. Here are my favorites!

Gilmore Girls

When Gilmore Girls came to Netflix, I was the happiest little bear! If you are not familiar with it (which I don’t know how you’d be living life), it follows single mom Lorelai Gilmore and her sixteen year old—the same age she was when she got pregnant—daughter Rory as they navigate their quaint and quirky New England town and the vastly different world of an elite prep school. Gilmore Girls  is such a clever and heartwarming show, full of pop culture references and funny quotes; you’ll want to watch it all day because you can’t get enough of these ladies.

Fun fact: When I first watched Gilmore Girls years ago on the WB, I was undeterrably Team Jess, but after my most recent bingewatch, I realize no girl got time for that. This may be an unpopular opinion, but oh well.

The Amazing Race

I’m going to let you in on a secret… I’m watching The Amazing Race right now at this very moment. It all started when I was craving reality tv for some weird reason, but everything on seemed so over the top and manufactured. There were too many people screaming at each other and not enough competition where you could back a team and root for them. Then I found The Amazing Race on Hulu. Teams follow clues around the world, completing various challenges that engage with the culture in order to win millions of dollars. In the five seasons I’ve binge watched in the last month, all the teams seem like such genuine good people and the drama isn’t made in the editing room, but actually in completing the course. I totally want to be on this show.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

When Buffy The Vampire Slayer first aired, I was just on the cusp of being too young for it. Some of my friends tuned in, but at that time I was more interested in Pokemon than teen dramas, even if they were supernatural. So I spent most of my life unaware of the wonders of Buffy. It wasn’t until a bunch of coworkers bonded over the show and I was left out that I thought maybe I should give it a try. The cheese-factor of the first season made me question what the hype was about, but soon I became very attached to the Scooby Gang and devoured episode after episode. But I still don’t understand why anyone would choose Angel over Spike. Don’t hate me!

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec was another show I got hooked on late into the game. Luckily I was able to watch it at such a speed that I could watch the final season as it happened. At first I was turned off at how they portrayed Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, as a ditzy screw-up, but as the show progressed, she grew into an amazingly strong, smart, but still kooky character. Leslie isn’t the only great thing about the show; there are so many hilarious, wonderful, multi-dimensional characters that I couldn’t possibly list them all. Parks and Rec is a celebration of nerdom in all its many forms and is so full of heart that it could pump an entire city.

Dr. Who

Oh man, what to say about Dr. Who that hasn’t been said a million times on geek blogs? Like many fans, I started watching during the reboot with the 9th Doctor and became wrapped up in his adventures and compassion to all creatures great and small. People can be very opinionated on who their doctor is, and all I have to say is 10 all the way, baby!

There are so many honorable mentions that are in my mind right now, but they know that they have a special place in my heart.