There is something slightly obscene about binge-watching any television show. To think of the years of writing, production, post and scheduling that have gone into creating the characters and their world, and here am I on the couch for 8 hours consuming it whole. Left without the angst of the episode cliff-hanger, or even the gaping questions left at the end of a season, the pace is dictated by the viewer.
In watching a show this way, I have joined the mainstream. Show me now. I want to beat the spoilers. Feed me. Feed me.
And yet we consume so many other entertainments in full. A novel we can read in a sitting. A movie beginning to end.
The mass marketing of content as a boxed set or streamable series gives us new opportunities to see the arc of characters, to engage in a way that invokes a greater visceral punch than seeing a story unfold week to week. The emotional energy may dissipate after the loss of a major character, or an injustice or a victory. Condensing these experiences allows us to immerse ourselves deeper into the world of the story.
Beyond the boxed set, technologies such as digital recorders, ABCs iView, Quickflix and cracked access to Netflix allow us to choose our pace and time, giving the viewer the greatest degree of control of story consumption. I can watch a show on my TV, my laptop, my tablet or my phone. Add to that those who access shows through streams and torrents and it becomes a viewer’s market.
That is a good thing for the creators of stories.