I wasn’t overly enamoured with Netflix when I first signed up – I saw it primarily as a streaming service for Movies. I think when Quidco were giving you £15 Cashback for just taking a free trial (so long as you actually watched a few things). I browsed and found nothing I liked, or hadn’t seen, so, I just clicked on a few random films, let them play to themselves, completed my trial, got £15 cashback and closed my account.
Then I got offered another free trial, and if I’m honest, completely forgot to cancel it – so after a few months of paying for something I wasn’t using I decided to take a little look at some of the TV offerings. It has lots of TV Shows, not all of them (especially the US ones) are up to date, but I stumbled across a ‘Netflix Original’ by the name of ‘Orange is the New Black’.
Netflix Originals are series that are funded by Netflix, a proportion of your subscription, plus I imagine advertising money from product placement, and Netflix cash pay for these shows to be produced. It’s content exclusive to Netflix (although there are eventual DVD / BluRay releases) and because it’s not made by a conservative TV network, the content can be a little more risqué..
Anyway – back to Orange is the New Black – I watched it, and was drawn in almost immediately – thing is, there’s a whole season of it sat there. One episode ends (usually on a ‘WOW! WTF! What happens next?!’) and the next episode is there, cueing up to be played. I saw three episodes of OITNB on the first night I found it, within four days, all 13 episodes, the entire first season, was done. No more to watch. An agonising eight months to wait for further episodes.
It was a bit of a crap feeling, if this had been ‘normal’ TV, that series would have been spread over a quarter of a year, instead, the lot was gone in days. Sure the wait for the next season would be the same, but I’d binged on it, like a depressed comfort eater with a cheesecake.
Thing is, binge watching isn’t new, I’ve done it several times before with DVD boxsets of TV shows, from Buffy to 24, I’ve ploughed through hours of TV in days! Heck I think I did the entire first season of Downton Abbey in one day.
Netflix is naughty, it enables binge watching, when they make one of their ‘Netflix Original’ series, it all goes up in one go, every single episode – sat there – waiting to be consumed. A big, dirty cheesecake of television, all ready to go.
Netflix gave it to me and I watched House of Cards, two seasons in five sittings. The third season done in three. It’s painfully easy to find yourself on the wrong side of midnight agonising about bed or just ‘one’ more episode. I don’t sleep much, so, Netflix wins.
In the past few days I’ve whizzed through Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and now storming through Lilyhammer – both of which are fantastic Netflix Originals – but again – once they’re watched – that’s it! All done until more are made. It’s not all bad though, things a bit differently with ‘Better Call Saul’ which is the Breaking Bad Spin Off – made by AMC. A new episode is added onto Netflix each week, so binge watching it isn’t possible – you have to wait for your fix!
I suppose binge watching has been around for a while now, and is here to stay, the way we watch and consume television is changing, and I imagine will continue to evolve. Catch-up, Box-Sets, On-Demand and Streaming are all growing rapidly, and binge watching is a part of it all.
Anyway… I’ve got Lilyhammer to finish. Go away.