Remember when Netflix first started out and was basically just Blockbuster* sent to your house? Then Blockbuster created their own video mailing service, with the option to return movies to your local store so they could send you the next one even faster than Netflix. It sounded like a great idea, but where is Blockbuster today? They gone…
When Netflix first began creating original content they decided that the best way to release its newest series was to dump full seasons on us. At first it was a neat idea. There weren’t so many new shows, so you could watch them at your own pace.
Today, Netflix has multiple new shows, movies and documentaries dropping each and every week. It’s too much! Their formula is to let everyone make anything they want (which is good for creators). However, it can become a problem for consumers because there’s so many things to watch. Also, when you are making that much new content it can’t all be good, and most of it is not.
For every great Netflix show (Stranger Things, Ozark, Bojack Horseman) they also give us 100s of not so great shows (The Ranch, Marco Polo, Iron Fist). They also have given cancelled network/cable shows a new life, but they’re also hit or miss.
The Netflix formula of releasing shows all at once is way too overwhelming for me. I prefer to get one episode at a time — one a week. That’s the way it’s always been. I don’t mind waiting a week to let my mind process what I’ve seen. In fact, I prefer it. If I watch a season of a show too quick it just becomes one big ball mush in my brain.
I don’t think I would have enjoyed The Mandalorian Season 1 and 2 (on Disney+) as much as I did if I watched it all in a week or a day. I also enjoyed staying up late on a Thursday to check if it was out yet, and it wasn’t. For season 1, I woke up early for work most of those Fridays and watched the episode in bed before getting up and starting my day.
I’m also excited for WandaVision to be released weekly on Disney+. The first two episodes were released at once, and it was exciting to get one hour of this new strange show. It also gave me time to rewatch it and research what people thought was going on. When a show is released over time it also gives your brain time to come up with theories about what’s happening and where the show is headed.
I don’t really mind bingeing Reality TV shows. Just let me get it in and out of my system. It’s sort of like a mindless detox from good TV shows that is sometimes needed. It’s good for a day when you may be too tired or hungover and your brain can’t handle any story or plot. Instead you find yourself judging trashy people on some dating battle royale show, like Love Island.
Back in college, I recorded my weekly shows on VHS tapes with my VCR. Back then you had to watch it live, record it or miss it forever. Later on, I moved to DVR. Back then if an episode of a show was accidentally deleted it was time to let the entire show go, at least until there was another way to watch it. When OnDemand came along, you got a second chance to catch something you may have missed.
I do love that I can watch my shows any time and anywhere today. Yes, there may be way too many places to watch things and too many things to watch in each place. So much time is now spent figuring out what to watch vs actually watching shows. I’ve searched for something new or something I’ve wanted to watch, but by the time I find it it’s too late, so instead I watch an old favorite. I can binge a show I don’t really care about, but if it’s something I’m really into I enjoy watching it slowly with no distractions.
*For the young people, Blockbuster was one of many video rental stores (see also Hollywood Video). Instead of renting movies straight from your TV provider, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon or any other digital service, people used to go down to a Blockbuster and hope that they had whatever movie they wanted to rent in stock. If they didn’t you would walk around the store and look for something they did have. It was sort of like scrolling through streaming services looking for something to watch, but in real life.