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Tuesday, 3 April 2018


The clock is rushing towards two in the morning, you and your partner have watched several episode of your new favourite show, you've got work in the morning and the sand is heavy on your eyelids. suddenly your partner turns to you with an offer you can't refuse:

 'Shall we watch another episode? Go on just one more.'

Binge watching has changed the way we watch television - no longer are we slaves to the schedules but can sit down and watch anything at anytime.

'For years, particularly with the advent of the Internet, people have been griping about lessening attention spans. But if someone can watch an entire season of a TV series in one day, doesn't that show an incredible attention span? When the story is good enough, people can watch something three times the length of an opera. The audience has spoken: They want stories. They're dying for them'. Actor Kevin Spacey said in a lecture in Edinburgh back in 2013 for the annual International Television Festival.

Of course Spacey was then coming off the massive success of Netflix's House of Cards. A series made by Netflix with all 13 episodes dumped onto servers at the same time. Most people watched the entire run in a week or two. The US mega hit, Breaking Bad, considered by many to be the best TV show ever made, benefitted hugely from streaming and binge watching. It was in danger of being cancelled after only two seasons when word got around, and people started watching episodes on Catch-Up services and all of a sudden Breaking Bad was absolutely massive. For me personally, Breaking Bad was the start of my binging - I didn't start watching the series until it's entire run had completed, and then I went through all five seasons in maybe a month. I watched it at home on the big TV, at work on my Tablet and when I had an odd moment, on my phone.  The experience was intense, and to my mind more like reading an epic novel than watching television - I could pick it up when I wanted to, put it down when I felt like it, re-watch certain bits again. You really got involved with the characters, the storylines and I'm one of those people who believe that this wonderfully acted, excellently written show is indeed - THE BEST TV SHOW EVER.

'I am grateful as hell for binge-watching. I am grateful that AMC and Sony took a gamble on us in the first place to put us on the air. But I'm just as grateful for an entirely different company that I have no stake in whatsoever: Netflix. I don't think you'd be sitting here interviewing me if it weren't for Netflix. In its third season, Breaking Bad got this amazing nitrous-oxide boost of energy and general public awareness because of Netflix.' Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad

I've binged so much since then - watching entire runs of shows over nights, weeks even months - Godless, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Bridge, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Punisher, The Killing, Broadchurch, Making a Murderer, The People Vs O J Simpson. The list goes on and on. In fact these days I seldom watch a show as it is broadcast but rather pick up on the word of mouth and if there's enough people ranting about a show I'll then invest the time, energy and snacks needed to binge out. And if you are binging on something right now then you are not alone. etflix now has more than 117 million members as of December 2017. You're never far from a fellow binge-watcher.

So what about Archive readers? Do you binge and if so - what?



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