Boxset binging on Netflix

Don’t you hate it when your favourite TV drama finishes on a cliffhanger, leaving you hankering for more, but forcing you to wait a whole week until the next episode is broadcast?

Well, thanks to online television and film services like Netflix, when one episode comes to a close, the viewer can select the next instalment in the series to play straight away.

Political drama series House of Cards was released earlier this year on Netflix as a complete series, meaning viewers could gorge on a whole series of episodes in one go.

This kind of boxset binging used to be restricted to DVD boxsets that were released long after the series had originally finished airing on TV.

But this new manner of distributing shows means that people can indulge in hours of television at the touch of a button when has only just been released.

Kevin Spacey, who produced and starred in House of Cards, is encouraging TV executives to consider investing more in services such as Netflix, as he believes they hold the key to the future of television series.

"If someone can watch an entire season of a TV series in one day, doesn’t that show an incredible attention span? We must observe, adapt and try new things to discover appetites we didn’t know were there," he said this week in his speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

But while binging on boxsets can be an antisocial activity as it sees people shut themselves away for hours drinking in the drama unfolding on their screens, it can also be a good way of sharing a series with your friends and family.

Having a series available on demand is a great way to watch it at your own pace, meaning that you can schedule a time to sit down with others and share your viewing experience. Although, this opens up a minefield to those with little self-restraint who can’t wait to watch the next episode and are all too tempted to press ‘play’ without their usual viewing companion.

American comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black sees its heroine spend 15 months in jail. She says to her fiancé on the phone: "Promise that you’re not watching Mad Men without me." Funnily enough, Orange is the New Black itself is only available on Netflix.

But having series available on demand doesn’t mean that it needs to be engorged all in one go. Some people still enjoy pacing themselves and having that next tantalizing slice of television to look forward to in a few nights’ time. Sometimes it’s nice to have something to look forward to on a lazy week night after work.

But these people are the kind of people who have the self-restraint to eat half a chocolate bar, wrap the rest up and put it in the fridge for later. Respect to them.

Personally, I will binge on a boxset until I cannot physically keep my eyes open or I have a social or work commitment that means I have to drag myself away from my screen.

I recently watched all of Homeland series one and two online in the space of a few days. It was right there, I just couldn’t help myself! I don’t know what I’m going to do when series three comes out and I have to lurch from week to week waiting for my next fill.

Are you a boxset binger? Or do you enjoy savouring episodes from week to week?

Type: White Paper


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