From watching a TV show live to binge-watching, fans consume television in so many different ways. Binge-watching seems to be a lot of people’s go to choice. Not having to wait week after week for an episode is a dream for most. Sitting in front of the couch for hours at a time with a bowl of popcorn is an amazing thing, but there is something that can be said about weekly episodes. Nothing can beat the communal experience of being part of a TV phenomenon as it’s being aired for the first time. So, binge watching or weekly episodes? Which is truly the better way to enjoy a TV show?
The binge watching era has consumed every TV viewer in recent years. It’s rare to meet someone who is not binging a show or just finished one. With Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services showcasing more and more content than ever before, TV shows are all consuming. Anyone can go back and watch a show that has ended, something most of us take for granted now.
With this is mind, fans are constantly entering fandoms for the first time. This allows TV shows to have a constant growing fan base that ultimately helps them. Most of the reboots occurring on TV and Netflix today are because of binge watching. One prime example of this is Gilmore Girls. The hit WB show joined Netflix in 2014 and introduced a whole new generation to Lorelai, Rory and Stars Hollow. The introduction to the show on Netflix ultimately paved the way for the revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life that will launch sometime this winter. Binge watching has aided shows like Gilmore Girls, X-Files, Twin Peaks and Prison Break that have ended their original run, but still have more stories to tell.
Like most people, I am constantly binge watching at least one show at a time. Although I try to keep up to date with TV, there are shows I have missed in the past either because I was too young when they aired or I just missed them all together. Binge watching helps me out here. I can catch a phenomenon that I may have missed and it’s great.
My latest binge watch was One Tree Hill, a show that I’ve been meaning to watch for years. To learn all about Nathan and Haley’s epic romance, why Brooke Davis is arguably one of the best TV characters ever and of course the importance of Gavin DeGraw for the first time was rewarding. I loved immersing myself in Tree Hill for several months and becoming best friends with every character. I never would’ve come to find one of my favorite TV shows without binge watching.
Along the same lines, binge watching has allowed TV fans to come into a TV phenomenon late. It’s hard to keep up with every TV that is on today. With all the major networks, cable networks, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other platforms delivering original content, it’s hard to watch everything weekly. Being able to watch a shows first few seasons through binge watching and then come into the show for weekly episodes is where I personally thrive. It combines the best of binge watching and the best of weekly episodes. I did this with one of my all time favorite TV shows, The Walking Dead. I binged the first three seasons and was able to catch up prior to the season four premiere. The best of both worlds, I came into the conversation at the perfect time and now am on the edge of my seat along with the millions of others on The Walking Dead hook.
Binge watching is a great way for people to catch up on a show they may have missed, watch a beloved show that ended long ago or to simply rewatch. Although I love binge watching, weekly episodes are my favorite, an opinion that seems to be dwindling amongst fans.
So, why weekly episodes? There’s nothing like being part of the immediate conversation. Watching the exact moment Negan showed up on The Walking Dead, the Red Wedding happening on Game of Thrones or when Oliver Queen stood in front of Star City as The Green Arrow for the first time. Even if you are watching those moments alone, you are simultaneously enjoying them with a million other viewers who have stayed home to watch it. It’s an amazing feelings that dates back as far as TV. People still remember where they were when Friends ended in 2004. The discussion of “Who Shot J.R?” was a cultural phenomenon. Nothing beats being in on those conversations on the ground floor.
In the great debate between binge watching and weekly episodes I stand firmly with weekly episode lovers. Binge watching is great and has allowed shows to live on way past their end date, however nothing beats the adrenaline of a weekly episode. Not knowing what will happen to your favorite characters when you sit down and turn your TV on that night, is a feeling that you can’t beat.
Watching Oliver and Felicity get together for the first time, hearing Rick Grimes utter “We are The Walking Dead,” and watching Ted meet The Mother are all moments I’m glad I witnessed live. Seeing reactions from fans across the globe pour in on social media and knowing you are experiencing it at the same time is a great feeling. I wouldn’t trade watching my favorite TV shows weekly for the world.