Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rethinking My TV Watching Process

Previously, I had decided against watching TV shows until they were established. I amended that (in my head, at least) to mean I wouldn't watch TV shows until they were over. My reasoning was simple: I would binge and get caught up on a show only to lose track of it at some point during the next season. At that point, I would feel like I had to catch up from the beginning again in order to resume watching, thereby making the original catching up pointless.

I stand by that reasoning, but have made a few exceptions this year. First, I decided to watch Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (IMDb, hulu) live in order to support Joss Whedon and because I thought some of the material might get incorporated into upcoming movies. Then, because Trophy Wife (IMDb, hulu) premiered right after while I was making dinner, and it had Bradley Whitford, I figured I might as well keep current on that one as well. Then I figured I should support Karl Urban and watch Almost Human (IMDb, hulu). As you might have guessed from my linking, I keep up with them on hulu. For one, I can watch whenever I want, up to five weeks later. I'm also guessing that my view is actually tallied this way. Of course, my original position seems to be justified: Both Almost Human and Trophy Wife are unlikely to be renewed (see the end of any recent article here). My more strict position of not watching a show until it's over was also recently reinforced. I caught up with How I Met Your Mother because I loved it so much I kept watching another episode. So, I caught up well before my original target date of the end of Season 8. Then, it surprisingly got renewed for another season, and I've lost track of it.

Why am I rethinking my process, then? Because I just finished watching all five seasons of Chuck (IMDb, Netflix) over the past two weeks. Since I finished it a couple days ago, I've been in a bit of a funk. While I think Chuck ending has hit me harder than the conclusion of most other series (both because of the way Chuck ended and because it was so good overall), I think a lot of it has to do with binging on a show so intensely. When you watch multiple episodes per day, effectively spending more time with the characters than you would a significant other, and then it's suddenly over.... It is very much like a breakup. Especially when there is a strong romance involved in the show. I think this is why Scrubs' ending (not counting the medical school spinoff) was also so hard for me. For the record, the strong romance I refer to in that show is between JD and Turk - all the other ones are comparatively trivial.

Perhaps the answer is related to the problem. Maybe I just need to only binge on a TV show with a friend. This has two ways of solving the problem. First, it's quality time spent with a friend, and that friend remains around after the last episode to form a support group for the breakup we both just suffered. Second, scheduling concerns will naturally slow the pace of watching, hopefully reducing the intensity of my attachment to the show. Does it sound like a good plan?

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