Is The ‘Internet Era’ A Danger To Television Programming As We Know It Today?

Television shows are most commonly aired on a weekly basis but as a society we have grown impatient and we want everything now. I just got done watching Netflix’s new series House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, Netflix released the entire season at once. Binge-watching TV shows is not a trend, it has become the new norm. The pleasure of the week-long crave for another episode of your favorite television show as diminished with Hulu, Netflix, and whatever other sites people use to download or stream television shows.

I have been binge-watching shows via the internet since Lost. I saw Lost show winning all of these awards, and getting so much critical-acclaim and I just had to tune in but the show had already been on air for 3 seasons. So, I went on Hulu and watched the first 3 seasons in time to watch the last 2 seasons in real time on ABC. And I hated having to wait a week between each episode, I became so acclimated with watching episodes back-to-back, that watching episodes weekly almost bored me and took the enjoyment out of the show. I of course got over that and ended up loving the show until it’s awful season finale.

As a society we want control of everything, people don’t want to schedule their days around television when they can simply pick-and-choose when they want to watch the show. People don’t want to wait until 7-9 o’clock to watch one show for 30 minutes to an hour. They want the ability to watch multiple episodes of a show at one time and be completely fulfilled.

Will Netflix’s House Of Cards have a ripple-effect? Will other shows release an entire season at once for viewers to binge-watch?

I highly doubt it because of the money networks get from advertisements and with the television is aired today there is less of a chance of viewers forgetting the show. If a network were to release an entire season of there shows all at once there will probably be a longer gap between seasons than usual. As great as House Of Cards is, the truth of the manner is that most people that I know have finished the show in a week, and I am not expecting season 2 (if there will be a season 2) until winter 2013 at best, and for just one week’s worth of material that is a long wait. For a show with as much substance of House Of Cards this strategy may work with the support and their large fan-base. Shows with a cult-following like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Homeland could easily succeed off of this strategy that Netflix has taken but I believe only very few shows could maintain their fan-bases attention after such long hiatuses. I cannot even imagine waiting 10-15 months between seasons of a comedy or a cartoon regularly.

Don’t get me wrong I love binge-watching but I binge-watch to catch up with a TV series or to watch a TV series that is already off the air, I wouldn’t find too much pleasure in all TV shows being released like House Of Cards. I enjoy having a new episode of my favorite shows every week. Lost was an anomaly for me, I binge-watched to catch up with Justified, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad (4 of my favorite TV shows) but I still love the anticipation building up from episode-to-episode. Of course, I want everything now but what makes a fan a fan is them sticking around and being anxious for what is next. The anticipation adds to the entertainment. Cliff-hangers are best when the viewer cannot control when they see the show again.

The Walking Dead airs the first episode of the second half of it’s 3rd season tonight and I am extremely excited, and that is what makes it entertaining, I would probably be happy with it if I had the whole season 3 to watch when it aired in December but the disadvantage of that is that I wouldn’t have anything new from The Walking Dead tomorrow night. So, I highly doubt and I hope that the streaming era of TV shows does not affect television as we know it today.

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