The Binge Watching Experience

Surely a product of the streaming age, "binge watching" has become a bit of a spectator sport - one in which I have just started indulging.

Here's a typical scenario: a friend tells you what a good show "SuperChimps" (or whatever) is. While it does sound interesting, you quickly realize the show is now in it's third season. However, thanks to the power of Hulu, Netflix, etc, you can probably logon and watch the first couple of seasons at your leisure and get caught up, so you can now knowledgeably engage with your friend about SuperChimps.

This catching-up process is binge watching, as it can happen that you end up (either accidentally or by choice) watching multiple episodes in quick succession. Often times, it's just because you are already there in front of the TV or computer, and you are intently following along with whatever story line is being played out on the screen. Before you know it, season one of SuperChimps is over, and you are looking towards season two and beyond.

In my case, the show is "Arrow" - the TV version of the "Green Arrow" comic book hero - and over the course of a couple of weeks I find myself halfway through season two of the show. Now, I tend to only watch one or two episodes at a time (I think I watched 4 spread out out over a day on one occasion), but the appeal is that I can watch it when I am "in the mood", and I think I probably enjoy the experience that much more because of it.

While my viewing habits are not too binge-y, those made of sterner stuff may spend an entire weekend locked away soaking up a whole season of "Game of Thrones" or "Walking Dead" or whatever. Some folks invite friends over and make it into a sort of party/sleepover, either with other established fans or with newcomers to the show in question.

The number and variety of streaming services now available, the various devices one can use to enjoy them, and the slow migration of people away from "regular TV" or traditional cable TV services is making the phenomenon more and more common.

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