Why TV Shows Should Release their Episodes by the Season, not the Episode
As I was growing up, watching television was easy. I turned on Disney Channel and there was always flow of episodes playing, most of the time allowing for me to watch for hours on end of the same show, regardless of their order. Although, as I got older, my taste moved from Disney to more adult shows, and that’s when I was first presented with an issue that I did not recognize until fairly recently: releasing new episodes weekly. It actually wasn’t until the last few years, when Netflix broke the television trend, by premiering their original series, “House of Cards,” by the season that I got a taste of the life I wanted to be living when it came to TV watching.
The average television show releases episodes once a week until the season has aired, and then takes a large gap which lets the viewers build up excitement and theories about the following season. Now, these large several month gaps between seasons are tedious, but it’s understandable that a series can’t always be airing. On the other hand, the shorter 6 day gaps between each episode are what’s the issue. For starters, as much as a week is really not a long time, waiting a week for only 40-60 minutes of a show is highly unpleasant, sometimes it even deters me from watching the show at all. And for those series’ that are good enough to wait around for, I’m constantly trying to remember what happened last week. If it weren’t for those “previously on” snippets I’d be in the dark constantly.
Netflix has really brought light to my style of TV watching: binging. Similar to most, my best nights are those in which I’m in bed, eating snacks, and watching hours on end of television. Having just one episode of a show at a time just does not allow for a proper binge. So you might ask why I don’t just record the show and tough it out a few weeks to build up the episode count, and trust me I do, but that basically leaves me with a 3-4 week period in which I don’t get to watch the show, which as almost just as devastating. The simplest solution is just to give me a season of episodes and let me binge. The huge gap between seasons will still suck, but at least I get the satisfaction of watching at my own pace.
Another suggestion to this problem is to surf Netflix for a good show with 3+ seasons already available. This solution is a great, and trust me I’ve indulged in plenty of shows like Grey’s Anatomy or Friends, but after a while I’m ready to be watching the newest content. Let me watch the freshest shows, and let me do it by the season. For example, Stranger Things is the exact type of thing I’m looking for: a phenomenal show, it was brand new, and I could watch it all overnight if I wanted. The wait for the second season has killed me, but I prefer that to dragging eight episodes out over a matter of two months.
So, to those television networks out there attempting to bring people in, my first suggestion would be to break up the tradition and follow Netflix’s lead. You can still air your show, but put up the entire thing on On Demand or Netflix for those of us who want to watch more than 40 minutes a week. And if you choose not to do that, please, for the love of god, put a “previously on!”