Anyone can watch a single episode of their favorite television program. Even for the extremely busy soccer moms of the late 2010’s, most people are able to carve out a 30-minute (or in some instances, a full hour) block to relax with a riveting show at least once or twice per week.
Many individuals will choose to watch a TV program as it airs in real-time. For instance, Better Call Saul, a popular drama series on AMC, airs in one-hour time slots once per week over the course of approximately twelve weeks in the spring. The viewer stops watching at the end of one episode and continues on with their daily life, whether that means bedtime, chores, parenting, work, or even adult intercourse. The one-week gap between airings can oftentimes be a grueling exercise in patience. It does, however, allow the dedicated viewer to ponder what may happen next while discussing the previous episode with other fans, whether in-person or online. It also creates a sense of suspense and build-up.
The age of watching shows in real-time is quickly fading, however. Even though popular TV series continue to air in the same once-per-week format, some viewers will bypass the live airings in order to watch all of the episodes in one sitting on a digital streaming service such as Netflix. Other shows are released all-at-once on these streaming services!
Binge-watching a show is a pretty vague term, but it essentially means to watch a lot of TV in one period of time. Watching more than four consecutive hours of a show could probably constitute binge-watching, though other sessions could last upwards of 24 hours. Furthermore, the binge-watching of a show may take more than one session. It would be impossible to binge-watch the entire series of The Simpsons in one sitting. In that instance, one would likely watch a half-dozen episodes per night over the course of several months, following the aforementioned notes.
The Simpsons, however, is a poor choice to binge-watch as the series has no arc, and there is no continuance from one episode to the next. Shows that lend themselves well to binge-watching are ones whose episodes combine to form one story—essentially a very long movie!
So, now that you understand what binge-watching is, how do you do it?
- Obviously, you’re going to be dedicating a large time block towards the binge-watching effort, so make sure your schedule is cleared. Be certain work, parenting, and chores can be put off for the duration of your TV viewing.
- Next most important is state-of-mind. You have to want to do this; it cannot be forced. You should make an attempt to look forward to the binge-watching event, perhaps for several days. Make it an event!
- Who else is watching with you? If it’s just you, you make the rules. But if you’re one of several people, you’ll need to hit Pause whenever someone needs a break. That’s annoying to you and can interrupt the flow of the show.
- The temperature of the room cannot be understated. In a perfect world, you’ll want it chilly enough to where you can cover up with a blanket.
- It’s best to sit comfortably. You’re going to be sitting, slouching, or lying down, and you want to be sure to frequently change positions so as not to become sore. Be sure there are plenty of pillows nearby.
- Comfortable clothing is also a must-have. Ditch the jeans and button-down shirt. Instead, try wearing shorts, sweats, stretchy leggings, spandex, or pajamas.
- In an optimal situation, you’d be viewing when it’s dark out, or at the very least an overcast, rainy, dreary day. When the weather is foul, subconsciously your brain tells you it’s okay to stay inside and do nothing. When it’s a pleasant, sunny day, you may feel guilt or remorse for spending your day indoors staring at a screen instead of contributing to society.
- Getting up from your place of seating is disastrous and can break your concentration and mood, so try to have everything you will need within arm’s reach. This includes all remotes, your phone, access to a charger, your laptop computer, food and drinks, and any medications you may need to take.
- Bathroom breaks are a pesky nuisance, but you need to listen to your body. If your bladder is full, or you feel an urge to poop, only hold it in if you’re nearing the end of your viewing session.
- As with all good things, your binge-watching session too must come to an eventual close. Your ending may come at the end of the series, the end of a season, a designated time period, or simply whenever you fall asleep. Really, any point that gives you a momentary sense of closure is a good stopping point, if even temporarily.
In the end, it is simply a matter of watching as much of one TV show as possible in one sitting. Shows that lend themselves to a true binge-watch are those that with a season that can be viewed beginning-to-end in about ten hours.
My Hot Take:
A series like Breaking Bad is perfect for binge-watching because the seasons are short and the episodes all end with you craving more! It’s very difficult to find an ending point because from the first episode to the last, the story is never complete. I also found the Stranger Things series to be perfect for binge-watching over the course of a few days. Consume it heavily over a short period of time, then forget about it.
Shows can be viewed many episodes back-to-back if your schedule is cleared.