How many times have you fallen for a TV series? like really fallen for it? You’re 2 or 3 episodes into binge watching the first season that’s just become available on Netflix, and you think to yourself, ‘My God, what did I ever do with myself and my spare time prior to engaging in this dramatic consumption of life and thought?’. I am absolutely all over the place with my TV series vices. Don’t give me fantasy like ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘The Walking Dead’ – I find them completely un-relatable. And please God, no ‘Sons of Anarchy’ or ‘Breaking Bad’, if you find these series interesting, go hang in your local industrial area for long enough and you can see this sort of drama unfold in REAL LIFE and in REAL TIME.
But, give me ‘Girls’, ‘OITNB’, ‘Wentworth’ or ‘Janet King’, and you wont see me for a month. There’s something real about the wind in Hannah Horvaths hair as she cycles down the streets of Brooklyn, with a friend she hasn’t seen in 4 years, in ‘Girls’. With the long hiatus’ ‘OITNB’ manufactures between seasons, you end up longing for a good dose of Red’s realism yearly come May. And tell me a fellow Aussie that doesn’t indulge in a binge of some solid home grown drama every now and then, I know I go over the top with this, always have, always will.
The binge-watching pandemic has taken populations of all ages, genders and backgrounds, and no one seems to be immune. Not even my mother, who used to refer to the TV as ‘the idiot box’, and insisted it be switched off at, what felt like, all times. She’s now found, nightly, tucked up in bed tuning into whatever Netflix series is going, ‘Cuckoo’ at the moment. But, different people tune into different series, and, whilst some would say that tuning in is an introverted socially isolating activity, how bloody good is it when you find a kindred series watching spirit? When one of your nearest and dearest is, whether forced or coincidentally, bingeing on the same program as you, it is heaven on earth! All of a sudden, the characters can be brought to life simply through conversation, and, if you’re as hooked as say – me! Catching up with kindred series watching spirit friends becomes almost like catching up with the characters themselves, oh hey ‘Shoshanna’.
People can say what they like about on demand Internet based streaming services. They can bitch and moan about how the ‘good old days’ were when you, I don’t know, gardened and spoke to your neighbours. I call those future avoiders to a challenge, to sit and watch 3 episodes of …. Hmm…. ‘Making a Murderer’ or ‘House of Cards’, and then let’s see if they come back to me about how sweet it is to swap recipes with Betty over the fence and how this binge watching madness has caused a negative flow on effect disabling them from their fence chats.
The 2016 truth of the matter is that the world wants an escape, and good, intelligent, well-written TV series give us that. We can sit back in the comfort of our own homes and escape. We can become a part of another world, and we can watch those in that world just live around us, without the need for us to interact, we can just watch. And why is this so appealing? On your average day at work, regardless of occupation, count how many individuals you encounter and interact with. We leave the house and park at the station, we watch the world around us, make eye contact with fellow passengers and train guards and ticketing officers, we purchase our coffee and engage in meaningless chit chat with our barista…. You’ll find that before you’ve even arrived at your place of work, or checked your Facebook, the number is at least 20. These interactions are neither positive nor negative, but they are certainly energy consuming. Not to mention these interactions are proof that the idea that we are a disengaged society is just pure bullshit.
Over the last month reports surfaced that Netflix is set to spend $5 billion dollars, in 2016 alone, on producing original content. Well, thank God for that, because I was beginning to think that I might have to subscribe to another streaming service to fill my downtime vice.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to check in on Mickey and Gus’ love triangle in Judd Apatows ‘Love’ – Judd Apatow – the man can do no wrong.
So ignore the binge-watching shaming and get in your onesie, grab your cup of tea and tune in, stat. No judgement here.
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