Binge-Viewing goes Mainstream with Netflix


Kids today. They watch television differently than we did – downloading whole seasons of a show at once and consuming the storlines in a long, sustained gulp instead of weekly sips. westwing The invention of instant downloading (from Netflix and Hulu) allowed them access to the annals of television history and over the last five years, they’ve consumed all of Friends, 24, Friday Night Lights and The West Wing, progressing through season after season much like one would consume a hefty novel. They’re not necessarily watching classic films with the same relish, or (for instance) all of Brad Pitt’s oeuvre  — though that may be the habit of other Netflix addicts. They love visiting these rich alternate realities again and again and feel true satisfaction after having consumed the whole opus. With excellent writing and beloved characters, that’s not all bad, right?

Who among us didn’t enjoy catching up with Homeland, Downton Abbey and The Wire in similar fashion? Even in an age when we are prone to complaining that movies are not edited as leanly as they could be, it’s a treat to consume the serialized storytelling of TV’s best shows.

So we take in today’s big entertainment news with trepidation, wondering what it means for the future of storytelling: Netflix has produced a 13-episode series called House of Cards (a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) and viewers will have immediate access to all 13 episodes today. It’s front page news and we wonder what you think about this development.

How do your kids watch Netflix and what do you think about this development?