The Wrap recently sat down with Damon Lindelof, showrunner for the HBO series The Leftovers. The show recently sent six episodes out for critics to view and comment upon which brought about some comments from Damon about binge watching television.
“I am old school. And not just because I agree with Joss Whedon about everything. Never before in the history of the English language has ‘binge’ been associated with something healthy or productive. Just because there is an entire can of Pringles in front of you does not mean you should eat them all in one sitting. Every time I have done this, I feel sad and guilty, and then mad at The Pringles Corporation. Which is probably not even a thing.”
When someone mentions the fact that they're old school, you know there's some ignorant comment to follow. What he fails to realize apparently is that thanks to advances in technology, we as a society are able to access our entertainment in ways we never dreamed of. The fact that you can have a show like Marvel's Iron Fist appear, from the first episode to the last, all at once for you the viewing public to consume is not a bad thing at all. Unless there's some study I'm not aware of, folks aren't losing their jobs because they're binge watching a television show. And for the rare person who has lost their job for doing just that, I think the world could stand to have one less gas station attendant.
The viewing public consumes their entertainment differently these days. We don't wait for one particular day a week to watch our favorite television shows. We watch it on the way to work, we catch the latest episode on our lunch break, we have it playing on a tablet when we're at the beach. We're no longer tied to network television to give us our entertainment.
This type of viewing has changed how Hollywood has made television. They've gone from straight episodic television to more serialized stories, such as the show that put Damon Lindelof on the map, Lost. Binge watching has made television treat their shows as if it were one long form movie and I don't see it as a bad thing. In fact, I think it makes the audience more aware of when producers have no idea of what they're doing, such as all of the story elements in Lost that were never followed up on simply because they had no clue where they were going with the story.
Television is not food. While spending sixteen hours a day watching television is certainly not healthy, spending a week watching an entire season of a television show is nothing like eating a can of Pringles. It is simply the same as reading a book before you go to bed at night. With advances in technology, consumers have more entertainment at their disposal than ever before. There's no need for us to be spoon fed our favorite shows when we can spend a weekend enjoying them.
Do you think binge watching is bad? Do you wish to see television go back to a more traditional, episodic format for their shows or does binge watching a television show from start to finish entertain you more? Let us know in the comments section below.
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SOURCE: The Wrap