Or, In Defense of Binge Watching
Yesterday Jim Pagels published an invective on Slate’s BrowBeat blog urging us all to stop binge watching TV. Pagels argued that binging on TV – watching, say, a whole season in a few days or a series in a few weeks – ruins the TV viewing experience. He argued that TV shows have multi-layered structures, each of which must be respected.
TV series must constantly sustain two narrative arcs at once: that of the individual episode—which has its own beginning, middle, and end—and that of the season as a whole. (Some shows, like Breaking Bad and The Wire, operate on a third: that of the entire series.) To fully appreciate a show, you must pay attention to each of these arcs. This is one of the defining features of television as a medium and one of the things that makes it great. Continue reading