It’s become a bit of a thing these days to binge watch a series. You wait till the series finishes, then you watch it all in one go. Facilitated by websites, both illegal (not saying which) and legal (netflix, quickflix) it is easy to download and consume a whole season of a show in one go. So many of my friends were binge watching Breaking Bad I almost wanted to join them just to see what all the fuss is about.
This naturally started a wave of articles on binge watching – was it good, did you get the enjoyment, the dangers of finding out what happened through spoilers. I know all these issues, I first started binge watching in 2003. I returned to Australia from one of my earlier stints in Japan, had 3 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD and no job.
Lots of vampire killing followed. I loved it, I didn’t have to wait, instant gratification. I did start to notice though, that in the last season, I had to take a break, the episodes were set a week apart, and if I didn’t stop, I couldn’t let the story or tension be absorbed.
I am watching Game of Thrones now. One of the most illegally downloaded shows in the world. It is easy to binge watch because of its structure, it’s in small bite sizes so the continuity is easy. It’s so good I started reading the books – binge reading even. I say binge reading because I sat down and read for 5 hours one Saturday. If I had done that with a TV show, it would definitely have been called binge watching, but it is how many people have been reading books for centuries.
It’s interesting how binge reading is not considered a stigma, yet the same people who binge books often also binge TV, at least in my experience. I have never felt like I have missed anything by reading an entire book in a day, whereas watching a movie trilogy, I could.
Maybe we don’t say “binge reading” because it is an active pastime rather than passive, we are reading and imagining, rather than being force fed. Maybe we miss less because of all the extra detail in books. I have no problem with binge watching good TV, but it’s funny we don’t have a name for a similar thing with reading… Maybe we should invent one, not binge reading though, too uncouth for the written word. I would suggest “feasting”. I am feasting on a book, or even feast reading. Now if you’ll excuse me, The world of Westeros awaits, and it’s always rude to be late to a feast.
Do you binge watch? Do you binge read? What are you currently addicted to?