Box Set Binging – watching long runs of TV serials back to back – has become a widely recognised phenomenon although, strangely it seems to have only increased in popularity as physical box sets of videos or DVDs have begun to be replaced by online streaming solutions. With membership of something like Amazon Prime or Netflix there are any number of choices for wallpapering your imagination. That can represent a substantial investment of time – often days for the most square-eyed.
I can’t be too condescending; I’m a welter weight compared to some but I have spent a fair amount of time myself on various series. However, my critical faculties haven’t been turned off entirely and I reflect that most series suffer the fatal flaw of dragging things out too long. For example, this summer, I discovered Haven. It was a multi-series TV program from fairly recently (2010-2015) set in a town where oddball things keep happening. The series hinged around a main character who… well, not wanting to offer spoilers but the protagonist had an interesting lack of solid background. I actually made it through to the start of series five over the course of a few months; not a true binge but a fairly big investment of time.
The trouble was that, after innumerable twists to try and maintain interest, its attraction broke. I think I gave up caring about the fate of the characters and it reminded me of numerous other experiences. Lost lost me by the end of the first series and even programmes that had longer attraction, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or CSI, threw me off eventually. There is something comforting about getting to know a place – even fictional – but, as in real life, things change and you can’t keep living in the same spot.
I’m glad I feel like this, really. It means I don’t waste too long on any one series. I love some of those which have been cut short (Firefly!) or better yet, worked as long form drama with a deliberate and limited story arc (Life on Mars – 16 golden episodes). I don’t think I’ll start watching anything new tonight…