TV watching habits change as shows become accessible

Watching TV is awesome. It’s like reading a book, but without having to do anything, of which I am a big fan. To me, there are few things better than watching a story unravel over 13 or so episodes.

But as we know, the process of how we watch television shows is different. With apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO GO, one can sit down on a Sunday and blow through an entire season in a day. And with so many great TV shows out there, watching all of them can almost be a full-time job (a fantastic, lazy full-time job, but the point is that it’s time consuming).

But with so many shows and so little time, it can actually be somewhat of a burden. And before you start thinking this is an article about how TV is bad, you can cut that out right now. I refer you to the opening paragraph.

Sometimes it can even be difficult to remember which shows you are continually watching. I know of some people, including myself, who keep a note in their phone just to keep everything straight. Now that is an extreme first-world problem, one that I am by no means complaining about at all. But that is the consequence of binge-watching TV shows. I know there have been plenty of times where I have searched through Netflix and found way too many shows that I want to watch. It’s a problem, but one that I accept.

I remember the first show I got hooked on through binge-watching. It was “24,” but back then I did it through the old Netflix system where I had to wait a couple of days for the next DVD to come in the mail (the horror). But even back then, I grew to become too impatient to wait.

Now, it’s even easier. Once I finish one episode, I’m one click away from beginning the next. It’s bliss. But that can also change the way one watches a show that is not available through instant streaming, like one that is     currently airing.

I know of some people who like to record every episode of a season and then watch it straight through once it is over. That sounds like a nice option, but I’m a college student, and I’m not shelling out however much extra it is to get a DVR with my cable subscription.

For some shows, I can wait until winter break to watch it at home. For instance, I watch “Homeland” on Showtime, but since I don’t have that channel at school, I’m out of options. But for others, such as “Breaking Bad,” when it was still on, I’m stuck waiting for each Sunday night like some sort of peasant.

I didn’t have any problem waiting for “Breaking Bad,” though, because that show was so damn fantastic. But for other shows, like “Boardwalk Empire,” it’s a different case. I’m able to watch it through HBO GO each week, which is a plus, but it’s a show that I like and don’t love, so I have trouble even remembering what happened the week before. Throw in any other shows I’ve been watching online, and the previous episode can get lost in the shuffle (once again, another first-world problem. I swear I’m not complaining).

These new viewing methods are a gift from the gods, and I take full advantage of them. For a television lover like myself, it allows me to watch multiple shows in a much shorter amount of time than it would have in the past. There might be some minor, and I mean minor, drawbacks, but it is by far a much more enjoyable experience than even five years ago.