As summer draws to a close the temperatures drop and the rains increase. One of life’s great pleasures these days is a Sunday – either alone, with a significant other, or with a friends or two – with no grown-up commitments and a world of great TV shows and movies at your fingertips.
Blankets and pillows strategically arranged, some reheated pizza from the night before, a cold glass of something and the remote control and you are ready for a great day while the outside the wind howls and the rain slaps your windows. That said, it is also important to strategise your viewing approach.
Bingeing – Pros:
The most obvious benefit to spending an entire day/weekend smashing through a season or two of one series is the enjoyment of being constantly in the moment of the show with no distractions. For great drama serials these days, it is almost mandatory for each instalment to end with a twist, reveal or cliffhanger moment to ensure you come back next week or get right into the next episode. Watching numerous chapters in one sitting has you focused on the characters and story for a fully immersive feeling.
Another benefit of binge watching is to get caught up on a series before spoilers begin to proliferate everywhere. Nothing makes me angrier than missing an episode or two of my favourite show only to have spoilers delivered on my home page, on TV talk shows, or queued up at the coffee shop. Staying up to date doesn’t necessarily require a binge session as one o the great benefits of streaming allows us o get caught up quickly at a time f our choosing, but sometimes real-world priorities dictate these things.
Bingeing – Cons:
We’ve all fallen prey to ‘one more episode,’ syndrome. That’s when you get locked into a series so deeply that you lose track of real time. Super series like Game of Thrones fall easily into this realm as do shows that are released in their entirety such as House of Cards. The next thing you know, it’s 3 am and you need to be up for work in two hours.
Another drawback is remembering a show. When we watch a series week-to-week we tend to remember more details when the next season rolls around. In some cases, taking down a season in short order means a wait of up to a full year for the next season and, with characters sometimes more numerous and story lines more intricate, you might be forced to re-watch the last episodes of the previous series to re-familiarise yourself with what’s happening. And that’s a time-waster.
Rationing. This is obvious but it has many benefits. First of all, you can plan your streaming schedule to avoid interrupting your private life. You can also watch episodes every 2-3 days, or even every week, to maintain a sense of anticipation and avoid the cons of big binges mentioned above. If you’re looking to get caught up on one or both of the weekend days, pick a few shows (preferably of varying genres) and alternate them – and don’t be afraid to put a movie or two into the mix.
Mini-bingeing. I know, the idea of ‘bingeing-in-moderation’ is a bit of an oxymoron, but hear me out because this is one of my favourite approaches to TV viewing. The idea is to watch 2-4 episodes at a time (if one is really not enough for you). This will allow you to get caught up if need be, or to really get into one of your top shows for a reasonable period of time.
You can also dedicate certain days of the week to specific shows. The other benefit of mini-bingeing is for series you’re not into at the moment. Maybe your friends are recommending Lost, or The Tudors. You can watch three episodes and gain a much better feeling if this is a series you feel like committing to – this is especially handy for series which are notorious ‘slow-starters.’
Association bingeing- There are alternatives that can give you exposure to your fave shows and storylines like video games and other types of gaming. Being 2017, there’s hardly a movie or TV series to come out hat isn’t packaged up with a video game complement.
For superfans of specific franchises, gaming is a trending platform allowing you to take breaks between episodes of the real series and indulge in some free spins on slot machines based on Game of Thrones, for instance, and thereby stay mentally and emotionally connected to the top characters.
Take a break. If you’re planning rainy-Sunday-streaming-marathon, you’re still allowed to do some other things – in fact, it would be beneficial to o so. For example, after each show you watch, do something productive around the flat – do the washing, throw in a load of laundry, check email, etc. This will get you moving and clear your head in anticipation of your next viewing option. If you’re with your significant other, I’m sure you can think of other productive activities.
The rainy Sunday streaming session is a great thing in that we control what and when to watch and there’s a plethora of great TV shows out there. But just as with other types of bingeing, a little will power and self-control can be beneficial. I hope these pointers help you better maximize your streaming pleasure not just on the weekends but throughout the year.