If you are reading this website, the chances are you have sat and watched multiple episodes of a single TV show without a real break. Whether that is 2 or 3, or double figures (Yes, I am looking at you True Detective), it all falls under the umbrella of “Binge Watching”. Viewing episodes like this is so easy in the modern world, with services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Now TV making it little more than just clicking a button. There are a lot of differing opinions on viewing shows like this, ranging from “It’s the only way to watch shows” to “It cannot be good for your health”. I am here for one reason, to tell you why it is good, so very good.
First of all, as I mentioned above, accessing multiple episodes of series is extremely easy. I use Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Sky+, all of which make it a few button clicks to begin playing. These services take your hand and guide you through selecting something to watch. Films, TV shows and documentaries aplenty, multiple categories guide you down the road quickly and easily. Not satisfied with the categories which Netflix has to offer? People have dedicated lots of time to cataloguing “Hidden Codes”. These offer you even more choice for refining your options, a lot of which will not even come up in a Netflix search. Services offer auto-continue after episodes, making it all the simpler to keep pushing on with your viewing. After a few episodes, Netflix, for example, pops up and asks you if you are still watching. If clicking “Yes” makes you feel a little guilty, worry no more. Flix Assist is an addon for Google Chrome which removes this question and even removes the countdown between episodes.
The second reason in favour of binge watching is keeping hold of the storyline. If like me, you watch multiple shows, quite often in the same or very similar genres, storylines can blend. Watching week to week, you forget little details which often become important later on. While these can sometimes be a nice surprise when you get the “Oh I remember!” moment, a lot of the time you can find yourself confused, spending far too much time trying to remember these details. Binge viewing takes this out of the equation. Watching a show like a long form movie keeps you in the same frame of mind, even increasing your attachment to the characters. I have recently started splitting my TV viewing between weekly and binge viewing. Shows like Game of Thrones sit firmly in the weekly category, mainly due to spoilers. However, shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones are designed with binge viewing in mind. Episodes often pick up immediately where others have left off, and as they are released all in one shot, everything is there on release day. Perfect if you have a few days set aside for your viewing event.
Binge-watching can actually be good for you too. Disappearing into a different world and completely immersing yourself in a story can work wonders for your imagination. Furthermore, it can help you unwind after a busy week at the office. Leave your worries at the door and slide into a comfortable spot for a few hours of quality TV. It also works wonderfully for partnerships. Binge watching with others, according to anthropologist Grant McCracken, can form binge-bonds, increasing and improving connections between people. Laughing with others in social situations is good for your health. Similarly, laughing while binge watching comedy inspires similar health benefits. Drama shows, on the other hand, inspire conversation and discussion. Furthermore, watching high-quality TV can actually make you a better person.
Obviously, everything can be toxic in the wrong dosage, and binge viewing is no different. Physical issues from sitting in the same spot for extended periods are common, as is missing out on sunlight. However, in moderation, binge viewing can be great for you, so grab some snacks, drink plenty of water and come, sit with me, I am just about to start watching Daredevil season 2 – I will see you on the other side.