When Netflix first started taking over my life, I was a huge fan of binging tv shows, and I could not envision a return to network television and waiting an entire week in between episodes. As of this writing, I find myself invested in three shows that require weekly viewing (WandaVision, Snowpiercer, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race), and… I love it?
This didn’t happen immediately. I saved up a few WandaVision episodes so that I could tear through them in one sitting (and I think that was necessary for the earliest episodes, as they didn’t quite hook me). I bemoaned season 2 of Snowpiercer releasing epsiodes every Tuesday when I want to know everything that will happen NOW. But with this new paradigm forced upon me, I realized there were several perks.
- It gives me something to look forward to. Tuesday night is Snowpiercer night. Previously, there was nothing special about Tuesdays, but now there is an event, however small, that elevates the evening.
- I get to enjoy every episode. When I’m binging a show, I tend to only remember things that happened near the end or that were truly huge. When I am forced to slow down and take in one episode at a time, I can appreciate more details of the story, letting them sink in while I wait for more. This also leads to more conversations, both in person and online, with speculation and discussion.
- It’s easier to stay in the cultural zeitgeist. I missed the Queen’s Gambit moment because everyone watched the show in a week, basically, while I was busy doing other things. By the time I had time to invest in the show everyone had been raving about, some new show had taken over people’s attention. When shows come out every week, it gives a bit of breathing room to watch at your pace but still be included in the cultural conversation.
I’m not saying that I want all shows to operate on a week by week release. There is a unique joy to binge watching a tv show! But I find I’m enjoying the slower pace of WandaVision and Snowpiercer, and I wouldn’t be mad if more shows took a similar route in future.