Yes, there is absolutely too much to binge watch from the streaming service providers these days. What? Are you shocked that “Mr. Streaming Saturday” would say such a thing? Well, it’s true. Some (not all) of the streaming providers are cranking out too much good content. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem; but, I can say that we’ve finally come to the point where there are more good shows than some (not all) of us have time to watch. Now, I’m not saying that it’s Netflix’s fault, but it’s Netflix’s fault. Let me tell you why…
… It’s Binge Watching, Itself
That’s the problem as I see it. When I find a Netflix original series that I like – or the next season of one of my favorite shows airs – I make a weekend out of binge watching it. Seems harmless so far, right? Yeah, sure… until two series I want to see open on the same weekend. There’s simply not enough time to binge watch them both. Such is the case this weekend when one of my favorite series (Dark) opens its second season on the same day as another series I enjoy (The Confession Tapes).
Netflix’s Dark, Season Two
If you read this weekly series, you’ll probably remember me talking about Dark. Some people describe it as “the German Stranger Things,” but that doesn’t do either series justice. While Stranger Things is a sci fi series set in the 1980s, Dark is set in the modern day with people traveling in and out of the past, present, and future. Big difference. Plus, in Dark, the humans are the monsters. By the time you read this, I will have at least watched half of season two.
The Confession Tapes, Season Two
Now, I’m a huge fan of Dark and I’ve waited a long time for the release of its second season. That said, I also enjoy The Confession Tapes. This Netflix true crime documentary series takes an in-depth look at cases where people convicted of murder claim their (false) confessionals were coerced. The series features the accounts of people, police, and lawyers. Sound interesting? Here’s a look at The Confession Tapes season two trailer:
What’s a Streamer to Do?
Normally, I’d say let’s blast through Dark then watch The Confession Tapes, but it just doesn’t work that way. Like most people, the Bucklers lead busy lives that include kids, jobs, and household chores. This leaves us precious little time for binge watching one series, let alone two. And as much as I want to see the second season of The Confession Tapes, I want to see Dark more. So, like I said above, if you’re reading this, I’ve already burned through at least half of the season’s episodes. The other series will have to be postponed until later… much later.
Stuart recently wrote a blog post about “streaming churn.” The term refers to people who cancel their streaming services for a variety of reasons. I’d like to suggest that there’s another type of “streaming churn.” My head is definitely churning after Mrs. Buckler and I desperately try to plow through an insane amount of interesting original series on all our streaming channels. And you have to admit, Netflix floods its channel with too many original series for a family to watch. There has to be a better way…
… And HBO Has It!
That’s right. The premium cable and satellite TV network owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia has had the answer all along. It’s what made original series dating all the way back to The Sopranos so successful. What is this secret formula, you ask? Running a series a week at a time. That’s right, the complete opposite of binge watching is one of the things that makes HBO’s original series so great. (Great writing, acting, and directing also factors into the equation.)
There’s a certain charm to having to wait until Sunday for the latest episode of some of my favorite shows. First of all, Sundays are the last day of my weekends so they always seem to fly by. Seeing the new episode of whatever HBO show I’m watching is like my last hurrah before waking up to another work week. (If you had to spend five consecutive days listening to Stuart Sweet, you’d understand the dread I feel on Sunday nights!)
Binge Watching Vs. the Weekly Model
Wow! I make it sound like quite the battle, don’t I? The truth is, I doubt there’s any kind of “streaming war” to determine the way original series are delivered. As long as people are happy binge watching, the streaming service providers will continue to feed that “need.” I’m happy knowing that the invisible hand of the market continues to guide the ways streaming service providers offer up the goods to us happy streamers.
Considering all I’ve said about market demand, it’s probably not fair that I blamed Netflix earlier. It’s up to the individual viewer to choose how they’ll watch their favorite original series. Mrs. Buckler and I have the choice to dribble out our favorite shows one episode per week. We don’t because we’re human beings who want to see it all now, now, now! So, we have consumers having the freedom to choose how they watch their favorite shows and living with the consequences of those choices. Now that’s the kind of world I want to live and stream in!