It seems to me, through my trials into this subject in the past weeks, that the current mode of watching television is, just as it has historically, changing at a rapid pace. I spent a better part of my week obsessing over a new Netflix show called “Orange is the New Black”. This may seem like an average night of sitting on my couch and cramming some hummus down my throat (see my Snacking to Skinny article for why popcorn wasn’t on the menu), but on the contrary, it was me laying in bed, a good 15 inches from my computer screen for a solid three and a half hours. This is not an ode to what was once a family sat around watching their stories together. This is the modern day of accessible television that is at our disposal anytime, anywhere, and most recently in mass quantities immediately.
I had never dedicated time to this new medium of television Netflix is pioneering, where an entire season of television is given immediately. I have heard of a few series they have attempted that have been either favorable or unnecessary, however with the obvious excitement of the return of Arrested Development, the seemingly rode that show’s coattails with original programming that has since earned the company Emmy nominations. This, mixed with what one could consider boredom exacerbated by heat and hummus-overdose (I really love hummus, you guys.) and my best friend Nathalie smothering me with it’s accolades, forced me to dedicate 50 minutes per episode to the show “Orange is the New Black”. Honestly, I completely fell prisoner to this dark comedy about a woman in prison – see what I did there? It became my everything, and before I knew it, just a smidge over 72 hours later, I was completing the entire series. Three days intermittently glued to my computer screen to watch an entire series of television, and I suddenly it ended.
This new method of pushing an entire 13 episode season of television to viewers is an interesting method that could presumably only be done on some form of On Demand website. Given the opportunity, we will watch excessive amounts of television because we all know from Lost that the last 30 seconds of the episode is the part where you pee yourself or foam at the mouth from overexposure to well-written cliff hangers. I found myself clicking “next episode” consecutively, dedicating the better part of an hour of my evening to another installment of a show you should really be watching instead of reading this. Turns out, when this happens, you are faced with the clock reading “2:30 AM”; nothing but a thirst to find out what exactly will happen next on your tongue. Against my better judgement, I fell asleep, and dreamed of prison inmates and the undying urge to wake up at 6am and finish it all. Why? Because I could! The show had only just come out and I had total access to the entire series.
Of course the negative side of this all-at-once scheme comes when you finish the final episode and find that the following season comes out a whopping 330 days from then. “July 2014”. I’ll probably be in a flying car by then, with a robot dog begging for a charge at a Starbucks – since we all know those aren’t going anywhere. Seriously? I guess that will keep my Netflix subscription for the next year as they continue to add movies made from high school drama classes to their library. One would think that with the advent of this inventive new method of watching a series that they would pair it with a frequency that would quench the thirst of their audience vying for more. Now, that being said, I am sure they are bringing on new original series, but I guarantee you I will be holding my breath until next year to find out if Orange really is the new Black. That’s a long time to dedicate to a color so vibrant, and over winter at that!
With television seemingly moving towards a data medium, it seems that most of our lives are following suit. We already have magical things that throw photos you’ve just taken onto all of your devices simultaneously (which can get you into trouble if you’re not careful!) and a push for paperless billing, which my mother believes is the devil’s work because she really just wants a “hard copy” – to which I kindly respond with “Kinkos”. And to think, with all of this technologically driven entertainment I so happily embrace, I still can’t seem to teach my mother how to use it.