TV bingeing

I am not avoiding work. But here's another link: TV Binge by Michael Newman in Flow.

I am guilty of TV bingeing. Newman discusses how serial television becomes better when you binge, because you can see the connections and the flow of the narrative better. But I think non-serialized television shows, like procedurals, also become better. Shows that I would think have no narrative continuity suddenly show themes and storylines that are impossible to follow if you watch once a week, because they are subtle.

My main example of this is Criminal Minds, which has done things like tell the story of one of the main character's drug addiction over two seasons without mentioning it explicitly until one episode in the end of the arc where we see the character at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. A lot of this is due to the acting, where the actor made subtle changes to his demeanor and the other characters reacted to those changes, also subtly, so that it is only clear upon a rewatch of the show as a binge that you even notice all the ways they communicate to the audience that something is wrong.

I've long been a fan of TV over movies, because of the possibility of telling a story over a long period of time, the ability to create character arcs that let the audience bond with the character over years, and the complexity of serialized shows that expect the audience to pay attention and keep up. (Not to mention that if you're an actress over the age of 30, television is going to have a lot more opportunities for you than movies will.) Binges show the best of TV, letting the audience understand the possibility of the medium.

Cable dramas are generally made as serials, so here are some major network shows that become better when you binge:

Criminal Minds
Veronica Mars
the first few seasons of Law and Order

Also, watch Rubicon. That's my tip for the day.


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