Let’s face it…none of us, even those of us with a bit of extra time on our hands, have the time and energy to catch every single hit television show as it airs live. Even with the nifty technology at our fingertips, the amount of programming and amazing scripted and unscripted TV shows at our disposal is simply just too much to handle for the normal viewer. Sure you can DVR your shows and try to catch up with them on the weekend or when you have down time, but odds are that DVR library of yours is eventually going to fill up with content and then you’re screwed. Well, fear not, loyal TV viewers! In case you’re new to the party, we’ve got a little lesson in binge-watching for you to consider. Yes, binge watching: the act of watching an entire season of a television program in a very short amount of time. Don’t let the name scare you, binge watching is actually fun. Think about it, everyone can handle a 2 ½ hour movie, so if you break that down into television thinking, that’s about 2-3 episodes. Not too shabby for a short chunk of your day dedicated to TV. Here’s our advice on how to start the perfect binge-watching experience:
1. Pick your show…or shows.
First of all, you have to choose the story you’re going to be dedicating the next several hours of your life to, and that can sometimes be a difficult task. Do your research, talk to friends, and look at what is trending well. For instance, if you see that Game of Thrones is a common water cooler subject at work, you can rest assured it’s probably a great show. If House of Cards is pulling in awards left and right, it’s definitely worth a watch. Make sure you are going to be comfortable with the content and interested in the show itself. Another wise side-tactic, is to pick out your secondary show. Yes, a secondary option for when you might feel like you’re getting burnt out on a series. Don’t feel ashamed if you get about halfway through a season and you need a breather. Shows can get heavy sometimes, and you might need a palette cleanser every now and then. Have a handy sitcom or reality show on-hand to give you a little break from your binging. There’s no shame in wanting a little variety after a while.
2. Set Episode Goals
Think of your binge-watching experience as a workout, or a diet. You’re going to need to set goals, and stick to them throughout the process. Don’t let laziness or distractions get the better of you. First, figure out when you want to finish the season. If it’s a shorter season, say 10-12 episodes, maybe give yourself a week to finish. If you’re thinking of watching a longer season, around the 24 episode point, then maybe a few weeks will be a better fit. How many episodes can you handle per day? Two, 1-hour long episodes is manageable for most, but can get exhausting for some, and others don’t have that kind of time. Map it out. You’ll know how many episodes you need to watch and when you need to be finished.
3. Choose your friends wisely
The biggest mistake anyone can make is devoting themselves to a TV series with an unreliable friend along for the ride. Often times, people cancel plans or miss certain episodes, resulting in you having to re-watch episodes that you’ve already seen…thus wasting your time. If you have that friend who constantly needs a “Cliff’s Notes” recap after or in the middle of episodes, you might want to steer clear of those types while you’re trying to finish up a series. Everyone has a different style of TV-watching, so make sure you’re devoted to a binge-watch with people who are like-minded and have similar viewing habits. If not, you’re in for a few bumps in the road.
4. Take Advantage of the Services at Your Disposal
Nowadays, instant streaming services are available at a small cost to you, and offer a huge variety of binge-watching opportunities. Take advantage of them. You’ll have entire seasons at your disposal, all lined up perfectly in a digital row, waiting for you to resume them at any time. They’re quick, simple, and cheap, so if you aren’t already invested in Netflix, Hulu, or any other instant streaming service, you might want to start. Instant streaming not your style? Try going the old-school route and BUY your seasons on DVD. Again, you’ll have the entire season in the palm of your hand, and you can alternate DVD’s with ease. If you’re trying to catch up with a show that’s currently still in the process of wrapping up on television, you’re welcome to try the DVR option, but we’re not huge fans of that route. There are just a few risks involved when it comes to filling memory, family members or roommates deleting files, and the list goes on. But, make sure you’ve locked down your option before you start.
5. Have Fun!
Don’t let binge-watching become a task…make it fun! If you feel like you’re burning out, mix it up a bit and try different strategies. Here’s the most important part! If a show isn’t doing anything for you…if you’re really not enjoying it, you don’t NEED to finish. Some shows just don’t work for certain people. We all have our personal tastes and preferences, so you should never feel like you absolutely have to watch a show if people are talking about it. Have fun, watch the shows you want to watch, and keep on binging!