Do you think it's an easy task? Of course not! Binge-watching is as much of an ordeal as working for a whole weekend straight. You need to switch off your phone, turn down the lights, get your healthy snacks in order and make sure you have the most comfortable slippers on, because it's going to be a looooong weekend! So what is the best way to binge watch, and for the uninitiated, where do you begin?
This is the most important aspect of binge-watching. You are no doubt turn left, right, and center with shows that “you just have to watch” but which ones are these? Yes, the big award winners, like House of Cards or Breaking Bad is usually a safe bet, but not all of us are into general award fodder. For every person who said that Breaking Bad was the greatest TV show of all time, there will be another that raves on about The Wire or The Sopranos with the same zest. But some of us don't have a predilection for gritty urban crime stories or the obviously relatable tale of a school teacher who turns to cooking meth with a former student. So picking your show is a hard task to accomplish. The best way to do it is to set aside a day where you watch the first episode of every TV show that everyone has been banging on about for ages. From there, you can pick the one show that stood out for you, and plow on with that one. That way you have given the other shows a chance, fair and square. And it's not even just the most recommended shows that may appeal to you anyway. You may have more left field tastes, so why are you even bothering with How I Met Your Mother? Just because everyone is talking about how “amazing” it is, doesn't mean that you will follow suit. And remember, if people keep building it up, much like American Vandal right now, you've got such a high expectation of the show that you may switch off after the first episode anyway. Choose wisely.
Step 2: Pick Your Platform
Yes, you can go for your typical streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix, but if you are a newcomer to the world of binge-watching, you may find the variety of shows a bit too much of a varied palate, and as a result you may find yourself in that quandary of taking so long to find out what you want to watch. But by the time you decide on something, you are so exhausted that the idea of binge-watching has gone out the window. This will all depend on your taste, you may want to watch anime, and as a result, there are streaming platforms available for those types of tastes. Make sure you pick your platform wisely, and if you are one of the few people in the world and hasn't got a streaming service package, the world is your oyster. The best approach is to look at the streaming services in relation to the type of content they predominantly specialize in. While Amazon Prime has a few essential dramas that you can't get anywhere else, maybe Netflix has a box set from 10 years ago that you never got round to, so this would be a better option for you. Or you want to just go back to the early 21st century with the simple DVD box set, it’s your choice!
Step 3: Set Reasonable Goals
Depending on how busy your life is, it may be a big task to set aside a 12-hour chunk to get through a short season of something. Instead you want to set up your goal to watch it over the course of a week, so for example, if you've got a season of something that is 10 to 12 episodes, maybe you want to give yourself seven days, from start to finish, roughly two episodes a night. At least then when you've finished a season, you've either whet your appetite for season 2, or you are ready to put it aside. That way you haven't wasted your life completely, it's just been one week of your existence. The other thing to think about is how many episodes can you handle on a daily basis? The show will be a big dictator of this. If it's something like The Newsroom, The West Wing, or anything written by Mr. Aaron Sorkin, you may feel like you're doing a really hard crossword puzzle, sudoku and trying to figure out one of those Magic Eye things all at the same time. So you may find yourself frazzled after an episode or two.
Tread carefully with this one. You don't want to plan an entire season of a show to watch with a friend, only to have them let you down at the last minute by not turning up. Or they've turned up late in the process, therefore forcing you to re-watch episodes. Always remember that everybody has their different approach to watching TV. Some people like to sit and focus purely on that show, while others like to talk incessantly throughout the show, forgetting exactly who people are. And if you have to reply to someone with the answer “that’s Jack Bauer...” then it's best to have them as far away from your binge-watching experience as possible.
Step 5: Enjoy Yourself
A lot of people who fall into the binge-watching trap of it becoming a major task feel like it's taking over their life. A lot of us tell ourselves that we have to finish the show, but if you're not enjoying it, is there any point? Make sure that you pick those rewarding and rich experiences. No doubt many people are still having a major break from Twin Peaks, despite the season finishing ages ago! Mainly because it's that dense and difficult to watch, but the compelling nature of the show means that we will see it through to the bitter end, but in the meantime, we can switch it up with different shows. If you're not enjoying yourself, there's no shame in taking a break.
The act of binge-watching is something we're all doing right now, and hopefully, with these simple nuggets of truth, your experience will be enriched. Good luck soldier!
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