On TV Release Schedules

Saturday 28 May 2022

I really, really, really don't like shows dropping all at once.

I'm a fucking nerd so for me a large part of consuming media is the discussions that surround it. I love watching an episode of something then going into work the next day and getting hyped up with my co-workers about all the cool stuff that happened. I love watching an episode then hopping on discord and clicking the spoiler tags in the messages of friends in time zones that make watching the show earlier than me possible, and speculating about where we think the show is going. I just love nerding out and getting passionate about the things I enjoy.

When a show airs in the traditional format, this is easy. Episode comes out, people tend to watch it that day, maybe the next and then this all happens. I have gripes about mid series breaks (mostly because I'm impatient) but it just works so well.

When a show drops all at once it's a logistical nightmare. You get people that will binge the show immediately. You get people who want to pace it out over several days. You get people who will pace it out over several weeks. I can't be annoyed by people watching shows how they want to watch shows, in general I do believe more freedom to watch stuff at your own pace is a great thing, I just want to ruminate on what we're losing, or at least what I'm losing.

When a TV show is released all at once, and people watch at their own pace it seems to remove the community aspect around these shows, or at least change it significantly. There's no gap between episodes to discuss them and come up with fun theories, there's just a next episode to watch, and a fear of looking at anything online when it comes to discussion of the show in case you run into spoilers. Some places attempt to create separate threads to discuss each episode but since it's not concentrated around a short period of time, it just feels like yelling into the void.

So you watch the episodes one after the other and then you're done. There's maybe some discussion around the ending and where you think the show's going in its next series (or if it'll get one) and there's mentions of one or two cool scenes but it all still faces the problem that this is happening asynchronously. You drop your comments and then maybe someone comes across them a week or two later. You've slept since then so don't remember everything as vividly, and maybe you've even picked up something else to obsess over instead.

And then time passes, and you think back and it's just that show you watched over a weekend. There's no unique memories for each episode, and it all blurs together. The show never felt like an event, and it all just fades away.

Stranger Things is attempting to drop its newest season in two chunks, instead of one. I assume this is more to do with Netflix's business decisions and attempts at retaining subscribers than anything I've written about, but I hope it at least helps a little bit.