Tuesday 21 June 2011

Episodic Television and Instant Gratification

So, my husband and I aren't exactly hip. You'll see that this is true by dint of the fact that I used the word 'hip'. We're usually not on the up with whatever is currently fashionable, we're always a season or five behind. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to our television watching.We watched The Wire after it had been cancelled, we started Mad Men series one during Mad Men series four, and we finished watching the last episode of Arrested Development on Sunday.

Ok, so watching television series later than everyone else has its downsides. You are at constant risk of spoilers. The jokes that your friends tell go right over your head. You feel out of the loop. But that's balanced by the fact that, when watching a show later, you can set the pace yourself. Cliffhanger at the end of an episode? Well, you can find out what happened right now. Sure, you may miss out on an hour or two of sleep/household chores/other important things, but it's still your choice.

Recently. my husband and I started watching Game of Thrones. Yes, it's current, but two historians tuning into  a fantasy show based loosely on the War of the Roses does not make us hip. Or whatever the cool kids are saying these days. But because of this, we're watching it at the same pace as everyone else. Almost every week there's a cliff-hanger and we're left, open-mouthed, staring at the credits in shock. 'What can we do? ' we ask each other. 'How can we find out what happens next?' But there's nothing we can do.

My husband cracked, and got the book a few weeks into the series. He finished earlier than the series, and is now on book two. He's dreading the moment when he reaches the end of book four...although book five is due to be released this summer.

Have we all become spoilt? There was something nice, albeit frustrating, to looking forward to something all week. It reminded me of the serialised stories that used to be released in parts during the Victorian age. What do you guys think? Is it better to get an entire story in one go? Or rationed out?

**After all the opinions I got in comments yesterday, I decided not to review the book. Thanks for the help guys!**


  1. Ah, the test of patience. I'm torn too. It's nice to have things drawn out sometimes. I'm sure Harry Potter wouldn't have had such an obsessed fan base for over 10 years if all the books had been released at the same time.
    But on the other hand, if a TV show leaves you with a cliff hanger for too long, you begin to lose interest. I like being absorbed into the plot, and if they constantly force me out back into the real world for another week just as the story starts drawing me in... I kind of lose my momentum.

  2. Looks like an interesting movie, ive seen the promos for it on tv................Also please drop by my blog to a brand new post today from old order Mennonite Jean on helping her Amish neighbor build their new home. And look for Jeans first ever recipe (whoopie pies) on Amish Stories this Wednesday. Richard

  3. I like being about to watch them on DVD however, with Army Wives this season, I did watch it as it was shown. Someday I will have to watch Army Wives season 4 that I have on Disc.

    I don't know what is the best way for sure. I do look forward to TV at night with some shows. I do hate cliffhangers though, that much I know. I tend to avoid shows with cliffhangers if I can help it and wait for it to come on DVD. I watched Alias on DVD and came to the conclusion that I would have hated watching it on regular TV as they have cliffhangers so often. I think after a while, I lose interest because they didn't resolve the problem.


  4. teehee--I so know exactly what you're talking about. I am lousy for getting DVDs from the library or finding something on Hulu so I can watch several episodes in a row. Then I get really impatient if I ever catch up. The last show I was on top of was LOST, though I suppose I mostly keep up with Grey's Anatomy. I wonder if Game of Thrones is available in the US. Looks like something I'd like.

  5. I'm a big NetFlix fan because I can watch an entire series from start to finish in just a couple months. It also helps to catch up on a series that I find later on.

  6. I would say it's nice to have it rationed out so I have something to look forward to every week, but...my Netflix would show I lied. :P

  7. I know what you are talking about. I love NCIS and I enjoy watching it on DVD because I can always skip to the next disc when there's a cliff-hanger. :)