Could Netflixâ€™s programming strategy kill the golden age of TV? | TV | For Our Consideration | The A.V. Club
Jared Sperli stashed this in tv
In an enormously perceptive piece on the changes in distribution and presentation models for TV, critic Jaime Weinman argues that when a season of television is dropped onto viewersâ€™ heads all at once, it becomes, essentially, a completely different work of art. In Weinmanâ€™s estimation, if TV seasons eventually morph into one giant, super-long movieâ€”as placing all episodes online at once would suggest might happenâ€”then they will necessarily get shorter and shorter. All TV seasons have built-in redundancies and repetitions, certain patterns that are enjoyable on a week-to-week basis, but become irritating when consumed all at once. Yet the rhythms of individual episodesâ€”those patterns and repetitionsâ€”often serve to orient viewers within the series itself, even in a binge viewing. The gradual loss of these things would eventually boil down more serialized stories until they seemed more like movies than television. Binge-viewing has advantages over watching episodes one at a time. Iâ€™ve already talked to a number of peopleâ€”including our own Scott Tobiasâ€”whose first experience watching the much-debated second season of Homeland came via criticsâ€™ screeners or slightly less legal methods. And the reaction from those whoâ€™ve watched it in this format is almost uniformly more positive than the reaction from those who watched week-to-week. Individual episodesâ€™ flaws become magnified when viewers have a week between episodes to stew over them, but in the middle of a binge, those flaws are diminished, simply because itâ€™s always time to move onto the next thing. The flaws do still existâ€”everyone Iâ€™ve talked to about that season of Homeland cites some of the same problems with it that many viewers and I had, but those problems simply arenâ€™t as important, because the sweep of the thing becomes even more apparent.