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Topic: Binge-Watching (Classic VS Modern TV) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 07 August 2017 at 9:25pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

It's time for me to play the grumpy old man again. I think continuing stories can be very well done and some premises are well suited for that format. But sometimes the stories are just drawn out when they could have been wrapped up much sooner. Does anyone know how to do an effective short story? Think of all of the classic episodes of old TV series that everyone remembers.
A flip side of the question might be: what series would you re-watch after you saw the final episodes?
You do have a point about many old series following a format too closely and becoming repetitive.
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 07 August 2017 at 9:32pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I would like to say you have come up with some thought-provoking threads, Robbie.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 August 2017 at 9:13am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Thank you, Warren. :)

Okay, yes, they do drag things out. I believe LOST carried on for far too long. I like that JMS told a five-year tale with BABYLON 5, but there may have been some who wanted to drag that out for 10-12 years. Not sure why HOMELAND needs to be going on forever, either. Those are just subjective views, though.

What series would I watch after the final episodes? I'd return to BABYLON 5. Seeing some revelations in that series makes revisiting the earlier episodes good - it gives them a different flavour. Won't spoil it, but some characters change a lot. Many revelations occur. That means seeing early episodes in a new light.

As for old shows following a format too closely, I watched 60s series RED CAP on DVD. A "red cap" is the term for a UK military police officer (British Army, RAF Police are called "Snow Drops"). The army's police force over here wears a red cap. Anyway, it starred John Thaw as Sergeant Mann of the S.I.B. The S.I.B. (Special Investigation Branch) is the army's detective unit. I binge-watched it on DVD and got bored very quickly. I am sure I'd have not been bored had I watched it weekly.

It took repetitiveness to new levels on a binge-watch. Mann would show up week, chat to a CO on a barracks about a crime (i.e. military thefts), interview suspects, crack the case, etc. The claustrophobic studio atmosphere probably didn't help. But other than the crimes committed, and the different characters in each story, it felt very, very similar whilst binge-watched.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 08 August 2017 at 1:39pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The wife and I enjoy binge watching "ER" and she'd LOVE to binge watch "Hill Street Blues."

I would binge watch "Police Squad"... I'd be done before dinner, but I'd like to see 'em all.

I think I'd enjoy episodic type fantasy more than just individual relatively unrelated episodes. But the ultimate factor is, do I want to watch a lot of it? Can I not wait until next week, and do I not get satiated watching just two episodes in a row? That'd be my main criterion, I believe.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 08 August 2017 at 1:50pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Police Squad,I binge watched it a few years ago after
getting a cheap dvd set,it got samey very quickly despite
it being half a dozen episodes! Now Fawlty Towers stands
up well to binge watching.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 08 August 2017 at 2:09pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Hill Street Blues would probably hold up well enough for binge watching. It was kind of The Wire of its era. But I agree that most modern TV probably works better for marathon watching than older series due to the novelistic approach to story-telling. Then again, I binge watched the crap out of the Office on Netflix and there was nothing novelistic about that. I guess what it really comes down to is quality which is why Twilight Zone marathons have been a thing for years.
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 08 August 2017 at 8:05pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Yeah, The Twilight Zone is one of the few series I actually can binge-watch. I usually can watch two episodes of a show back to back before I'm ready for something else.
But comedies like MASH, Barney Miller, Mary Tyler Moore,Cheers, Friends and The Middle can hold my attention longer.
There was an ongoing drama in the 90s called Homefront (It was set in post-World War II America.) I enjoyed watching from week to week but just couldn't get into when it was shown as a marathon.
On the other hand, I might enjoy seeing How the West Was Won, a western soap opera that aired in the 70s, now since so much time has passed.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 09 August 2017 at 3:31am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Preface: I loves me some Twilight Zone PLENTY.

And it was a TV show and it holds up to binge watching magnificently. Some July 4th or Christmastime, I desire to have the wherewithal and bladder control to REALLY get into a few hours of watching it.

But watching T.Z. is a tiny bit of a cheat... perhaps on a par with binge watching "The Wonderful World of Disney." Anthology series are great... but there's absolutely no continuity from one episode to the next at all, so it's rather like watching a sequence of different shows. Perhaps NBC Mystery Movies would be the same experience, rotating between Columbo, McMillan and Wife, McClouid, et. al. If I invested eight hours and I saw three separate and separated episodes of Columbo, I'll bet it would take longer for me to get tired of them than my endurance could last. (Hypothetically assuming I liked Columbo that much... :)

There are a few other shows I think of in that format... The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Tales from the Crypt, etc. Probably some variety shows might fall into the same situation (e.g., Red Skelton, The Smothers Brothers, The Carol Burnett Show, etc...)
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 August 2017 at 7:43pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Thinking back, the first time I ever binge watched something was when I was recovering from having my wisdom teeth pulled.   On the way home from the dentist I stopped at the video store and rented a few tapes of ROBOTECH: THE MACROSS SAGA.  These were the 6-episodes-to-a-tape releases.  Perfect for chilling on the couch with painkillers.   Made me curious enough to track down the original non-Robotech version of the story.

It's amazing how most live action prime time shows in the 80's weren't serialized but cartoons meant for kids more often than not had overall story arcs and even character development.  THUNDERCATS sticks out to me as being written in this way with a specific endpoint for the first season, but you could also tune into a random episode and not feel like you were missing out on some big plot.  It takes skill to write something so balanced it rewards both long-time and occasional viewers.

Classic Doctor Who sorta falls apart when binge-watched, mainly because the weekly serialized nature of the show forces timely cliffhangers and resolutions.  When watched back-to-back it can get a little tedious and sometimes ridiculous.  Some people have ONLY watched Doctor Who in edited-together omnibus format.  I was fortunate to live in an area where I was able to experience the show in both formats.  Hands down, I preferred the episodic version of the show, watched weekly with a small recap to jog your memory.

I wonder, has any modern showrunner actually warned viewers not to binge watch their show, or at least instructed the audience in the best way to consume their product?  

Likely not.  I assume they are probably happy that someone is watching and wouldn't risk rankling their viewership by telling them *how* to watch.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 09 August 2017 at 8:37pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"I wonder, has any modern showrunner actually warned viewers not to binge watch their show, or at least instructed the audience in the best way to consume their product?  

Likely not.  I assume they are probably happy that someone is watching and wouldn't risk rankling their viewership by telling them *how* to watch."

The only one that springs to mind is David Lynch with regards to the Twin Peaks revival. He has stated that weekly viewing is his preference as it allows viewers time to digest what they've seen instead of binging it and having it all blur together.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 August 2017 at 5:09am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I want to watch LEGION soon. Half my friends tell me to binge-watch it, the other half are saying don't. Advice anyone, please?
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 10 August 2017 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I gave up on Legion because it got very samey in my
opinion(Apparently it all comes together in final
episodes).That was watching it weekly,i`m guessing binge
watching would make it worse.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 10 August 2017 at 7:41pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I want to watch LEGION soon. Half my friends tell me to binge-watch it, the other half are saying don't. Advice anyone, please?

Tough call.   I think this one is more personal preference as it works both ways -- holds up watched in series or with pauses.   I binged the early episodes and that whet my appetite for the rest and each episode after felt like a reward for waiting a week.

My advice:  Watch the premiere episode.  If you feel compelled to find out what happens next I would say it would be safe to binge it

edit: one additional thought -- some of the explanations come pretty fast and furious in the later episodes.  I think the way I experienced the show (binge first half, weekly last half) was optimal *for me* as it gave me breathing room to digest the information given.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 10 August 2017 at 7:44pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 August 2017 at 7:05pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Thanks, Rob. Yes, I shall give that a try.

It's the first show where I never found a consensus from my friends on whether to binge or pace myself. I attend a book club once a month and we often discuss films/TV. There's usually about 10 people there. Frustratingly, 50% said binge, 50% said pace yourself. ;-)
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