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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I bought KNIGHT RIDER on DVD a while back. I did plan to binge-watch it. Sadly, a lot of classic shows, unlike modern shows, do not lend themselves to binge-watching.

Now, there will be exceptions, of course. I binge-watched THE INCREDIBLE HULK due to its compelling nature and the performances of Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno/Jack Colvin. And there are modern shows which I don't want to binge watch. I'm happy watching one episode of RIVERDALE a week.

However, generally speaking, I am not finding that many classic shows lend themselves to binge-watching. 

I think the problem is, and this is one way in which TV "grew up", is that episodes are very similar. There can be variety, but for the most part, quite a few shows - certainly the ones I watched - are formulaic. The 80s saw a lot of TV shows featuring lone crusaders entering towns to take on corrupt sheriffs/protection rackets/other criminals. KNIGHT RIDER is a good example of that. Whilst there was some variety, it just doesn't feel possible to sit and watch episode after episode. That's why I've paced myself with KNIGHT RIDER over the last week or so, usually 2 episodes a week.

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD is another one. As a kid, it aired weekly. As an adult, I watched it weekly. It was fine. In this age of DVD boxsets, it can get tiresome to attempt to binge-watch it. I have tried, but one gets tired with the formula after a couple of hours of binge-watching: corrupt county commissioner and his sheriff attempt to get hands on illicit booze/fake banknotes/profitable venture, Dukes learn about it, car chases occur, Dukes foil the day. Watched weekly, it's something to enjoy and look forward to, but you notice how repetitive and monotonous the formula is with a binge-watch. It doesn't make the show bad, it simply is.

TV may well have formulaic shows now, but for the most part, certainly the stuff I view on Netflix, it isn't. Something like TRAVELERS or MR ROBOT progresses in a way which doesn't feature too much repetition (even if there is a formula of sorts). I can lose myself for two or three hours watching 3-4 episodes of modern shows, but since DVD boxsets became a thing, I have come to the conclusion that many shows of yesteryear (not all) are good, but not suited to binge-watching.

Any thoughts?


Edited by Robbie Parry on 04 August 2017 at 12:14pm
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 12:42pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I could binge watch black and white episodes of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW all day long. And color episodes post-Warren, pre-last season, as well. Dick York episodes of BEWITCHED, too. (I don't care for Dick Sergeant as Darren, and the quality of the writing went down after his first two seasons.)

Modern shows, I binge-watched TRUE BLOOD and ARROW. 
Heidi told me I'd love TRUE BLOOD, and the last season was starting soon. (She was right. Loved the show, but the female nudity might have helped. ;) )  ARROW I binge-watched the first two seasons on Netflix, then watched season 3-on on The CW.

I can also binge watch DOCTOR WHO when BBC AMERICA does a marathon, if I'm in the mood, but only the post-Rose David Tennant episodes or the Amy or Amy and Rory Matt Smith episodes. (I can only bear to watch two episodes with Rose or Clara in a row.) Peter Capaldi episodes are too fresh in my mind for me to binge-watch.



Edited by Brian Floyd on 04 August 2017 at 12:43pm
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 1:52pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Modern TV series have the advantage (if you want to see it that way) of being written with season-long story arcs, so 'binge watching' is more like going through chapters of a novel. The downside to that is that I find it difficult to watch an episode of something like, say, The Flash in isolation from the rest of the series. Swings and roundabouts.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 1:58pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

It is swings and roundabouts. Very few shows now where you could just access an episode and understand it all.

Watch a random episode of THE WALKING DEAD and there's seven years of backstory/build-up, etc. Not really instantly accessible, but the arcs have a payoff.

You can tune in to a random episode of KNIGHT RIDER or THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, but if you stick with it, there aren't any arcs to keep you hooked. 

Both have pros and cons, I guess.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 2:00pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'm currently making my way thru THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW on Netflix. I'm in the third season and there's only been two episodes I've never seen. A real treat for me are the little tag scenes before the ending credits. Those were never shown when I've watched in syndication, so I'm getting something new with each episode. 

 One thing that surprises me, is how long their seasons were back then.  So far, there's been 32 episodes in a season.  It takes a while to get through one. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 2:50pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Out of Classic TV, I can binge I LOVE LUCY and THE TWILIGHT ZONE, no problem. The latter being a bit of a cheat, since it's an anthology. 
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Steve D Swanson
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 3:34pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Silly shows tend to hold up pretty well, while serious ones tend to get repetitive and tedious.

I've been binge watching Sgt. Bilko (the Phil Silvers Show) and it holds up incredibly well. The odd thing is there actually is quite a bit more variety in the stories than I would have guessed. From the vintage I'd have thought there'd be a very set formula; Bilko sets up scam, CO catches on to scam but can't stop scam, someone under Bilko screws up, scam blows up in face, the end. And there are episodes like that, but not enough to call it the typical episode. I Love Lucy was much the same, it had a formula (not talented enough wife tries to become famous much to the exasperation of her talented husband), but it strayed from it quite a lot.

I haven't watched Drama shows of that vintage so I don't know if they hold up, but it seems like by the eighties the writers had 'perfected' what it meant to be a drama show. Like they were all searching for a formula and once they found it, stuck with it. Not all, but so many did this that I think it might have just been a product of the way TV writers get trained.

The difference between drama and comedy is that comedy has to elicit a natural reaction (laughter) for it to succeed and be remembered whereas drama can kind of fake it and still succeed. That's not to say there weren't formulaic sitcoms (far from it) but the ones that stood the test of time were the ones that didn't rely on the formula and only cared about making people laugh. Might be the very nature of a joke, the same joke can be funny for a while but then it loses its power and in order to get that laugh you need to switch it up.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I don't like to binge watch anything, but effectively you've hit the nail on the head with the first few posts in this thread: it's horses for courses. Network TV of old was suited to a syndication-friendly format: you could jump in on any episode and it was accessible, self-contained. The accessibility was a strength in that any episode could be shown in any order and anyone could enjoy it. There was an instant 'in' to any and every episode. The consequent weakness was the necessary commonality between those episodes. For a persistent, long-time viewer, it could all seem very samey, and the more apparent this is/was the more episodes you watch in close succession.

Conversely, the newer format of shows that run one long plot throughout each season, or multiple seasons, is better-suited to watching in espidoes in close succession, but really they have to be in order, and if you miss one, you really notice it.

And there is a strong analogy to comics, with modern decompressed storytelling and the old concept of every issue is someone's first issue.


Edited by Peter Martin on 04 August 2017 at 5:41pm
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 6:47pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It's taken me over a year to get into the third season of Kung Fu.
Marathoning is not an option as it moves at an excruciatingly slow pace. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 8:38pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I'm currently making my way thru THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW on Netflix. I'm in the third season and there's only been two episodes I've never seen. A real treat for me are the little tag scenes before the ending credits. Those were never shown when I've watched in syndication, so I'm getting something new with each episode. 

 One thing that surprises me, is how long their seasons were back then.  So far, there's been 32 episodes in a season.  It takes a while to get through one. 

++++++++++++++++++
Then you've already watched one of my all-time favorite episodes (the pickle....excuse me....kerosene cucumbers...episode, which was reportedly Don Knotts' favorite episode), and will be watching one of my others when you get into season four (the haunted house episode).

++++++++++++++++++

Out of Classic TV, I can binge I LOVE LUCY and THE TWILIGHT ZONE, no problem. The latter being a bit of a cheat, since it's an anthology. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Two of my all-time favorites, but the holiday marathons that SyFy does have me burned out on marathoning on THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

And I can't binge I LOVE LUCY, because I'd be hurting too much from all the laughter. I can only handle about 3 episodes at a time. 


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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 04 August 2017 at 11:14pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I'm revisiting the first year the BBC's ' original Survivors' (on Youtube...for now), and did a 3-episode 'mini-binge'. It's a very character-driven show, which doesn't usually work for binge-watching, but, thanks to Terry Nation's writing, the formula works.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 12:01am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

By the way, I must admit I don't actually like the term 'binge watching'. When I used to watch three or more episodes of a TV show in one go I would to call it a 'marathon'. Call me old fashioned but I think I'm going to stick with that.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 6:39am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I agree,the word `Binge` implies something unhealthy!
Whereas i think a viewing marathon is a healthy way of
unwinding after a long day at work!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

And there is a strong analogy to comics, with modern decompressed storytelling and the old concept of every issue is someone's first issue.

*** 

Absolutely!

Pros and cons to each. I can't get into binge-watching too many 80s shows, particularly those that feature the crusader taking on criminals/corrupt sheriffs/white-collar crooks/etc. It gets very "samey" after a while. It's taking me a while to get through KNIGHT RIDER.

But the advantage is that if anyone looks for a recommendation KNIGHT RIDER episode, I can pretty much name any from the four seasons by picking what I feel are the strongest.

The cons to modern TV shows is that one cannot do that. Imagine recommending a random THE WALKING DEAD episode to someone. You'd be bombarded with questions: who is Negan? Why are the group living in a house? Who are all these communities? Why are they at odds?

But inaccessible though it is, it's certainly rewarding to a long-time viewer like myself (I've seen every episode so far). Had it been made in the 80s, I guess it'd have been an A-Team style show with various zombie scenarios/foes wrapped up within an hour.

As I told a friend, you only notice it when you attempt to binge-watch. KNIGHT RIDER first aired in 1982 in the UK. I think it aired every Saturday. You enjoyed it, you waited a week for the next episode, the previous one was long gone from your memory - and you enjoyed the formula again. But watching 4 episodes a day (as I did recently), you really notice the formulaic aspects. 


Edited by Robbie Parry on 05 August 2017 at 9:29am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 9:56am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Modern tv shows are more arc-driven, but there are still formula-heavy series.  One recent one I enjoyed was Rob Lowe's THE GRINDER.   It relied on a rather one-note wink that Lowe's hubris and good looks would win out week after week in increasingly implausible often undeserved fashion.  This funny but repetitive gag somehow worked for me as long as there was a week buffer in between.  I doubt watching three in a row would be as enjoyable.
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Jonathan A. Dowdell
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

In the world of streaming I find it hard to watch TV series on DVD. The ability to stop and start at will (on different devices) makes watching shows easy. I am almost finished Parks and Recreation on Netflix -- a show I passed on when it originally aired because I did not like the faux-documentary element. I really enjoy the characters. 

I have come up with a system for classic TV shows I did not watch in reruns (over and over) as a kid.  For The Dick Van Dyke Show, a show I never really watched, I went on the internet and read about "classic" episodes and checked out interviews with cast and creators. I picked about 10 episodes from various seasons and watched them and then expanded out from there. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 12:18pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I agree,the word `Binge` implies something unhealthy! 

-----

When I binge-watch, I end up watching 5 or 6 hours of TV straight. I don't exactly feel healthy after sitting passively that long.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Indeed, Michael, and think of the strain on the eyes! 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 4:06pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Everything in moderation,a bit of self control never
hurts!

Edited by Bill Collins on 05 August 2017 at 4:08pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 5:58pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Well, I'm about to watch the fourth episode of the first season of DAREDEVIL (three watched today so far). You're right, Bill. ;-)
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 August 2017 at 5:58pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

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Doug Jones
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Posted: 06 August 2017 at 7:07pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

ANDREW: By the way, I must admit I don't actually like the term 'binge watching'. When I used to watch three or more episodes of a TV show in one go I would to call it a 'marathon'. Call me old fashioned but I think I'm going to stick with that.


Unless you are watching those episodes while riding your excerice bicycle then you are binging. No one says "I just marathoned four plates of cherries jubilee."  

I wouldn't call that "old-fashioned; I'd call it "in denial." You clearly need an intervention, and I'll arrange it--just as soon as I've binged six episodes of INTERVENTION.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 August 2017 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I only ever watch TV shows whilst riding an exercise bicycle!

And "I marathoned four plates of cherries jubilee" is a common phrase here in the West Midlands. I hear it at least twice a day, more on weekends...
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 August 2017 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Shouldn't it be I 'Snickered' four plates of cherries
jubilee in the UK? ;-)
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 07 August 2017 at 12:52pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

"Shouldn't it be I 'Snickered' four plates of cherries jubilee in the UK?"

I've never felt bad about the change of name from Marathon to Snickers as Snickers was the original name (I believe Snickers was a horse owned by the Mars family). For some reason the name was changed for the UK market.

But enough thread drift. I'm sticking with marathons of my favourite TV series. If using the term 'binge watching' helps Doug to feel young I have no problem with that (though maybe his friends will be arranging an intervention for him at some point).  ;-)

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