Binge-Watching: Do We Lose Something in the Process?

Joseph Gioeli Joseph Gioeli
Expert Contributor
August 30th, 2017

ComiConverse Expert Contributor focusing on film and television.

Since early 2013, Netflix has produced shows that can be binged. This new wave of entertainment has streaming websites, like Netflix, releasing shows by the season. ComiConverse contributor Joseph Gioeli determines whether or not we are losing something in the process of watching our favorite characters on the small screen in a new way.

In the past 3 years, Netflix and Marvel have partnered to bring us unique takes on some of Marvel’s most popular heroes. They began this joint venture in 2015 and by the end of this year, they will have their sixth show streaming on Netflix.

In April of 2015, Netflix aired season one of Daredevil and it was an immediate hit. Many did not think that it could get better than Charlie Cox’s Daredevil battling Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, but in 2016, season 2 pitted him against Jon Bernthal’s near-flawless portrayal of Frank Castle. A portrayal so powerful that it sprung its own spinoff show, The Punisher, set to release later this year. This series also brought solid supporting characters such as Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, and Elektra into the Netflix portion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Credit: Marvel Studios

About seven months after season one of Daredevil premiered, Jessica Jones began streaming. This series featured Krysten Ritter as the title character battling arguably the best villain to date in the Marvel Netflix shows, Kilgrave. David Tennant’s thought-provoking performance as instilled genuine fear into anyone watching. Season two is set to premiere sometime in 2018.

Almost a year after Jessica Jones, Netflix began streaming the Mike Colter-led series, Luke Cage. Luke had already been a major part of Jessica Jones the prior year, but by getting his own show, fans got a look into the origins of Luke and a more complete understanding of the character.

Most recently, Netflix began streaming Iron Fist in March of this year. This was a highly anticipated release, but was met with poor reviews. Whether it was claims of whitewashing, a weak storyline, a poor villain or a less-than-stellar supporting cast, Iron Fist had many areas of complaint. Regardless, it still introduced Danny Rand into this universe, which was the final piece needed to move forward with The Defenders. In mid-August, we saw all four heroes come together for an eight-episode miniseries as they attempted to dismantle the Hand for good.

Netflix

Credit: Marvel Studios

Most fans have watched, or will watch, these shows within days of their release. For decades, television shows followed a formula: every week, on a certain day and at a certain time, that show would air and viewers would tune in. Now, it is becoming much more difficult to continue this way of releasing shows since websites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are creating their own shows and releasing them by the season.

Some people like binging because they don’t have to wait a week to watch the next installment of their show. Now, they can watch as many or as few episodes as they would like, plus the episodes cane be longer since there are no commercials included and no scheduling restrictions to influence run time.

Some are not as fond of this new method since after they watch the newest season, they are forced to wait at least a year for the next chunk of episodes. This causes many fans to feel that they are not as invested in a series as they once were. Shows like Lost (2004), Breaking Bad (2008), and Game of Thrones (2011) have been and still are popular to a point of obsession with some fans.

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The question remains, are we losing something watching shows a season at a time?

The answer: Absolutely

The beauty of shows that had weekly installments was every episode was its own individual story; there was character development and relationship building that took weeks to form.

Although, there is a difference between binge watching a “bingeable” show and binge watching a show meant for weekly installments.

Netflix

Credit: Marvel Studios

Shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones were made for binge watching. They keep the pace moving because they know most people will burn through the entire season within a week, so they create relationships and develop their characters in a more fluid way that is built for a streaming show.

This is not meant to knock comic book-based shows that are not streaming via Netflix. Shows like Arrow (2012), Flash (2014), and Supergirl (2015) all air on networks, but are still popular among fans.

Regardless of how these shows are structured, I’m sure most fans would agree that we are just happy to see these characters being portrayed in media, some of them for the first time, and most of them in an accurate way.

Do you agree? Do you think something is lost in bingeable streaming shows? Let us know in the comments below!

Joseph Gioeli is an Expert ComiConverse Contributor. Follow him on Twitter: @joegioeli

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