Binge-watching has become a new addiction. A good show is just about as strong as a drug—once you start watching, it’s very hard to stop.
With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, we can’t help but binge-watch. When you don’t have to wait for the next episode to come out, why not watch it all at once? Binge-watching fulfills the satisfaction of finishing a show, but it comes with consequences.
When Watching TV Becomes a Binge
What’s considered a binge-watching session? Watching a few hour-long episodes back-to-back doesn’t hurt. However, when you start watching four or more, that becomes a significant portion of your day that gets taken up.
After the third episode, you might want to reconsider watching another. This puts you at a higher risk of watching even more episodes and falling down the binge-watching rabbit hole.
Binge-Watching Hinders Appreciation of TV Shows
Think about the schedule that TV shows used to follow. The episodes got released once a week at a specific time. After watching an episode, you’d get hyped up for next week’s. The schedule would also give you an entire week to process what just happened.
With Netflix uploading episodes by the dozen, the anticipation is gone. You can watch every single episode without having time to understand or think about where the plot might be heading. Instead, you’re mindlessly surfing through a series.
You’re taking no time to take in the cinematography, the artwork, the acting, or the writing. It might seem trivial, but failing to appreciate these elements undoes the entire purpose of television. While you can watch TV without processing the events, that just makes it harder to remember or even feel anything about the show.
Cliffhangers Lose Their Power
When you reach the end of an episode on Netflix, it likely ends on a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger is supposed to get you excited for the next episode, but binge-watching takes the fun out of it. Instead of mulling over the possibilities for about a week, you can start the next episode with a click of your remote.
The show resumes, and the cliffhanger immediately gets spoiled. At this point, it’s not much of a cliffhanger—there’s not suspense involved. Cliffhangers aren’t cliffhangers when there’s not a cliff to hang on.
How do you feel after you finish binge-watching a show? You feel completely empty inside. Your favorite characters and setting are gone, and if it’s the final season, you won’t see them ever again. In such a short period of time, you get attached to specific characters and it gets ripped away immediately.
Watching a show allows you to form a sort of virtual friendship with the characters. Having the show end is like experiencing a death.
It feels incredibly good to binge-watch at the end of a long day, but finishing the show just makes you feel even worse than you started with. To fill the void of a finished binge, you have to start watching another show. This just fuels an endless cycle of addiction and depression that shows shouldn’t produce.
Mental and Physical Exhaustion
In addition to feeling depressed after a long binge-watching session, you also feel like total garbage. You’ve been sitting for about eight hours, munching on Doritos, and it’s probably three in the morning. I don’t think anyone would feel good after that.
I’m no doctor, but you shouldn’t binge-watch for hours at a time, especially if you have a desk job. Instead of sitting at a computer all day and coming home to binge-watch a show, try watching the show in smaller portions. This will give you time to get up and walk around between episodes. It’ll also allow you to give your brain and eyes a break from screentime as well.
Resist the Urge to Binge-Watch TV
Although it might seem impossible, you can still resist the strong urge to binge-watch. Don’t let Netflix and Hulu suck you into an endless loop of episodes. I know you’ll want to see what happens next, but waiting can help you enjoy the show even more.
Binge-watching isn’t the only thing that can ruin TV shows. With the rise of social media, hype culture can also spoil TV shows, movies, and even video games.