Netflix has pioneered two excellent series in the past year or so, the first being "House of Cards," and the second being "Orange is the New Black." House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as a powerful congressman from the South. It follows his various machinations in Washington, D.C. and his home district. His wife is exceptionally played by Robin Wright, who won a prestigious award for her performance in the first season.
Netflix took the unusual step the first season of placing all thirteen "House of Cards" episodes online at once, instead of parceling out the shows one a week for thirteen weeks. Viewers who tried the series and liked it could watch all thirteen episodes one after another, if they chose. Many chose to do just that, finishing the entire first season in a matter of days.
This approach might seem to run counter to the logic of building interest in a series over time, but it seems to do the opposite. In today's world, online viewing is a fact of the new age of television. We want it now, we want it without commercial interruption, and we want it on demand.
Netflix created a second series with thirteen episodes: "Orange is the New Black." It is the tale of a young woman who made a big mistake getting involved in a criminal money laundering scheme for a drug ring. When the ring was busted and names were named by the guiltiest parties, she ended up with a federal prison sentence. Based upon a true story, the first season followed her through her first year in prison. The show has its light moments and its humor, but there is one lesson which is unmistakable: you do not want to be in prison, even one with less security and enlightened approaches to incarceration.
Netflix placed the entire second season of "House of Cards" online recently, and is poised to place the second season of "Orange is the New Black" online in June of this year. They also made the first season of each show available, so that interested new viewers can go back and catch the series from the first show of the first season all the way through the last show of the second season.
Count me as a fan of binge-watching opportunities. I absolutely love being able to make my way through an entire season's shows in a short time. Unlike shows which debut one a week on television and proceed to their end in three to six months, the shows which may be binge-watched are not beset by the problems of a new show each week. I can never manage to watch every show in such weekly telecast series without missing some, or losing some important parts of the story along the way.
With such online watching venues as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, on demand television is here to stay. It allows viewers to watch entire series in a short time. Binge watching is here to stay, so grab your remote, carve out a day or two from a long weekend, and watch your way through one of the many series now available on demand, online.
© 2014, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.