Ah, summer. A season of beach towels, sunblock and (for me, anyway) lots of catching up on great television shows. Now, the popular term for such projects is “binge-watching,” but I’m not a fan of that term. It conjures up some unpleasant imagery that I’d rather ignore. Instead, I’ll call it the “speed-watch.” It’s something of a misnomer; after all, I’m not watching the shows on fast-forward or anything like that. But I am consuming episodes at a faster rate than I would have if I had been watching these shows as they air.
Here are some of my ground rules for speed-watching. Note: these are my ground rules. Maybe they don’t work for you. Maybe your ground rules are totally different. That’s cool. To each his own.
1. Generally, I like to stick to about two or three episodes of a show each day. Any more than that and I’m losing the experience of the individual episode (about which Ryan McGee has written quite eloquently) and turning the show into an elongated movie of sorts. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot of TV to catch up on. The once-per-week model just isn’t feasible if I want to consider myself a passionate television consumer.
2. I’ll rarely watch two episodes back-to-back with no break. Usually, I’ll read the reviews of the episode I just watched, usually by Alan Sepinwall and The AV Club among others. I’m doing my best to replicate the experience of watching these shows when they first aired. Reading the reviews allows me to get in on the conversation about the episode – even if I’m a little late to the party.
3. I’d love to say that I have a plan for what I’m going to finish by the end of the summer, but unfortunately, I just don’t. There are too many variables! I don’t want to spend the entire summer watching television, but I do want to cover a wide range of shows. Plus, I want to immerse myself in the world of the cinema as well! And I might want to go outside at some point.
Here’s what I’ve already watched and plan to cover on the blog soon: “Arrested Development” Season 1, “Louie” Season 1, “Friday Night Lights” Season 2
Here’s what I plan to watch in the future (subject to change and expand): “Arrested Development” Seasons 2 and 3, “Louie” Season 2, “Friday Night Lights” Season 3 (and beyond?), “Orphan Black” Season 1, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season 2
I’ll be writing up my thoughts on each of these seasons as I finish them. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in reading that sort of thing! In the meantime, I’d love to read your ground rules for “speed-watching” or even, heaven forbid, binge-watching.