Episode 79: “The Future of TV and Binge Watching…”

Hey everyone! With the release of House of Cards Season 2, Cheryl and I take a philosophical look at the future of TV as well as discuss the idea of “binge watching.”

Check out the show and tell us what you think!

Put some cheese on that cracker!

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2 thoughts on “Episode 79: “The Future of TV and Binge Watching…””

  1. LOL! Guess why I’m behind on listening to the show? I was binge-watching all 13 episodes of season two!!!

    (I also watched the first season again a couple of months ago, after first seeing it when it first came out — thanks to you all turning me onto it!)

    Alas, my reaction this time was quite different from before (and from yours). To me, the BEST part was the first 44 minutes! To me it was all downhill from there. But since my critique will of necessity be at least slightly spoilery I’ll post it in a separate sub-comment below this one.

    For now though, without further ado, let me says congratulations on (and good luck with) the Ansari media project you all (and Ally) are working on! And I’m also looking forward to hearing about the “Chastity Bytes” party and after-party. (I think a DVD release IS a big deal; lots of low-budget movies that are available only on VOD would love to be on DVD! In fact I think I read recently that DVD is still a bigger revenue source than all video-on-demand sources put together.)

    Regarding the Beau Willimon interview, I think he overstated his case a lot regarding “the end of television”. After all, as you all pointed out, people have been “binging” on DVD for a long time. (And remember how when “Cop Rock” came out how so many idiot pundits were saying that soon all TV shows were going to be like that?!)

    I think the best point he made was that now shows that need to be watched in order can have a long life, whereas traditional TV syndication requires watching them randomly (which is one reason sitcoms work so well). But, actually, like binging that has also been true for several years thanks to DVD. So in a way Netflix is really just a more convenient form of DVD (without, alas, the extras); IT really was the more fundamental revolution (several hours of high quality video and yet so cheap and small and rugged) I would argue, not Netflix.

    By the way, most of the HOC episodes are actually only about 45 minutes long, not 59 minutes as you all said on the show. (I think this is to allow for ease of showing them eventually on outlets where there is advertising. Plus it’s cheaper to only have 45 minutes instead of 59. But when needed, such as the last episode, it was more like 52 minutes.)

    I just thought of my internet comments on zap2it during LOST. Starting with season four I kept encouraging people to refer to each episode as a “chapter” or “segment” as they really weren’t episodes (self-contained stories) (as they had been for the first three seasons)(the far better seasons in my view), but simply a season-long story broken up by necessity into weekly chunks. It didn’t catch on, but I kind of felt vindicated by HOC calling each segment a chapter.

    And I also argued that it would have been much better if they didn’t worry about having to end each chapter with a dramatic event, as often that just didn’t fit the story… or even ruined it, as when they pretty much said a couple of episodes before the end of the fourth season that they were going to “move” the island. Thus when it disappeared at the end of the season it wasn’t very dramatic. I mean, I’m sure for the characters it was dramatic, but there is no way on TV (or movie) it can be (if it isn’t a surprise), because we know they are just shooting a section of the ocean that doesn’t have the island in it. (Of course compared to the stupidities of the fifth and sixth seasons this was admittedly a minor issue. But I digress.)

    1. My main problems with HOC Season TWO (SPOILERS!):

      After being surprised by Manny’s positive reaction to Zoe’s death and the rest of the season, I checked the comments section of another Atlantic magazine article (the one summarizing all thirteen episodes of the second season) and was glad to read that at SOME others (besides me) were severely disappointed by the decision to kill off Zoe…

      …not to mention the the other too-convenient disposals of other season one plotlines for (I would argue) two fairly uninteresting, drawn-out plot lines (cybercrime trap, Tusk vs. Underwood) that both required people to behave in unbelievably stupid ways.

      For instance why didn’t the reporter (or the guy who got the video of the “accident”) watch the few minutes of this (or other security) video leading up to Zoe’s death? If nothing else, it would have been clear that she was talking to SOMEBODY even if we couldn’t see who it was, then ran around the blockage before “falling” into the tracks.

      Putting this together with the fact that it was known she was going to be meeting with Underwood would have made a compelling case, sufficient at least to keep the reporter out of jail.

      Of course, then we wouldn’t have the whole contrived cybercrime plot (which in reality the reporter would have spotted as a probable trap).

      Speaking of stupidities, it made no sense that Zoe would agree to meet Underwood in such a dangerous location now that she (clearly, by her own admission) suspected him of murder (of Russo).

      And did you really believe that the reporter wouldn’t sense that it was probably a trap, and before risking life in prison wouldn’t first thoroughly try to find any other security or cell-phone video, and/or try to find out where Underwood was at the time?

      Two of the things I pointed to last year when encouraging people to watch “House of Cards” (which are not true of this season) was that it didn’t rely on the two most annoying things most TV shows do:

      1) People acting stupid in order to make life easier on the writers;

      2) Perpetuating the notion (most popularized by L&O:SVU and similar crap) that attractive young women are disposable, primarily useful as devices to be raped and killed.

      Bottom line is this: As excited as I once was for this season, it has left me with little interest in the third.

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