Along with the rise of reality television and the invention of the DVR, “binge watching” of popular TV series is probably the biggest paradigm shift in how and what we watch TV since it went from black and white to color back in the 1950s.
Binge watching usually includes an entire weekend in sweatpants, shades drawn, consuming episode after episode of Breaking Bad, 24, the Sopranos, Lost, Louie...the list goes on and on. These programs were made for the major networks and premium cable channels, to be consumed once a week for years on end, but the launch of Netflix’s series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, a new paradigm in TV production made be at hand--a 13-episode season that launches in tact. It was, in fact, made to be binge-watched.
But what does that do to the social aspect of television? Can we still talk about it around the water cooler? And how will the stories television tells change as more and more shows find this mode of distribution? What will become of the “Coming next week” trailer?
Alyssa Rosenberg, pop culture blogger for ThinkProgress and correspondent for TheAtlantic
Beau Willimon, Showrunner for Netflix drama "House of Cards"