An activity of millennials everywhere: Netflix binging. Why? Because we have the means, time, and are right in the demography of the online streaming behemoth. I take a turn binging my favorite Netflix show(s) as well, but I still
view Netflix and television as something to do when you have nothing else to do (and to stay in tune with pop culture, of which I often waver).
Yesterday, Netflix’s House of Cards was released (Netflix has had a three-peat releasing the entire season on the same day, which ostensibly facilitates Netflix binging en masse). What other phenomenon transitions from a season preview to a season recap in a matter of days. You had better watch it this weekend, or stay off of social media to avoid the spoilers of your lose-lipped friends.
Netflix, I’m talking about online streaming here which unfortunately doesn’t have too many new release which I’d pay more monthly to view, has a multitude of genres and platforms. It has movies, ranging from the 5.0 average-star-rating The Wolf of Wall Street, to documentaries, to TV show series (ranging from only a few seasons to the entire series, or all sorts of genres and subcategories). Although you may spend upwards of twenty minutes finding that perfect program to watch (I’ve spent longer only to turn it off because nothing pleased me what I had available), you’re mostly likely going to find something to watch.
Nexflix is online, which means you can view it on your computer,
smartphone, or Blu-ray player. It cost a insignificant amount of money compared to cable TV. I went without cable for a little over a year. The only times I truly missed cable in lieu of Netflix was during sporting event (which are live) and when I wanted to be a lazy ass and channel surf. For thrifty, poor, or counter-cultured millennials you could have your entertainment without paying $120, after paying for hundreds of channels you’ll probably never watch; a DVR, which isn’t particular useful unless you want to rewatch the rare program you want to see again; and the fact that if you don’t watch it it’s money poorly spent (okay, that last point was solely to make three).
But why watch it? Because it does contain many shows! You can’t binge watch movies, because it’s only a few hours (well, I suppose you can spend the whole weekend watching The Lord of the Rings director’s cuts, but that’s another story for another time). I don’t want too many shows, but I’ve heard of Dexter and The Blacklist, when I saw them appear on the front screen on Netflix, I was happier than a hippie in a marijuana patch because Netflix gifted me a couple of series I wanted to watch, but had been years and years late to the party. Dexter might have even had its series finale by the time I started catching up on Netflix. It becomes an obsession in catching up on shows; Breaking Bad appeared in Netflix before its last or second-to-last season. Of course I binged the hell out of it right after Netflix brought it to me living room.
I have an obsessive personality. It’s both a gift and a curse. I will go for weeks without watching Netflix, or months without reading a book, or hours without thinking about running. However, finding a TV series on Netflix that’s been on my personal queue (the last four letters redundant) means that every expendable hour until its completion is spent watching said show on Netflix. Even I feel like a little part of me is gone after I complete a series. But, life goes on. After all, Netflix in all of its binging glory is only entertainment.
Many of the shows fit my generation’s target audience. This makes it easy for us to want to pick series after series after series to watch to its completion. Most of which I find mind-numbing, but to each his or her own. Oh look, Friends is on Netflix! Let’s either re-watch our childhood or be the only one who’s never seen it to see it. (I, actually, have never seen an entire episode of Friends, on Netflix or not.)
The death of my generation comes when Netflix binging becomes a regular part of one’s routine. It’s entertainment. Nothing more, and nothing less. It’s not a hobby (c’mon, who are you going to impress at your next mixer — if you go to them — about your prodigious, encyclopedic knowledge of foreign, horror B-movies?). I have a feeling that too many people view whippersnappers who have a myopic sense of self-being by reading various millennnial-aged websites. Although there are many ambitious millennials (of your professionals, if you want to dress us up), I see too many people list “occasion” Netflix binging as an activity. (For the love of all things sacred, watching TV it not an activity unless it’s your job or you can find a way to successfully argue that you’re in the 99-percentile of it.)
Enjoy Netflix binging my peers (and older colleagues)! I hope that enough of us subscribe that we can one day have access to more top-shelf cinema masterpieces!