have a confession to make. I haven’t finished the second season of “Stranger Things” yet. In fact, I haven’t even seen past the first episode of season two.
I consider myself a connoisseur of television, or at least a pretty big fan. Anyone who knows me knows that I watch as many popular and moving shows as I can, like “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead” to name a few. So when “Stranger Things” came out last year on Netflix, I was excited to watch it — I was absolutely blown away. It quickly became one of my favorite shows of all time, but to my dismay, it was only ten episodes long.
I did my best to cherish those ten episodes, but it was difficult, especially knowing that many others had already finished the show. I was constantly worried about spoilers — the only thing I hate more than a bad TV show. Yet after finishing the first season, which I did in about a month, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.
“Stranger Things” was gone as quickly as it had arrived, and despite how great the show was, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. So now, knowing the same thing will happen with season two, I have completely avoided it altogether.
The majority of the television I watch isn’t on streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu but on cable, airing one episode a week for months at a time. When I compare that style of watching television with one where you can binge an entire season in a day, in my opinion, one is much better than the other.
There are plenty of other differences that come with choosing cable or streaming television shows. Streaming a show often means opting out of the wait between episodes, and consequently all the promotion and hype that comes with a good cliffhanger, which is personally my favorite part. I love nothing more than the painfully long wait to see what happens next week. It not only makes me want to watch the next episode that much more, but giving me time between each one really lets me process and appreciate what I watched.
Take a show like “The Walking Dead,” with a consistent live viewer count of over ten million and ratings through the roof. One of the reasons that I tune in every week so attentively is because of how attached I am to the characters. When they laugh, I laugh. When they hurt, I hurt. When they cry, I cry.
That level of connection that I, and many others who watch television on a week-by-week basis, feel can’t be created in a week of binging. It takes time to really get invested in a great show and truly care about the characters.
You can try and fabricate those feelings, but nothing can truly substitute for all the time you spend alongside these characters when you don’t binge a show. And yes, I get how crazy that sounds. They aren’t real, the show isn’t real. But it’s a lot harder to remember that when you’ve invested years watching their lives unfold.
There are definitely advantages to binging a show as well, and I’m not saying that all binging is bad. I spent an entire summer watching 12 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” so I could catch up to the show before it started again in the Fall. But I would notice that along the way, when other people said they cried or were genuinely upset, I was less than moved. I only met this character last week, why should I feel bad that 3 seasons and a few days later he’s already gone?
So for now, I’ll stay caught up on my favorite television shows and leave “Stranger Things” to a later date. With the holidays coming up, plenty of shows are taking a break to finish filming, leaving me with nothing to watch after finals. At least, nothing too strange.