A long, long time ago, the television was just another form of entertainment. Now, it's a way of life. Ever since the ingenious inventions of devices like DVR and TiVo, 'season'al addictions have flourished. Instead of rushing home from dinner or a ball game to catch your favorite show, week after week, you can record the entire season in one fell swoop. Then, you can sit back in grand couch potato fashion and watch as many episodes in a sitting as your brain can possibly comprehend (for me, it's about 5 before I zone out, become agitated, and ultimately eat ice cream...never fails). Yes, I was once a content little DVR darling, too. Then, a marvel came along and took said addiction to the next level. And that, dear readers, is the joy of my life and the bane of my existence all rolled into one perfectly priced $8.99 per month: Netflix.
Netflix has really revolutionized my personal TV style and agenda. During my DVR days of the past, I tended to record the most random and outlandish programming known to man, woman, or mutant. For example, I would record a show about hoarding, followed by a show about channeling all of your crap into a snazzy design space, and then another show about pawning said crap for a fraction of what it's worth. However, my real 'fake-life' passion would always be found in watching seasons. I'm a fan of spontaneity and instant gratification, what can I say?
In the end (that being the end of my contract and tolerance of a certain cable monopoly), I decided to nix the DVR and go with a cheaper, more portable solution. I started streaming Netflix online about a year ago, and it's been pure bliss ever since. I remember the first day, I was so enthralled in adding to my queue. The first pick I watched was The Thing Called Love with River Phoenix (oldie Indie goodie). The best part of that experience? I watched it on the treadmill. I was hooked! I am not a fan of sitting in front of the TV, or really sitting at all, for that matter. I like to feel a surge of productivity in conjunction with my lethargy. Therefore, I have become an awesome folding/ironing pro, sometimes listening from the other room as I throw a load in the dryer. I always seem to follow what's going on somehow!
A TV season is perfect for a 'gal on the go'. Thirty minutes to an hour and you've gotten a basic story, or plot update, and some closure so you can sleep at night (okay, maybe that's me! But I was REALLY concerned that Pacey was getting way too involved in stock trading, okay!) I have since fallen madly in love with watching season after season of whatever show I deem my current addiction. And with any addiction, there's the initial, hazy first few episodes. Those are the episodes that hook you, grab you, and make you eager to fold laundry late on a week night, just so you can squeeze in one more. Eventually, I find myself absorbed completely, and unwilling to watch anything else. This can go on for months, because I do leave the house, work, read, and attempt a normal life outside of TV Land (sometimes).
This leads me to what I am now experiencing, and thus the purpose of this particular post. I get sucked in, I crave episode after episode, I get familiar with the characters, and I become like the TV junkie that your parents warned you you'd be if you watched too many Saved By the Bells, while sitting close to the TV in the 80s, eating Cocoa Puffs. The real question for the utterly obsessed viewer is this: What happens when it's over? What happens when the show you've become so enamored with ends with a bang...or sometimes with no bang because it was pulled off air mid-season (eh hum, Medium!)? I have a queue full of shows, but no desire to watch any of them. None of them will be MY show. None of them will fill that void, and that predictability of what I will watch, week after week, is gone. I am left with an empty void where my favorite, beloved show with new-to-me episodes once stood. So, what else can I do? I COULD mope, or worse, watch the show again (that's when it becomes 'a problem').
As silly as it sounds, our generation, our society has become a bunch of 'TV lovin' fools'. Hollywood knows it, and that's why the keep cranking out more new gems every year (Just when I thought I would never get over Friends, I found HIMYM). We Americans love our seasons, and we will watch them on a train, on a plane...in the rain? Okay, this is starting to sound a little ridiculous, but it's true. I know I enjoy having two episodes of True Blood to watch in a row, or catching a late-night replay of the Monica and Chandler affair always puts me in a better mood.
So, what's to come in the wake of this madness on demand? I'm not sure...but I'll let you know when I finish The Walking Dead. There is life after Medium, after all.