The Beauty of Not Binge-Watching

Entertainment seems to be swarming over us, surrounding us on all sides, and pressing in on us in a relentless pursuit of our time. With YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, if ever a person had a few free minutes, he surely doesn’t anymore. Whether it is the old black-and-white I Love Lucy reruns, the shoot-them-up Westerns, or modern TV shows, there is always a way to find something online. With new shows coming out all the time, the pressure to watch all the old episodes before a new fad comes in is ever increasing. However, is this the best way to go about it?

I have a confession to make. I am a Smallville fan. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with this classic, it is basically the story of Superman’s teenage and young adult years. Clark Kent goes through the typical struggles of  fitting into high school, being part of love triangles, and figuring out his identity. Along the way, he learns to use his superpowers, fights off meteor-infected mutants, finds mysterious caves with alien-writing in them, develops evil nemesis, and tries not to be killed with Kryponite. Typical teenage stuff, right?

What struck me about the show is that I watched it for TEN YEARS! From 2001-2011, my family and I were in front of the television every Thursday night, Friday night, or Sunday afternoon–whenever the show was playing. From the time I was ten to the time I was twenty, Smallville was a part of my life. Each week, we’d pile on the couch with popcorn and lament loudly at each cliff-hanger. We’d gird ourselves for the season finales and rejoice at each season premiere. While the days and sometimes weeks between episodes seemed long and painful, there was always something to look forward to.

Thumbnail for version as of 15:23, 19 June 2009
By The CW Network ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Last night, my sister and I rented the pilot episode of the show and watched it again. The memories of the show and the intricacies came flooding back. While some of the seasons weren’t the greatest and some of the episodes probably weren’t appropriate for preteen girls, the sense of nostalgia and connection we shared with the show were still there. We emphathized with Clark. We understood Lex. We rooted for Chloe. As we watched Clark and his friends grow up, we grew up as well.

Watching six episodes of Doctor Who in an afternoon or two episodes of The Wild Wild West a night for weeks on end is fine and dandy, but there is something about spending years with the same characters and sharing in their adventures. I’m thankful for the option available today, but I do miss those good old-fashioned series.

How about you? Any thoughts or shows that became part of your family’s culture?

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One thought on “The Beauty of Not Binge-Watching

  1. My family used to watch crime dramas on Saturday nights, just in time for church the next morning! It had to have been before they started getting extremely explicit and gorey. If not, I guess my memory has blocked it out.

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