Some TV viewers love binge-watching, while others can’t stand it, and we thankfully live with a world of entertainment that is perfectly capable of feeding everyone’s desires. But what about the creative minds behind the shows themselves? It appears to be an equally split area, and Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan is one of those who still hasn’t quite fully embraced the all-at-once approach.
When asked to share her feelings about binge-watching methods, Kohan gave THR opinions that reflected her preference for week-to-week viewing.
I miss having people on the same page. I do miss being able to go online and have the conversation the day after. But it’s kind of a waste of time to lament that because that’s not the way our show comes.
There’s certainly no reason for her to bite the Netflix hand that feeds, but she definitely has a point. No matter how high-profile a Netflix series is, its post-release conversation life peaks extremely early and generally doesn’t last much longer than a couple of weeks. We would still be in the middle of a Daredevil mania had Season 1 come out over a 13-week span, but many of us are instead just already waiting to hear more about Season 2.
On the other hand, Netflix shows (and those for other full-release series on other streaming services) are often created specifically with a binge model in mind, and they might not work on quite the same level if they were released one by one. Plus, there’s the level of commitment that fans give these kinds of shows, which can’t be overlooked. Kohan also realizes this.
When people watch our show, they immerse themselves in it, they bathe in it, they live with these characters for hours and hours at a time – and they have a different experience because of the way they watch it, because of the binge.
Bingeable shows also take the pressure away from series that get worse with time. For instance, I stopped watching Kohan’s previous series Weeds on a weekly basis in the later seasons because it just didn’t call to me anymore; yet I had no problem burning through huge chunks of episodes at a time once they became available on DVD or Netflix, because there was less dedication involved. Of course, I’m a fan of marathon-viewing anyway, so maybe my anecdotes aren’t relevant.
Worlds are slowly colliding, though, as NBC will initially offer up all 13 episodes of its David Duchovny throwback thriller Aquarius online later this week, as well as airing it on a weekly basis. On the opposite end of things, Netflix is using a once-a-week model for the first time with its Canadian co-production Between. I guess time and ratings will tell how both of these experiments worked, and how they will inform the manner in which TV series get released in the future.
In the meantime, you can catch Season 3 of Orange is the New Black in its entirety on June 12. I wonder if Kohan will try to get Season 4 released a different way next year.