Thursday, August 12, 2010

The TV Predicament

This post was inspired by a conversation I recently had with my good friend "The Hittman". We were talking about TV shows we have watched and shows we plan to watch in the future, and I posed this question.

Is it more enjoyable to go back and watch a TV series that has already concluded with the ability to watch the show in its entirety at whatever pace you want? Or is it more enjoyable to watch that same show once a week as it airs on TV so that you can be a part of the conversations that go on by the water cooler, on Twitter, etc. after big events and eventually the series finale?

I recently finished the series, The Wire and it was absolutely one of the best shows I have ever seen. But after I watched the series finale, and I didn't know what to do with myself because I wanted to discuss the conclusions and characters with other people (I may or may not have done something really nerdy and gone back and listened to a podcast between two people that had just seen the series finale of The Wire when it actually happened...don't judge me).

Then I started thinking about LOST. I watched the final two seasons of LOST week to week as they aired on ABC. If you watch LOST you probably know that one episode a week is just not enough...having to stop after just one episode is like taking a bite of a delicious Chipotle burrito and then having to save it in the fridge until next Tuesday at 8:00PM.

Fortunately I watched the first 4 seasons of LOST via DVDs which got me thinking. Was that week of getting to discuss the series finale and not having to worry about the ending being spoiled worth the agony of not getting to rip through the show in the same fashion that I did in seasons 1 through 4? Honestly, I haven't decided yet. I think I may have stumbled upon the perfect way to watch a popular TV series. Wait until it is announced that there is an end date to the show, then start watching it and catch up with a season or so to go in the series. Obviously this is easier said than done and to be honest, pretty lame to put this much thought into how to watch a TV show...but whatever, I want credit for this genius idea.

This mental debate also led me to another conundrum.

As technology advances there are more and more ways to watch TV shows on demand (DVR, HBO on demand, cable on demand, netflix, HULU, etc.). But at the same time the technologies for discussing TV shows and having shows spoiled for you are also increasing at a similar rate (Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, texting, blogs...hate to break it to you but SPOILER ALERT...Ross and Rachel got back together). So as it gets easier to watch a show whenever you want it is also becoming necessary to watch a show as soon after it airs as possible in order to avoid any chance of becoming the victim of a spoiler.

Quite the Catch 22.

I don't normally ask (beg...whatever) for comments but I am very curious if anyone else cares or has thought about this topic. So please leave your comments for I would love to hear your take.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson

1 comment:

  1. The best viewing experience? Watching a TV show together with AIM Aptus, with a chat box alongside the video. Duh.

    On a more realistic note, the networks NEED people to think that the week to week viewing, the shared experience of tweeting the show or having LOST parties, is better than DVRing it all to watch right before the season finale. So it will be interesting to see what other chat rooms, hashtags, Facebook discussions, smoke signals, etc they come up with to encourage people to tune in at the scheduled time. Or...adapt their ad model to time-shifted/DVD viewing.

    I wonder when we're going to come full circle and have brands actually producing/creating shows, like the good old P&G soap opera days.