Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Talking Point: when was your last box-set binge?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The DVD box-set has transformed how many people watch television since the turn of the century. For many people who can't access premium TV channels, box-sets are often their only legitimate alternative. Many shows seem to benefit from box-sets, if you're intolerant to advertising and hate waiting a week between episodes. As serialized storytelling became more popular in the '00s, you could even argue that commercial TV is no longer the best way to watch shows like 24, which many people devoured like crack on DVD.

But when did you last binge on a box-set? Have you ever mainlined a whole 24-episode season in a day? Which TV show received that honour? Why did you get so greedy or obsessed? Is that now a regular part of your box-set experience, to devour them as fast as possible? And what are the pro's and con's of box-set bingeing?

Personally, I'm not a big consumer of box-sets. Occasionally, I'll rent one, but that will usually take me a few months to get through (see The Wire, In Treatment, Firefly.) The last time I remember overdosing on a box-set was in the summer of 2005, when I bought the first season of Lost on DVD. In six days, I watched the whole thing from beginning to end, a few days before season 2 started in the US. Part of the rush was realizing I wanted to get the box-set finished before new episodes started, but it was also a genuinely addictive TV series that hooked me.

So, what are your experiences and thoughts on box-set binges? Do they only work with particular shows, or does all TV drama benefit from quick, concentrated bursts of intemperance? I mean, as much as I adore the show, I don't understand how people manage to get through entire seasons of Mad Men in a weekend. You sometimes need time to process and discuss TV inbetween episodes, don't you?