With Netflix shows now among the most popular and invested in, we are at a turning point in television. Gone are the days of waiting a week between episodes but should we miss the anticipation?
Reporter: Frances Cullen | Sub-Editor: Hannah Grafton
Netflix’s latest original series The Crown is out today and ready for you to binge watch. The show focuses on Queen Elizabeth II reign and sets out to give an inside look into a post war Britain from those in power.
It’s been commissioned for 6 seasons of 10 episodes costing $100 million to produce making it one of the most expensive television series in history. There are multiple similarities with the recent ITV drama Victoria which also focuses on a female monarch’s reign. British period dramas have been hugely successful in the past few years with shows like Downton Abbey being streamed by thousands all over the world so this seems like a reasonable gamble. Netflix are no stranger to big budget productions. Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down exceeded its original budget by about $7.5 million per episode. Their big pockets mean they can create the best possible content as well as advertising across all platforms so that even people who don’t subscribe can get into the hype.
The streaming site has stood its ground against traditional TV with its hit original series that have created a tremendous hype. The latest of these series that seems to have taken over the world is Stranger Things, an 8-part sci-fi show about a boy who goes missing and friends trying to find him. The character Eleven was arguably the most popular Halloween costume this year proving its worldwide success. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones and Daredevil also attract a large audience and an intense social media frenzy when a new batch of episodes are released.
The ‘binge-watch’ aspect of Netflix shows definitely factors in to the buzz and excitement caused by these big shows but is that the sole reason? In traditional TV we have to sit through weeks of build up until the final outcome and so the hype is over after a night. With Netflix, people are watching at different times and the hype is dragged out over the first few months that it is released as people can either watch over time or watch the whole thing in a day. This means the social media coverage of series lasts for considerably longer which only increases the number of people of who will watch the show.
Is this the future of TV? Releasing everything at once and passing the control over to viewers has definitely proved to be a successful model for Netflix but it does take away that anticipation and build up that traditional TV does so well. “I like to eek it out as much as possible to savour a really good programme, the trouble with binge watching is it gets in the way of my life” Jane Forbes, 22, television student says. Many people are of this same opinion. Watching something in one go means that the wait between seasons feels even longer and more unbearable. “The problem with everyone watching shows at different times is that you’re way more likely to see spoilers” Alfie Harris, 20, Biology student says.
It’s extremely unlikely that the usual week by week schedule of traditional TV is ever going to change but more mediums are taking note of Netflix’s strategy. Whether or not it’s the big budgets or allowing the viewer to control when they watch the episodes, there’s no denying that Netflix is one of the biggest player in the TV world right now.