On binge watching and reading

If you’re a certain age, you may be thinking about how younger people today have no idea what it means to eagerly await a weekly television show. Let’s go back to the 1970s. Who else remembers the excitement of ABC’s line-up of Friday night shows? The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple and Love, American Style. Perfect, am I right? I could not wait until these shows came on!

My weekly anticipation didn’t end in the 70s. In college, my friends and I built our nights around watching Dallas and Hill Street Blues.

Anyone remember the obsession with Twin Peaks?

Then there was Cheers, Seinfeld, King of Queens.

But now? What do people do? They get the whole season, binge watch and then they’re done. I’m guilty of some binge watching. Why not watch the next episode if it’s queued up? I think something is lost.

The same thing can happen with reading. Such a rush to finish a book, get through a series. I’m guilty of that, too. In the old days, people read their fiction in weekly installments. Serialized fiction goes back to the 17th century (you can read all about its history here), when books were expensive and moveable type made it easy for publishers to print serials.

Now modern readers can get a taste of serial fiction with the Serial Reader app. Got 10 minutes? Read an “Issue” of a classic and eagerly await the next installment. I’m reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott—how fun! And I feel no pressure, just anticipation.

Serial Reader is free for iOS and Androids and I heard about it from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Be sure to check out her blog for reviews and interesting book news.

What do you think about binge watching and binge reading? Have you tried Serial Reader?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

32 thoughts on “On binge watching and reading

  1. Oh, how those shows you mentioned took me back in time! So much nostalgia there. I remember being so excited for The Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. But my all-time favorite show that I could NOT miss was Knots Landing. Loved that show.

    That being said, I do love binge-watching a show when I get the time. It’s fun to get so invested in the characters that you don’t want to wait a whole week before seeing them again.

    1. Oh yes Love Boat and Fantasy Island – I always watched those when I slept at my grandparents’ house. I get frustrated with binge watching because I haven’t had the time, but as soon as I do, I’m going to watch Season 3 of The Leftovers. I have had to return it to the library 2 times because I didn’t have time! Thanks for reading and commenting, Carrie.

  2. Oh my! Every show you mentioned was my life! I remember circling shows on the weekly TV guide that came in the Sunday paper. Do you remember The Courtship of Eddie’s Father? I loved show! I also loved The Planet of the Apes. 🙂 These days, I binge rather than TV viewing. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Yes I loved those shows too. And I did much of the same. Also loved Carol Burnett and Happy Days! There are too many commercials on tv now so I will still watch shows on my laptop but try to control the binging a bit! 😉

    1. I’m not sure when it happened – probably in the last 10 years. I remember looking forward to watching Sex and the City and The Sopranos every week too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      1. A bit longer than that. Sex and the City started 20 years ago and Friends few years earlier, half of 1990’s.

  3. Great post! It’s really made me think because I remember the days of having to wait a whole week for the next episode of my favourite show and there was no such thing as box sets. Yet nowadays I’m terrible for waiting for a series to end and then binge-watching it… part of the reason is I can’t stand all of the ad breaks though. I’m definitely going to pause for thought next time I’m thinking of binge-reading a series and maybe take my time and wait a while before picking the next book up.

    1. It’s hard to find a balance because I’ve binge watched and read many shows and books. I’ve been frustrated lately though because I haven’t had time to watch any shows or read more. I hate the ads too and in fact we just cut way back on the number of tv channels we get because we discovered that, besides sports, no one is watching tv at our house. Thanks for stopping by and commenting – hope you have a great weekend!

  4. We’ve actually cut the cord for cable/satellite TV and now binge-watch whatever we like on Netflix. We were finding we hardly watched network television at all over the last few years, so what was the point in having that ever-increasing bill?
    The shows you mention bring back memories! Seinfeld was only in its fifth season when Paul and I started dating. 🙂

    1. We are getting close to cutting more channels but the guys like to watch sports so we kept those. Yes I remember my husband (just met) telling me his favorite show was Seinfeld (1990). I hadn’t seen it but I will tell you I think it’s the best show ever made! Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. Warmer temps here today and no ice on the driveway and headed out to lunch soon! 👍😀

  5. Serial Reader sounds awesome! Thanks for pointing it out, I’ve heard of it before. I too remember waiting for the next episode of your favourite series but have to confess to binge watch nowadays too. 😉 But I always try to watch only 3 episodes maximum. 😄

  6. I’ll binge watch shows on DVD. Since I don’t have cable, satellite, or any type of subscription tv/movie service, catching an entire series of shows on DVD is the only way I get to see them. I’m not a binge reader, though. I know how much work it takes to write, so I like to savor any books I get. Now, binging on a series via audiobooks…that’s where I go binge crazy!

    1. Yes I tend to plod through books but I do like to watch a whole season of a show. I also don’t have a subscription so I get dvds from the library – then I feel a need to watch them all! Thanks for stopping by, Tammie!

  7. Great post! Well, we’re definitely of the same era, because I remember waiting for Friday night episodes of The Brady Bunch and Partridge Family! Twin Peak viewing dates with friends too, and even I Claudius parties! I have to admit that I do enjoy a good binge, but there is something delicious about the anticipation of a new episode or a new release. I feel sorry for kids now, in a way, who can read Harry Potter straight through, and miss out on the year in between when readers of the series as it came out spent their time debating and speculating and thinking about all the mysteries still to be revealed.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t indulged in a new books via Serial Reader for a few months, but it’s about time I jump back in!

  8. The pleasure of reading is that you can’t entirely binge in the same way you can on any type of video entertainment — at least, not if what you’re reading is decently written! I confess to binge watching my favorite series (The Crown is how my husband and I got through a rather challenging holiday season following his cycling accident). I don’t mourn the lack of anticipation of weekly shows so much, but what I do miss is the commonality of experience: those of us who were into a certain show had to all watch it at the same time and pace, and we could therefore share it the next day — classic water-cooler stuff 😉

  9. Barbara, sometimes I wonder what else I did in the late 70s & 80s apart of waiting for my next episode of one of my favourite TV shows. Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team, Cagney & Lacey, Magnum, Miami Vice, Dallas, Dukes of Hazard, Starsky & Hutch, Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man. I came aged six from Sweden where TV was dreadful, with only one hour of puppet children’s show a day…to heaven of television. I’m sure it’s how I learnt to speak English in just a few months! I love the sound of this reading app and as a big time fan of ‘Little Women’ I must give this a go. BTW the book was fabulously serialised in three episodes by the BBC over Christmas…a real gem and pure magic!

  10. I’ve never watch television at night – mostly because I fall asleep in front of the TV when I’m tired. Lately I ran across a channel that showed reruns of Frasier at noon and I was delighted. I could binge watch on that show.

  11. Interesting post. You’re right. There’s a lot to be said for mulling over the storyline, hypothesizing over your favorite character’s next move and the excitement of the anticipation. I also think that the TV shows stay in your memory a lot longer when it’s spread out over a longer period of time. Binge watching finishes quickly in more ways than one.

  12. I’m guilty of binge watching and reading. This is a clever idea – Charles Dickens books were originally releases weekly, I think, in serial format and everyone loved them and the sense of anticipation.
    Lynn 😀

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