We’re all familiar with the turmoil of being caught up in a good TV show. Some of us watch it with plenty of intervals in between, dragging it out episode by episode, replaying every remarkable scene and dreading, yet yearning, for the denouement which will finally put everything (mostly our minds) to rest. Others take a different approach by getting it out of their system and watching everything in one go, in the hopes of assuming a normal, uninterrupted pace of life as soon as possible, which everyone knows is easier said than done.
But it’s not our fault that as mere human beings, we get swept up with our love of escapism. The moment a more interesting set of lives and dramatic hypothetical circumstances offer themselves up for our indulgence, we seize the opportunity and welcome it with open hearts, eager to lay our worries at the blazing gates of Netflix. For the next seven hours and more, life is put on hold as we “watch next episode” and “skip intro” for as long as we can, before we let reality seep in through the weakened muscles of our strained eyes.
If someone asked me to name what my greatest joy of being alive in this celebrated yet confusing era, my answer would be the availability of full season viewings. Gone are the days where we had to wait in front of the television in a noisy, distraction-filled living room to watch a measly twenty-four minute episode, with no subtitles or manual pause buttons and plenty of badly-timed repetitive commercials in between. Only for it to be over in a blink of an eye and then having to wait another seven days and nights to do it all over again. Oh, what a time to be alive!
If you had told eleven-year-old me that one day I’d be able to watch all the episodes of Sabrina The Teenage Witch until I was green in the face, whenever and wherever I wanted to, with just a few clicks, I would’ve called my mummy and told her that a kidnapper was trying to lure me in. Not with candies or ice-cream, but with sweet talk of a future that sounded too good to be true.
George R. R. Martin once famously said that, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one”. While I completely and wholeheartedly support this notion as a bookworm myself, I believe that if Mr. George R. R. Martin could turn back time and revise his well-known statement, he would also extend his quote to TV show watchers. A seasoned reader knows only too well the pain that comes with the untimely death of a great character, or the grief and hurricane of emotions that accompany a cliff-hanger ending.
While there’s a whole science behind the world of broadcasting, critics and production figures that simple viewers like us cannot even begin to fathom, we’re only too happy to do our parts by dispensing our viewership and contributing to ratings like the sun shining on a field of sunflowers.
It’s more than just keeping our faces glued to yet another blue screen. It’s looking at your watch when you’re sitting in a boring lecture, or looking for a source of motivation to pull through a long day at the office, and having your mind light up when you remember that you’ve got more episodes to immerse yourself in at home. It’s creating a temporary happy place for your mind to rest and recharge while you drop your burdens at the click of the “play” button.