Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
|From a Breaking Bad Party…|
Dominic Rushe, for The Guardian, writes about Netflix and their DVD rental beginnings – and where they are now:
“Netflix is in with a chance of breaking the internet this weekend. The hugely popular movie streaming company released the second season of the award-winning drama House of Cards on Friday, just as winter storms turned large swaths of America into a nation of stay-at-homes – a combination bound to test the US’s creaky broadband infrastructure to its limits.“
Read the full article here.
Netflix, I worried (back in February 2013), was going to create a nation of binge-watching stay-at-homes with House of Cards. Opposed to staying at home due to unforeseen weather, I believed folks were locking themselves up and ploughing through an entire season on their own, only to take part in conversations at the workplace on Monday morning. By the same token, this back-to-back watching will miss the finer details and incisive conversations a weighty drama, such as Mad Men, The Pacific and House of Cards, will evoke.
But today, I am due to attend a House of Cards gathering. Released on Friday, a group of friends who all appreciated the first season at different points in the last year (myself included) are going to join together with food and drink, to watch multiple episodes in one evening. I doubt we will reach the final episode but sleep-starved and slightly intoxicated, we will try. As a social activity, rather than a lone effort to ‘catch-up’, it feels appropriate. Game of Thrones Season 3 is also released on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow. My pre-ordered copy will be the selected entertainment of another social gathering (perfectly, watching with family rather than friends for the incestuous fantasy drama) within the week too. This past year also saw the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad and again, we gathered together, surrounding the modern day camp-fire, and discussed and ate and drank while desperate to see the final exploits of Walter White.
Despite the flaws and frustrations with binge-watching entire seasons, I fear I must make a slight amendment to my previous argument. The argument still stands when watching on your own or watching with a partner. But, as a night of fun and games, it is the new TV trend. It is a way to decorate your house in Lannister and Stark banners. It is where themed food, including blue-sherbet, doesn’t look out of place. It is where an episode-break consisting of a literal creation of a house of cards is necessary, if not compulsory, when viewing the deceitful exploits of Frank Underwood. Indeed, like the best cinematic experiences, the best television is viewed in groups and gatherings where laughter and thoughtful ‘mmmm’s fill the room – and whereby reflective conversations are immediate rather than split by “don’t-spoil-it” instructions until everyone is up-to-date.
Considering how often I have either hosted or attended these TV gatherings in the past year says there is a definitive change in viewing habits. Like the final of Wimbledon or the World Cup (screened at the Picturehouse Cinemas), television drama has the same type of draw. The Prince Charles Cinema in London has already screened Veronica Mars and Breaking Bad in all-night screenings so it must only be a matter of time before the first episode, or the season finale, is screened in cinemas, whereby groups can be considerably bigger and each one is a paying customer.
Why not head on over to our newly-launched Flickering Myth Forum to discuss this story, or anything else that takes your fancy…