Showverdose

August 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Say it as you’d expect: show-ver-dose.

The Sunday New York Times magazine has a feature called “That Should be a word.” Sometimes they’re good; sometimes not. (yesterday was faultitasking – screwing up by trying to do too much at once) . My current favourite is Showverdose.

To binge-watch an entire season of a TV programme.

And in the DVD/Net Flix world we live in who hasn’t?

In the last little while, I’ve burned through the final season of Being Human (UK), the final season of The Wire, the first season of Breaking Bad and the current season of Mad Men.

My son and I have just finished watching  Justice League Unlimited, while my wife and I are making our way through season 2 of the Swedish version of Wallander. (Now I’m torn between Kenneth Branaugh and Krister Henricksson as to who plays the detective better – both have their virtues – The Independent ran this comparison between the two a few years back )

Coming up are the third season of The Killing, In the Thick and Game of Thrones season three.

Now of course, this changes the way we view TV. To reference another interest of mine, it’s a bit like buying comic books monthly or waiting until the collected edition comes out (I buy Ed Brubaker’s Criminal books monthly, but for Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, I prefer to wait for the TPBs – funny huh?)

There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to watch the characters go through the story in quick succession, especially when the season is a series arc rather than just stand-alone episodes.  When the first season of 24 appeared on DVD, my wife and I raced through it, and it made perfect sense. I suggested we watch the show in one 24 hour sitting, but mercifully I was overruled.

However, an argument can be made for the traditional way of watching. It’s not how the show was conceived and perhaps we should defer to the creator’s vision. It’s a bit like colouring a black and white film. Films that were made in black and white were made with that understanding. Light and dark and especially shadow were part of the film. Imagine M colourized. I remember hearing an interview with film critic Geoff Pevere, and he mentioned that someone had told him they couldn’t wait for Memento to come out in DVD so they program scenes to watch it in the right order.

I sometimes feel the same way about playlists.  We download the songs we want and make our own versions, but in many cases the album was conceived as a whole to be listened to in a specific order. Sure, sure, we have our favourite songs, but you may also be losing something.

I’m not suggesting that you should never play around with things or that the vision of the creator is sacrosanct, but maybe sometimes we should experience it in the way it was meant to be experienced.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch the next episode of Wallander.

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