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Binge or Episodic: Which is the best way to watch TV?

Binge or Episodic?
Binge or episodic? Which is really the best way to watch TV?

Netflix has ruined the way that we consume television with binge watching. The streaming service provides what feels like endless shows that can be binged in a single day or weekend. Once we’re done with one show, we quickly move on to the next one and in a few weeks time. The shows are completely forgotten about until the next season arrives and the cycle repeats itself.

On November 12, 2019, a new player in the Streaming Wars strolled into town. Disney+ arrived on the scene with a wonderful vault (who else remembers the Disney Vault) of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars entertainment, as well as the promise of new original content, from movies to television.

Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin in The Mandalorian

However, unlike Netflix, Disney+ decided to take a different approach to their television programs: weekly episodic releases. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Just like the old days, where you had to actually commit to a show for weeks to find out what happens. The first original series that received this treatment was The Mandalorian. The show was a massive success and has now launched two spin-offs as its third season approaches next year. 

Marvel Studios followed suit by getting into the television game with their first original series, WandaVision. They decided to take the approach of their series being long-form movies with 6-9 episodes a season. This is a great approach because the shows still follow film structure: the first two/three episodes are Act 1, the next two/three are Act 2, and the final two/three are Act 3. WandaVision was met with critical acclaim and award nominations as well, though it didn’t win as many as it should have.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WandaVision

The reason why these shows were so successful, aside from the great creative teams and cast members, is that they stayed in the public conversation. “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision” were constantly trending topics across social media during their series runs. People were able to discuss what they think is going to happen the following week and form theories instead of having the whole story revealed.

Netflix has stuck with the binge model and isn’t planning to change that any time soon. They’ve had some successful series, but for the amount of shows they are putting out, the ratio isn’t that great. They are canceling shows left and right and the amount of time in between the series we love is getting longer. I’m debating on waiting to watch the third season of The Umbrella Academy (which I absolutely love) because I feel like I need to rewatch the first two seasons because it’s been so long; I feel the same way with Stranger Things too. Do I watch it now and be left with the cliffhanger or wait to get through it all at once?

The main cast of The Umbrella Academy

Disney+ has taken a classic television model and brought it to the streaming/social media age and it is proving to be a great success. We have now experienced several series from Marvel and LucasFilm: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Hawkeye, The Book of Boba Fett, Moon Knight, and Obi-Wan Kenobi; all of these series have stuck with the weekly release model (with a few two episode premieres thrown in). The current show we get to enjoy now for the next few weeks is Ms. Marvel

They always say that what’s old becomes new again, and it seems to me that Disney+ will continue to have success with this release model, keep their subscriber base happy and growing, and their content at the forefront of online conversation, as well as the memes; they will stand the test of time.

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Written by Elliott Wishnefsky

Elliott Wishnefsky is a News and Entertainment Writer for FandomWire. He's a graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Elliott is also a content creator for his own brand, Learning at the Movies! Twitter: @Learning_Movies | Facebook/Instagram: @learningatthemovies | TikTok: @learningatthemovies