Opinion: Bingewatching affects our appreciation for TV

Television as we knew it has become a thing of the past. Whether we like it or not, how we consume our favorite shows is changing thanks to digital platforms and streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu.

To many, these services sound like heaven on Earth. Why would anyone want to wait a week to discover Walter White on “Breaking Bad”? Why would I sit in suspense while I wonder if Ted and Robin will end up together?

With access to every episode of your favorite show, it makes waiting on a weekly basis a thing of the past. But is this new way of watching TV affecting our love for these shows?

I asked myself this question as I (like most of the world) found myself binge watching the newest season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” this past weekend.

With all of the anticipation I had built up for more than a year since the last season ended on a high stakes cliffhanger, I could not wait to get back into this world of darkened politics.

But then, just like that, the stories, the characters and the content was rushing right before my very eyes.

I haven’t finished the season yet mind you (that’s a project for this upcoming weekend), but even in watching over half of it I had to stop and ask myself, “Am I going too fast?”

Some of my favorite TV shows have been ones for which I would have to wait week to week to see my favorite characters back at it again for yet another entertaining hour.

There was something so rewarding about making sure I was home in front of my TV every Thursday night at 8:30 to meet back up with my friends at Dunder Mifflin.

And, as painful as it was to wait, the final season of “Breaking Bad” had me asking so many questions that my friends and I loved to make predictions about.

It is much more rewarding to view a show long term and stretch out your love of a show instead of taking it all in one dose.

I think of shows I’ve watched recently, such as “Dexter,” “Fargo” and, of course, “Friends” (if you have a Netflix account, you’ve watched it), and I think of how much more I would have appreciated them if I had taken my time to get to know these characters and this world instead of burning it out over the course of one weekend.

Think of all the anticipation surrounding the release of the new “Arrested Development” season a few years back. So much hype, yet it seemed that the conversations had come to a close after just one week of release.

Maybe you could blame the underwhelming content of the season but I’m willing to bet fans would have talked about it more throughout the summer had it been released the traditional way.

I came across an article from Slate.com in which writer Jim Pagels lists off a variety of reasons as to why this trend needs to be put to rest:

“Episodes have their own integrity, which is blurred by watching several in a row; cliffhangers and suspense need time to breathe; and TV characters should be a regular part of our lives, not someone we want to hang out with 24/7 for a few days and then never see again.”

Of course, people have been binge-watching long before Netflix came into being, but with more and more productions seeing the value in streaming business, viewers have more access than ever to a treasure trove of television.

To tell you to stop binge-watching would be hypocritical of me. When I have downtime I love to watch multiple episodes of “New Girl” or “Parks and Recreation” while I wait for my next scheduled event.

But making a habit out of burning through shows can lead to an unhealthy attitude toward small-screen storytelling.