Binge-Watching (Of Historical Movies): Its Pluses & Minuses

New technologies allow you to watch TV shows and historical movies in large amounts. What are the pros and cons of “binge-watching”?


Over the past decades, media have made a huge leap in terms of video content. People used to massively watch their favorite soap operas and shows on their TV sets in the evening. Then, with the advent of video consoles, people began to buy blocks of videocassettes and DVDs with recorded films. However, recently, Pay-per-view channels and popular streaming networks like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have emerged and become popular quickly. Due to the development of the Internet, such innovations are the key to giving way to new serialized video formats.

Addiction to TV Shows

Recently, only Netflix hooked up more than 135 million housekeepers, and its audience is still growing. Such Internet giants as Netflix and Amazon have provided access to huge video libraries with a variety of video content for a penny. While competing with on-air and cable channels for the viewers, these streaming platforms began to produce their own shows. Their business model has proved its effectiveness — more and more people do not want to be dependent on aerial or cable TV. People want to do everything via one tool (the Internet). It’s easier that way. You can purchase groceries, order pizza, book tickets, and buy custom essays online. Watching your favorite movie is next on the list.

These services changed viewers’ habits when they began to offer all seasons of multi-part films and TV shows as a whole, rather than one series per day or even per week as many TV channels did it. The term “binge-watching” has appeared thanks to platforms like Netflix. In 2015, the British Collins Dictionary even called it the word of the year. According to Netflix, the first binge of serial lovers usually happens within 12 days of the date they subscribe, and viewers can spend only three days on average to watch an entire season.

Many TV channels, for example, NBC and Disney, are mimicking Netflix’s strategy and starting to experiment with releasing all episodes of one season on their websites at once. That seems like good news for fans of the serials. However, scientists warn that binge-viewing can be harmful to your health: it may cause insomnia, loss of concentration, and obesity. The scientists from the University of Texas determined a direct relation between night “vigils” at the screens and the viewers’ depression level. The essential point is that people don’t get real pleasure from such a marathon compared to the dosed use of TV sets. Binge-watching does not allow people to enjoy each series in full.

Even the most disciplined people can lose control because of serials. In a similar way, the 17-year-old American snowboarder Redmond Gerard almost missed his competition at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang because he had stayed up late watching some tv series. Fortunately, his teammate woke him up in time thus letting Redmond win a gold medal.

Period Multi-Series Films

In 2018, more than 500 multi-season serials were released only in the US, and most of them can be attributed to period movies. Studying history became more comfortable thanks to movies and TV shows. Previously, we had to read many books and search through encyclopedias to learn something about the past. Now, every schoolchild knows that before writing a test at school, it is better to watch a historical film — Hollywood has managed to make blockbusters based on almost all significant events in world history. So, youngsters who are usually reluctant to read historical books can easily find a period movie and watch it.

But, it is rather difficult to sort out what is truth and what is fiction in these films and TV shows. An artistic fantasy is often present in such video projects because the goal is to make them more exciting to watch. Many can hardly drag themselves away from historical dramas with fascinating plots and unexpected events. The line between the formats of a historical film and a television show becomes more blurred, and the focus is shifted to serious problems and issues.

Even though the plots of historical shows are very different, they have something in common that makes viewers drop everything and immerse themselves in watching. The drama of the recent long-playing serials denies the old tradition of producing classic films. The movies made in the last century used to tell a story with a so-called cliffhanger ending, a completed plot inside a separate episode. It is expected that viewers are ready to watch modern video products as long as they have time until their eyes begin to close.

Psychological Aspects of Binge-Watching

Here, we will talk about a so-called hedonic treadmill tendency. According to it, a person must always progress and gain more to get more pleasure. Even if something amazing happens to you, all your standards of happiness will adjust to that new level you attained and quickly extinguish the euphoria. So, with binge-watching of serials, the brain gets used to the process, and the amount of pleasure becomes inversely proportional to the hours spent in front of the screen.

We live in the golden age of television, and the serials provided online by whole seasons are worth the viewers’ love. We do not need to wait for the next episode, and the watching dosage depends solely on us. Here, a simple argument can be advanced for binge-watching — we watch what we like. If you feel satiety or even irritation about long watching sessions — leave the screen and do something else.

Then, famous historical serials often become iconic movies. In this case, they attract many fans who study every little thing about it. When you are continually watching series that many people like, you can become part of that society. You can discuss many details with a broader audience of viewers and find new friends. Human communication improves the social activity of an individual and makes their life better.

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