The other day I finished catching up on Fox's megahit, House. Perhaps the only thing noteworthy about the experience was this: I watched all 76 episodes the show has produced (including last Tuesday's) in 20 days. I really enjoyed the show a lot, and I prefer "binge TV" to "appointment TV". I don't much love being told what to do and that extends to what to watch and when to watch it.
I'm a little bit ahead of the technology curve. I have a media server. I have multiple DVRs. I have it pretty much set up where I can watch whatever I have wherever I want it (big screen TV, PC, iPhone, laptop, etc). It's not nearly as easy as it could be or someday will be - but, it works. I have about 500 hours worth of television stored that I haven't gotten around to watching including a whole lot of CSI and Law & Order (and all the variants). That's just TV, it doesn't get into the movies I've never gotten around to watching.
I didn't watch much TV other than live sports from late 2002 to early 2007. In fact, the only things I watched religiously during that time period besides the ESPN 5p-6p (EST) hour were HBO's The Sopranos and Showtime's (and then SciFi's) Stargate: SG1. In 2005 I started utilizing "On Demand", initially mostly for HBO shows like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I definitely found I preferred to watch a few episodes at a time (especially with the shorter comedies) than watch them one per week.
In 2006 I set up my media server and by 2007 it was in full swing. In 2007 I have caught up on:
- The first 3 seasons of Boston Legal
- The first 3 seasons of Grey's Anatomy
- The first 3 seasons of Lost
- The first season of Heroes
Now I've added the first 3 seasons of House, most of the first season of Dexter and most of the first 2 season's of The Office and most of Season 1 of Supernatural. I prefer watching series a 2-3 episodes at a time and even for new shows that I enjoy like Dirty Sexy Money I find I am stockpiling them up until I have 2 or 3 episodes to watch.
Even making the excuse that "hey, I need to watch these shows as part of my job" there is still more good content to enjoy than there are hours in the day. Because I already didn't like watching programs when the networks told me to do so and was already in the habit of watching what I wanted when I wanted - the strike could run fairly long and I wouldn't notice much.
I'm not thrilled about the strike. It's not great news for TVbytheNumbers, but to the degree I pick a side, I probably side with the writers. Most of the shows I really enjoy are extremely well written and that's what makes the shows for me. Don't get me wrong - I love the ensemble casts on shows like Boston Legal and House, but if House wasn't extremely well-written I wouldn't have wanted to watch 76 episodes of it in 20 days!
The irony as we've discussed is that if the WGA strike runs a while - and we think that is likely - it will be a boon to the studios in terms of DVD sales. Ironic because one of the reasons the writers are striking is because they don't like how the DVD residuals work and don't want the same thing to happen with Internet distribution.
But the fact is, if you have some disposable income and don't have any phobias about buying DVDs or digital content, the WGA strike could run a good long while and you can still be entertained. I don't see that as an advantage for the WGA.