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Binge TV: a lovely sugar rush, but ultimately unsatisfying

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How do you watch TV? All in one gulp or paced out slowly in weekly increments? This week a Radio Times survey suggested that the latter method is falling out of fashion, with 80% of respondents suggesting that they’d lost sleep binge-watching a programme, and more than half claiming to have watched more than eight hours of a show in one sitting.

Yet how satisfying is binge-watching really? Yes, there’s something comforting about knowing that the next episode is only ever one short countdown away, but it’s also the case that being able to watch shows when we want and as frequently as we want (at least until that terrible moment when the episodes dry up) is increasingly affecting the way we consume TV – and not necessarily for the better.

Take, for example, the conversation around spoilers. It’s no coincidence that this has only intensified in the era of binge TV, when people no longer have any clear idea of when they can start discussing a major twist. Worse, binge-watching encourages us to put our individual viewing experience centre stage, positioning it as equal to, if not more important than, the programme being watched. This means that we’re enraged when someone quicker off the mark discusses a show before we’re ready, leading to bitter arguments that would have been avoided........

© The Guardian