I’ve been looking into different forms of media binges. Binges are defined as a short period devoted to indulging in an activity to excess. The Oxford Living Dictionary goes on to explain that to binge-watch is to watch multiple episodes of (a television program) in rapid succession. Streaming channels are raking in the dough. For example, according to engadget.com, Netflix aims to have over 700 original TV shows and movies released in 2018. Subscription services like Hulu and Acorn have been digging through the vaults to bring in like programing.
I must admit that I’m really into television shows (series) that are produced and filmed in places like Iceland (Fortitude), Demark and Sweden (The Bridge). Also, the forested areas of France (Black Spot) and Germany (Dark) have drawn me in enough to read the captions after a long day of writing. I like the total immersion of being in the producers’ idea of the culture of the area that the show takes place in.
The Red Pen can speak a lot of Korean after her hours of indulging in some fantastic shows from South Korea. Sometimes, she forgets and just starts speaking Korean while I lift an eyebrow and wait until she realizes where she is. She recommends Misaeng and Gapdong (Netflix) and Kill Me, Heal Me and Signal (dramafever.com).
I know I read less. Since I don’t read while I’m writing a new book, there are only the times while editing that I’m able to indulge in reading. Now, I find myself wandering down to the media room and watching, for hours at a time, shows that if not for our streaming channels would not be available to me.
Is there a problem? In my case, yes. I miss out on what’s new in fiction. There are a lot of great books out there that I’m missing out on. Also, I’m fatigued trying to find shows that don’t fall into patterns. This may be why I’ve jumped oceans to find something that stimulates my creative mind. I can tell you the ending of most English language mysteries before the opening credits are finished running. This is more the fault of the casting than the writing. A big-name star is going to give the plot away. I want to be surprised, but I think because of my binging, I may have set the bar too high.
Also, by viewing and not reading, I’m missing out on learning unfamiliar words. “The door was opened with surprising speed by Proctor, Pendergast’s mysterious chauffeur and general factotum.” ~City of Endless Night, Preston & Child. Factotum? * I didn’t know what a factotum was, so I looked it up. When was the last time you paused the TV to look up a strange word that was used on the screen? I bet that almost none of you have, with the exception of the rare pedantic folk like the Red Pen who has been proven right on the misuse of the questioned word time and time again.
Is binging just a phase? Probably not. I’m guilty of writing a book series you can binge on if you want to. I think, however, I will personally look into how I’m spending my extra time and money, or I’ll hand it over to my factotum the Webguy to do it for me.
*Factotum: an employee who does all kinds of work.