January 14, 2017

In a post from 2008 (titled ‘Media and the Brain‘), I quoted Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” and the “Ted” movies, amongst a whole lot of other shit, and an entertainment future:

“I think what we’re seeing right now is a great cultural shift of how this country watches television.
“Forty years ago, new technology changed what people watched on TV as it migrated to color.
“Now new technology is changing where people watch TV, literally omitting the actual television set.”

In that near-decade span, TV-watching has indeed shifted — now the screen-source can fit in your hand, or for me, the single-view intimacy of a laptop.

Entertainment now created from the ether…

(Illustration found here).

TV shows, movies, whatever, goodly-produced and popular coming via the Internet, online only, and what a leap since 2008, which in itself seems a lifetime ago.
Nowadays, I’m a Netflixer — just about all of my entertainment sources come via the online-streaming service, TV shows to binge, and movies, too. Netflix, though, is not a movie operation, leans more to TV stuff.
And produces its own shit — the latest coming this week with “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” starring Neil Patrick Harris, and apparently is been well received.
Read a few gushing reviews at The Inquisitr from this morning.

In detail, a longish-read from The Verge last Friday on how ‘Unfortunate Events‘ was put together.
As far as the Netflix/major-entertainment angle: ‘Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards, premiered less than four years ago, though it feels like it’s been much longer. Since then, the platform has filled out a formidable roster of original programming for grown-ups, but family content has been lackluster — mostly treacly garbage like Fuller House and a Richie Rich reboot. Brian Wright, VP of Family Content for Netflix, told The Verge that the platform’s broad goal is to make family shows that are “just as good” as adult Netflix originals like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.’

According to MarketWatch on Saturday, Netflix announced plans to increase hours of original programming from 600 last year to 1,000 in 2017 — all good to the bottom line: ‘Netflix’s own fortunes will be on review this week. It’s scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings results after the market closes on Wednesday.
NFLX is expected to report earnings of 13 cents per share, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet. That would be a 30-percent bump compared with last year’s fourth quarter and an 8-percent increase from its most recent third-quarter per-share earnings. Netflix has beaten FactSet’s earnings consensus in eight of the past 10 quarters.’

In late 2015, in a survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets, 51-percent of American internet users say they used Netflix to watch movies or TV shows.
And going worldwide — Netflix plans to expand into Europe, and has already opened shop in Cuba.
Rise of the machines to stream ‘Pulp Fiction.’

Arrival of the future, from the New Yorker a couple of years ago:

“We now live in a world where every device is a television,” Richard Greenfield, a media and technology analyst for the New York-based B.T.I.G., told me.
“TV is just becoming video. My kids watch ‘Good Luck Charlie’ on Netflix. To my ten-year-old, that’s TV.”
Consumers don’t care “that a show is scheduled at eight o’clock,” he said.
Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley technology forecaster, says that couch potatoes have given way to “active hunters,” viewers who “snack” and control what they watch and when.

My youngest daughter told me not too long ago: ‘Only old people watch TV‘ — meaning the viewing from an actual television set (hearken back to MacFarlane’s words), and so in the past.
And pretty-much right about her age group — from the Washington Post: ‘It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that only three in 20 Millennials think it’s really important to own a television. Millennials have grown accustomed to consuming media on their laptop screens, tablets and smartphones. Millennials may still love cable TV and movies, but they want to watch it on the small(er) screen.’

In my defense, although I do watch some TV-on-the-TV (news mostly), most of my visual entertainment comes via the Internet, Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, and so forth…

And becoming accustomed to watching series episodes back-to-back has changed my TV-viewing forever — I could never go back to once-a-week programing. The only stuff I watch is off the Internet, and I’ve gone well-into the binge mode on numerous occasions.
My first binge came via the series, “Psych,” the poster to the left, and have probably seen its eight-year calendar run a dozen times, or more. One of the most warm-hearted TV shows ever, and a kind of comfort to watch repeatedly. Another is “Scrubs,” and my current title of repetitive binging is the Canadian offering, “Murdoch Mysteries.”
And right now, “West Wing” could be really appropriate…

(Illustration found here).

All this ‘binge’ has been too much for the brain — throw in T-Rump and we’re all mad-as-hatters, and sad as shit.
From Vice last March:

Well, good news: That man is hideously depressed, and so are we all, because binge-watching TV shows is trouncing our mental health.
That’s according to a new University of Toledo study, anyway, which found that, of 408 participants, 35 percent qualified as binge-watchers, and those binge-watchers reported higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than their non-binge-watching counterparts.
The study found 77 percent of participants watched TV for two hours or more without a break on an average day, with anyone doing more than that — four consecutive episodes of House of Cards, a whole thing of Orange is the New Black, Brooklyn Nine-Nine on a loop until Netflix does its little ‘you OK hun?’ pop-up—classified as binge-watching.
So, all of us, basically.
Everyone reading this has binged-watched.
Everyone who has ever lived, born from about 1985 onwards, is a binge-watch doer.

“‘Binge-watching’ is a growing public health concern that needs to be addressed,” said the scientists who headed up the study.
But so can just watching TV in general.
A long-term American Journal of Epidemiology study in 2011 found that watching TV for more than three hours a day put women at 13 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with depression.
So can winter weather, or summer weather, or smoking, or sleeping too much, or not sleeping enough.
So can, according to about a billion studies from 2010 onwards, too much Facebook.
If you get through life without getting scientifically depressed by it, you are some sort of superhuman who should donate his brain to medical research.
Anyway, House of Cards came out this weekend, so go easy on it—two episodes a day, three maximum.
Try not to knock on tables too much because you are not, we have been through this, Frank Underwood.
And don’t post any spoilers online. Namaste.

Original binge…

(Illustration out front found here).

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