Bad TV Is Ruining Binge-Watching


By Phoebe Kuo, Staff Writer

Binge-watching TV shows is the most comforting thing to do after a long day. It is soothing, convenient and inexpensive. New TV shows are being marketed to us every day. The release of a well-edited trailer — especially when paired with a catchy, bold title — always has the potential to rile our excitement and spawn belief that Netflix or Hulu has come up with the next big thing. We are constantly waiting to be amused, yet no matter how exciting that teaser trailer is, more often than not we end up disappointed.

First of all, we are constantly offered shows that seem to just rehash old material. The new HBO show, Westworld, though critically acclaimed, is a remake of a 1973 film. The Netflix original TV series House of Cards is an adaption of a BBC mini-series of the same name. It is not necessarily bad that something classic is being remade with new filming technology or more depth and layers added to our beloved characters, but in order to be more sensational, the new material added to the original is usually absurd and out of tune. And in some cases, the plot does not have anything new at all. The writers just serve us reheated leftovers and somehow expect us not to notice or care.

Additionally, since most TV series are craving something new, the writers will often try to make the story have an occasional explosive twist, regardless of how odd it may seem. Lots of long-lasting TV series turn to soap opera-like drama in the end to keep viewers interested. Whenever a surprise awaits us, it usually is some unrealistic secret, like character A being the long-lost sibling of character B. Other times, television productions rely heavily on surprising romantic plotlines where all of the characters sleep with one another, as is done in How to Get Away With Murder and Gossip Girl.

This dearth of creativity in plots is far more apparent when binge watching. When people watch TV shows to relax, it can be very unsatisfying when the scriptwriters simply think using pseudo drama between the lead actors and actresses is interesting enough to keep the ratings up.

We deserve more creative TV shows. We do not only live in a world of franchise superheroes like Batman and Superman, nor do we live in a world where people are hooking up with each other in drama-filled cliques, where people are all related or where the probability of running into a murder or a scandal is insanely high. We need TV shows that take our stress away but are also somehow relevant.

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Email Phoebe Kuo at [email protected]