The Problem With Watching Television on Netflix (OR Why I Hate Season 9 of Supernatural)

I purchased a Netflix account a few years back, after I subscribe for the 30-day trial and then forgot to cancel. For a good while, I only rented movies, but then one summer I decided I wanted to get caught up on True Blood. I’d never watched a TV show on Netflix, just because the process seemed a bit overwhelming and I really didn’t know where to begin. True Blood was only available on DVD and I wanted to watch 3 seasons in the month’s time, so that I would be caught up before the 4th season premiered, so I upgraded my account to get 3 DVDs at a time, and I jumped right in. I started off watching 3-4 episodes a day, and after a few weeks, I finished the series. It was an amazing feeling. I understood the story arc, the character development and the themes and premise of the show seemed solid and easy to follow. The writing flowed well and instead of focusing on the little inconsistencies (that a week between programming can magnify), I was looking at THE BIG PICTURE.

And so it began...

Suddenly, I recognized the opportunity to catch up on all the shows I’d wanted to watch but, for whatever reason, hadn’t. Dexter. Weeds. Breaking Bad. The Office. 30 Rock. My daughter and I watched every episode of Doctor Who in 2 months, and then started over from the beginning. Watching television this way is mesmerizing because viewers get the full effect of multiple seasons’ worth of story arcs coming together. We aren’t required to wait 7 days for a new episode, there are no mid-season finales to worry about and there is no break in between huge plot points. For well-done shows, this is a blessing. Reliable writing and good production create an exciting piece of art that viewers are able to enjoy in it’s entirety. The nuances and small details become important, while mistakes and inconsistencies are more likely to be accepted as we move through the larger piece. This has become the ideal way to watch television, for me. I cannot deny that it feels great to breeze through half a dozen episodes of any given show, just because I want to know what will happen–and I don’t have to wait a week for answers.

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There are some shows I can wait to watch, such as Breaking Bad, until the entire final season is either on DVD or Netflix. I would prefer to wait, so as to enjoy the season at my leisure. Which means I have to warn every person I know MULTIPLE TIMES, not to spoil the ending for me. Which has already happened, so fuck you very much. Sometimes I don’t get the chance to watch The Walking Dead season 4 on AMC until Monday afternoon. God forbid I go on Twitter or Facebook, because I will see spoilers. There’s no helping that. But that isn’t even my biggest issue. I can handle the waiting and even some (small) spoilers. I grew up in a house with no VCR, I don’t currently own any sort of Tivo-ing device, and so I can wait a week to watch a goddamn show if the situation calls for it. I can even wait a year, because I’ve got kids and I am used to not being able to go to the movie theatre to see a film I’m dying to see and I’ve been a student who has had to put off watching a season of my favorite show to study. But, I’m sure you already know, I LURV Supernatural. So it is much to my chagrin that I watch season 9 of the Winchester drama unfold with the rest of the minions, Tuesday nights, 9pm, on the CW. I wish I had the patience to wait, because watching season 9 of Supernatural on a weekly basis has been painful. First of all, these filler episodes, the MotW one-offs that take up space in-between the meaty episodes, are killing me. There have been 8 episodes so far, and only 2 that I’ve really enjoyed. Since I watched seasons 1-8 in a blur of caffeine and late summer nights, I hardly remember the shitty episodes of previous seasons. I’ve been reminded of the “racist truck” from S01E13 and the “man-witch and his sexy pooch” of S08E15. Yes, yes, these did indeed suck much ass and I spent most of my time texting and tumbling whilst the show played in the background. So, I can’t say that the formula has changed much. What I can say is the writers have changed and I can tell. Also, it seems the new writers, along with some viewers by now, seem to have forgotten the over-arching themes of the show. You know: Saving People, Hunting Things, The Family Business? And so week to week, I wake up on Tuesday mornings to my Asia “Heat of the Moment” alarm clock, excited and terrified of what the new SPN will bring. Will I be disappointed again? Should I even bother tuning in? I love my boys, though, and I want to support them, even if I’m not digging the show at the moment, and so I inevitably turn it on, even if I’ve been warned by friends and the ENTIRE FANDOM (as with “Rock and a Hard Place” S09E08) not to bother.

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Suddenly, watching television with the fans just doesn’t seem as advantageous as it used to be. Now, I’m privy to all the bitching, complaining and fandom drama that comes with watching SPN at a normal pace. The fandom is full of whiners, myself included. All we do is cry about Destiel on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook, my gawd! I love to hate the drama that comes with my favorite drama, but it can be a little overwhelming. I miss the good old days, when I watched Supernatural in the privacy of my own head canon, creating little Destiel filler episodes via the fanfic I read and shipping a season in two days.

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There are other shows that I watch simultaneously with the rest of the world. The Walking Dead, for instance. There’s nothing bad to be said about that show, though, not by me. It has remained consistent and entertaining every episode, and I haven’t been bored once. Even during the episodes strictly about the Governor this season. So, each week, I’ve been eager to tune it, catch up and get lost in the Walking Dead!verse that has been immaculately created by Robert Kirkman. Who is still involved. With every episode. Unfortunately, it seems not all shows have the luxury of a consistent writing and production staff, and boy, does it show. As viewers get ready for the mid-season premiere for Supernatural tonight, December 3, on the CW, I wonder how much longer I will be able to handle this weekly television nonsense. If I were a stronger woman, I’d just wait to enjoy the show as a whole when season 9 is on Netflix, in 2015, with the chance to skip over the crap and get to the good stuff.

xoxo

The Collectiva Diva

6 Comments

  1. fromcouchtomoon

    We went streaming TV a few years ago and have never regretted it. Networks need to get with the program and make their shows available in a variety of formats. I love that BBC did that with the most recent DW epi. It was available on TV, the movie theater, but I saw it on Amazon streaming. But yeah… you would still have to wait for the next epi.

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