Streaming killed the television star

With online streaming on the rise, television consumers are becoming accustomed to binge-watching rather than tuning in live.

Tyler Davis, Writer

Traditionally, a TV series was something to be enjoyed in small parts. Fans would watch episode by episode, week by week to see what happens next. Such was the case for classic shows such as  “M.A.S.H.,” “Twin Peaks” and “Lost.” However with the ever-increasing popularity of Netflix, this model has begun to change.

The first show to take off was the political drama “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey. Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman with his eyes set on the president’s chair. Frank and his wife Clare (Robin Wright) act as a modern-day Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, working just as hard for their own political advantage as they do for each other’s and taking no prisoners. The show, which just wrapped up its second season, has won and been nominated for several Emmy Awards — an incredible feat for an online streaming service — facing off against network television giants like NBC and FOX.

Prison comedy/drama “Orange is the New Black” has also earned wide critical acclaim. It follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) in her yearlong sentence in a woman’s prison. Piper struggles with the everyday nightmares of prison life and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows she’s not so different from the other women she’s locked up with. Despite the fact that many of the protagonist’s actions are deplorable, viewers keep coming back for more and are anxiously awaiting the release of the show’s second season.


One of the greatest success stories of Netflix is quirky sitcom “Arrested Development,” starring Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Will Arnett. The show originally aired on FOX for three seasons from 2003 to 2006. The show experienced fairly low popularity among TV fans, but when the show hit Netflix, it gained a cult following that thrust the show into immense success. Last year, Netflix produced “Arrested Development”’s fourth season as a Netflix Original. Despite the first three seasons’ success and the endless hype that surrounded it prior to its release, it was met with mediocre reviews by fans and critics. However, fans continue to watch the original seasons and reference their endless supply of jokes and one-liners to this day.

The biggest difference between these shows and shows on primetime television is that viewers can sit down and watch an entire season of a Netflix show in one weekend. This is one of the keys to the success of Netflix Originals.


This phenomenon of binge-watching has become the way consumers experience television, but is it the best way to experience a show? Last year, people gathered together on Sunday nights to watch the final descent of Walter White in the last season of “Breaking Bad.” Each week was spent in anticipation of the next episode, giving fans something to look forward to. This experience is lost when viewers marathon through a show in a matter of days or weeks. This writer is no doubt guilty of watching the first four seasons of “Breaking Bad” in the span of a month.

Is Netflix the future of television? Will TV fans of the future never know the thrill of waiting for the next episode of a show to air? As cable companies continue to gouge consumers with ridiculously expensive, unnecessary channel packages, more and more people are turning to Netflix as their sole provider of television. Streaming is much more convenient, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. 

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