It’s impossible to watch everything now so please stop telling me to catch up
Seriously. It is impossible
Someone is always telling someone else to watch something. Eventually at a get-together or a quick text message exchange, a friend suggests a new television series they’ve started on Netflix and how “it’s amazing.” How it’s their new favorite show now and how everybody needs to start watching it now. The next week, at the get-together, there will be a new series that’s so amazing and needs to be watched by everyone. And the next week after that, and the next week after that.
The truth is there’s too much TV nowadays. Annoyingly defined as “Peak TV,” the era in which we currently live in, more television shows than ever before — 454 aired last year — are readily available and most of them are great or at least seemingly great. Just this year on Netflix shows like GLOW, Dear White People, Iron Fist, Anne, Master Of None, Sense8, Girlboss, Gypsy, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt all released new seasons, and most to critical acclaim. In the social media age, these series live and die on Facebook status updates and hot Twitter takes, bringing in new watchers and generating buzz for everyone to at least pay attention. But it’s impossible to pay attention as there’s too much TV. And that’s not even counting Netflix staples like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black or the new Mystery Science Theater, or Bill Nye Saves The World, or any of the upcoming seasons like Stranger Things. And that’s all just on Netflix, too. There’s still Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and now even Youtube series.
By the end of 2017, Netflix will have released over 1,000 hours of original movies and television. Calculate that with the amount of hours Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, Big Little Lies, The Young Pope, Girls, Silicon Valley, and Veep offer on HBO, and you’ve got a long vacation on the couch.
Analysts say this era of “Peak TV” is damaging to the entire medium. Television criticism and release dates are now futile. If audiences are struggling to catch up on Veep and Master of None, how will they start something entirely new like Friends From College or I Love Dick? And if the streaming audience is struggling, then how are the cable people doing? Better Call Saul, The Americans, This Is Us all get good enough ratings and buzz, but they’re still small fish in an ocean — because every series is (except for Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead, of course).
As streaming services and their original content become the standard for viewing television, as does the non-original content. There’s still people out there catching up with Suits or Lost while maintaining to their Facebook friends that they’ll get around to Sense8 once they’re done. There’s still a massive audience for older shows like Friends or Gilmore Girls, hence the reboots and reunions. The current options are plentiful for audiences looking for entertainment, so they stick with something familiar and traditional. Not many friend groups are on the same page, or episode, of a series.
So, please, consider the overwhelming world in which we live in and don’t tell your friend to catch up on a series they simply do not have time for because nobody does. Or, at the least, give them a break. Perhaps make a schedule to watch the pilot episode. Find a common ground to discuss so these “are you caught up yet?” questions can go away.
I forgot to mention Twin Peaks. You should catch up with that (when you have the time.)