Apple held a splashy premiere event a few days ago at the Regency Village Theater in Westwood, California to unveil its new
The trailer has actually intrigued me enough to check out the series and give it a chance, so I’m probably going to give the service a try. As a reminder,
Here’s my only problem with For All Mankind, however. According to Apple, starting November 1, the first three episodes of the show “will be available to watch on
I’m actually going to go so far as to say there is no good customer-friendly reason for a streamer to not allow users to binge their content if the entire season is already locked and loaded.
To be fair, it’s not just Apple. Disney+ is venturing down this same path. One of the most highly anticipated series coming to Disney’s new streamer, for example, is The Mandalorian, a kind of space outlaw drama set within the universe of Star Wars. When that streamer launches on November 12, we’ll have two episodes of The Mandalorian within a week of the service launching (one episode on November 12, the second on November 15). But, again, both The Mandalorian and For All Mankind are all-new shows, bringing new characters and worlds to viewers. Is it really the best idea to tease audiences with just a couple episodes of something they’ve never seen before and hope they come back? What is this, 2005?
I had a spirited disagreement with someone this week about the binge model versus a delayed release schedule. What set off this person was a comment from Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos after Netflix’s latest quarterly earnings release in recent days. The comment was Sarandos saying how much he enjoys HBO’s Succession (which is a fantastic drama, kind of a Game of Thrones but for media buffs), but that what he doesn’t like are the show’s weekly air dates. “If I liked the show a little bit less I’d probably burn out on it,” Sarandos said. “Because I get aggravated every week waiting for the next episode.”
There are some things Netflix just doesn’t get, this person told me. Letting us binge takes all the buzz away from a show. Here’s a Twitter thread making the same point:
This is why no Netflix show will ever have the cultural impact an HBO show does.
— Nick Furry (@Hollywoodlandia) October 17, 2019
Setting aside the fact that the existence of Netflix’s Stranger Things proves that argument wrong, this person also told me a binge model would be wrong for Succession because there’s no way you’d want to watch multiple episodes back to back. It’s kind of a dark show at times and a bit much to take in.
My counter-argument to that is — just because an entire season of a show is there for you to binge, that doesn’t mean you have to, you know, stay up all night and don’t eat and force yourself to sit through each episode uninterrupted. You pick it up and put it down, like a book. Because what’s the alternative? Life happens. I may or may not have time according to a TV network executive’s schedule to watch his show. Maybe I’ll come back to it, maybe I won’t. And, as I said, there is nothing audience-friendly whatsoever about a staggered release schedule. That is 100% a vestige of an antiquated era of TV, when shows were built around advertising and were in fact vehicles for ads. Freed from the constraints of an advertising-based broadcast model, better to let viewers watch what they want, when they want. Let them be the ones to decide that they see your entire season sitting there, available, but they’ll watch a bit at a time. Or the whole thing at once.
The proof will certainly be in the pudding, or rather the viewership numbers once these new streamers and shows start rolling out. But half-launching a new show, on a new streaming service, seems to me a fundamental miscalculation about the nature of the so-called Streaming Wars. It is, when you come down to it, a battle for eyeballs, for my attention. You need to give me something to watch. In fact, you need to give me as much to watch as possible. If you don’t, someone else will.