This is a big call and will sound like blasphemy to some but I'm done with binge viewing. The love affair is over. Get off my lawn.

I reached this unpopular take on Monday night. I'd just completed the 10-week journey that was the second season of Westworld. Neon had the show on "express viewing", meaning we were bang in sync with the States and getting new episodes the same time they were.

Unlike its streaming rival Netflix, HBO doesn't do season dumps. Instead, it dripfeeds a new episode once a week. In the age of the binge it's a quaint, old-fashioned approach.

So every Monday night for over two months I had dutifully tuned in to see what would happen next. While the finale itself left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied I did feel a strange gratification in having stuck with the show over such a long period of time.


True, that used to be classed as "normal viewing habits" but in these disposable, speed-viewing days it really is a damn eternity.

So as the credits rolled and my Monday nights freed up I realised that the thing I had liked most about watching Westworld was the weekly wait to watch Westworld.

I had felt the same way about HBO's biggest hitter, Game of Thrones, bar the slight disappointment. Waiting for the next episode to drop became as much a part of the experience as actually watching the show.

At times, especially as the end drew nigh and winter approached, that weekly pause felt excruciating. But the enforced gap gave the show's twists and turns time to sink in and added weight to its events.

Most importantly it gave us time to talk, speculate, argue and enthuse about what we had just seen. The show became bigger because we felt involved.

This is also true for Lightbox's crown jewel The Handmaid's Tale, the new season of which is proving to be so ominously prophetic that any more than one episode a week could be considered hazardous to your mental health and wellbeing. The grim and unnervingly reflective events of last week's episode has been all anyone can talk about.

In stark contrast I have completely lost track of the number of new seasons that Netflix has pumped out over that same 10-week period. These only got a brief chance to burn brightly before quickly fizzing into obscurity to languish at the mercy of Netflix's Top picks algorithm.

Now, I don't know about you but I pay absolutely no mind to these recommendations. Despite having her own Netflix profile my partner has an almost allergic reaction to using it. This means Netflix's "Picks for Karl" couldn't be more off if they were made of milk and left out in the sun for a couple of days.


It tends to recommend me cooking shows and travel shows and shows about travelling cooks. These, you'll be shocked to learn, are not my bag.

Not that it matters. I barely had time to binge through two episodes of a show I did like before a full season of another show I liked would drop. I still haven't finished Black Mirror and haven't even started Wild Wild Country yet.

The relentless release pace means these shows aren't getting time to build buzz, get people talking or even giving you time to watch them.

I did power binge through the new season of Tina Fey's brilliantly funny The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and got to talk about it with no one.

It seemed to completely fly under the radar, despite the new season being more timely, wildly subversive and cutting than ever. And that feels like such a waste. We should have been talking about it, recommending it, quoting it. But nope! It's long gone. Yesterday's news. As Kimmy herself might say, it's old and busted when what people want is the new hotness.

Well good luck with that. You'll never keep up. A few weeks ago I logged on to Netflix and saw the message - and I am not making this up - "145 TV shows and movies added in the last week". 145! At this point I don't even know what I'm missing any more. But, for the past two months at least, I knew that I would be watching Westworld on Monday night.

I don't know if this sort of comfy appointment viewing will make a popular comeback. It's working for big shows because they're big shows. It could work for smaller shows but they're not getting much of a chance to find an audience when their potential audience is constantly blurring through new shows and chasing the instant gratification of the binge.

So I may be alone in thinking this but Netflix, I reckon, needs to seriously Netflix and chill.