Clive James has just spoken for many, wondering aloud why he is "wasting" so much time watching box sets of television dramas such as The West Wing and Game of Thrones.
But is it being wasted? These days, when television is good, it is very, very good. Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, said that she had been strongly influenced by long-form box-set dramas "because the emotional arcs and changes that you can follow are just so much more like a novel, and so many shows recently have done as much as film can do to show the interior world".
The heart instinctively rebels but the head must accept the truth. The multi-disc box set is increasingly our answer to the Victorian triple-decker novel. The story of that terminally ill chemistry teacher turned drug manufacturer Walter White (Breaking Bad) is explored in as much depth and with as much nuance and unflagging devotion to character and consistent psychology as you would hope to find in any good, maybe even in any great, novel.
Game of Thrones is a study in power relations and corruption. The Sopranos was a dissection of conscience, played out through a collection of mobsters; Orange Is the New Black gathers an ensemble cast without a single weak link to play out the law of unintended consequences among a collection of inmates in a women's prison; and The Wire - well, The Wire was everything.
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Like novels, box sets require an investment of time, attention and emotional energy. They repay rewatching - in the same way good books repay rereading. Also, some of them star Sean Bean in bearskins and leather. And they do it through brilliant, compelling storytelling. In an age in which novels seem to have almost literally lost the plot, this willingness to provide a clear, well-paced narrative is a rare attraction.
The way we consume television these days also brings us closer to the process of reading, rather than watching. With the advent of Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer and all the forms of TV on demand, programmes have become unshackled from time and space too. We consume them at the time, in the place and in the amounts that suit us. In other words, we immerse ourselves in them as we do in books.
Now we are in something of a virtuous circle. Writers and producers know that they have an attentive audience who will no longer lose the thread of a plot during a week's wait for the next episode. They are alert to, and appreciative of, proper character development - inconsistencies will not be softened by intervening days. Intelligent, sweeping narratives can replace meaningless and unlikely rat-a-tat plot points. Writers must "write up" to this newly awakened audience, and they are.
It is, of course, still true that there are lots of books which are much better than lots of TV. But the gap between the greats is narrower than ever, and closing all the time. Plus - Sean Bean in bearskins and leather. Rochester, Darcy - you all need to up your game.