Drama

To Binge or Not To Binge: Pros and Cons

“To Binge Or Not To Binge?” – a question probably as old as the VCR… No! Wait! Even way before the VCR, people were faced with the question of reading one chapter at a time or reading the whole book in one go. Though the launch of streaming sites has made binging a lot simpler for dramas, people did indeed binge in the past and had to choose if they just watch one movie or episode at a time, or record or buy the whole series so they can watch them all at once. 

I am willing to admit that I myself grew up with holier than holy slot times on the TV, as I did not always have the option to record the show. Now that times have changed, I kind of feel like waiting for one episode at a time is a thing of the past, and am therefore mostly a binger. Though I do try to watch dramas while airing once in a while or a couple of episodes a night with my husband, I often find myself thinking NEVER while airing AGAIN, as I am more or less a binger to the core. That said, I am going to try to be as objective as I can in this article, looking from several angles at the ‘binge vs. not binge’ subject, hoping this can help you figure out what fits you best.

(Not) While Airing… 

The first con to binging is the obvious inability to watch the drama while it is airing. Not all non-bingers watch dramas while they are airing, but before anyone can actually binge a drama as a whole, the drama has to finish airing. Well, you can start on the day of the last episode (but that is basically waiting until it is done). Therefore, some of the pros and cons when choosing to binge or not to binge will inevitably have to do with watching dramas while they are airing or waiting to binge them after all the episodes have been released.

Pros-Cons, Cons-Pros – Let’s Just Start With All The Reasons Why Not To Binge (that I can come up with) 

I Won’t Remember You

The first question is, will you remember the drama you just binged after a week or two when you have watched another 5 dramas? 

I Honestly Just Sneezed And It Was Already Over… 

Source

Sometimes you may wait months or even years for a drama to air just to see it vanish and be done within a day or two. What about savoring the process, letting the mystery grow, taking time to build up your own theories…? By watching one episode at a time, you get time to reflect, to miss your characters, yes, to build a relationship with the drama, actually feeling stuff when those months come to an end. What about savoring the drama? Having a date with your favorite characters once a week instead of exploiting them all at once and switching them out the next day as if they meant nothing to you, making you think “Bok Joo Who?*” 

*As in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, but that would never happen to me…

Spoilers

People who watch dramas as they air may feel great joy or disappointment while watching a drama, leading them to create a fan edit on YouTube, a post on Instagram (or whatever platform that does not have the spoiler tag). Or they FORGET to use the tag as they shout out this joy/disappointment/shock out into the air, letting it make it all the way to your eyes… and unless you have the memory of a goldfish, once spoiled – forever spoiled. And all of a sudden the drama you were waiting to finish airing for weeks, months, years, has been spoiled forever.

Binging Can Be Lonely… 

Since you have to wait to binge until the drama has finished airing, you miss out on being part of the drama fandom as the story unfolds. Forget spoilers, you are missing out on the timed discussion, the shared joy before the drama went bad, the shared disappointment, the shock over seeing a kiss in episode 4 instead of 8. As it does get lonely once it is all done, all you have left is the echo of your own thoughts and the one or other “Oh, I loved that show” or “Oh, I hated that show because…”. And yes, it happened again, you got the ending spoiled and you missed out on yet another potential masterpiece, because why watch when you know the ending?*

*There are several reasons to watch even when you know the ending, but that is a different article.

Try Keeping My Attention If You Can! 

Some dramas are just not fit to be binged. They may be slow, have lots and lots and lots of episodes that are a bit repetitive, or be episodic, making each episode stand on its own. Sometimes you may love the characters but after the third day of the same plot unfolding, or just 5 hours (everybody is different), you might get a little bit sick of them. Just like you may love a person to the moon and back, but once you are stuck together in a small space for too long, odds are you will end up bickering and just need that break to fully appreciate each other. When it comes to dramas, some are just better in smaller doses. If you force yourself to binge a drama that is not fit for binging, you will not only lose the purpose of watching dramas (pleasure), but you may end up thinking the drama is worth 6 stars when, if watched the right way, it could easily be worth 9.

 3 Dramas I tried binging but decided it was better to watch an episode or two at a time: 

Ingredients
My Review 
VincenzoMy Review
Would You Like a Cup of Coffee?
My Review 

*Pssst… The mood could also have something to do with how easy it is to binge stuff…

Finding That Perfect Balance

Forget Drama/Life balance, finding that Quality/Entertainment balance on your watchlist is way more important. As most drama-watchers will try to find that perfect mix of fluff, suspense, action, supernatural, aggravation, tears and so on… A mix that can be hard to find in just one drama, unless it is a drama with Park Bo Young or a Wuxia – they seem to have everything. However, by watching several dramas at once instead of binging one, you can find that perfect mix.

Provided by Joerin

What Should I Watch Next? 

As a binger, you will often find yourself with that oh-so horrifying question. What to watch next? By watching several dramas at once, you will easily be able to avoid the void that is left when one drama ends. Giving you plenty of time to add the successor to that plot naturally instead of forced by the oh-so blank and sad Currently Watching List.  

Oh, Is It 2am Already?! 

One of the biggest risks attached to watching dramas back to back is how time flies, making you sacrifice sleep, relationships, work, studies, and so on. Giving you circles under your eyes, nightmares – All things that, when done at the wrong time, can have serious consequences, like showing up late to work, a job interview, or a doctor’s appointment; failing an exam, missing your own wedding, crashing your truck into some other car, or I don’t know… forgetting your umbrella on the bus because you are just too tired after binging. 

For A Binger I Seem To Find A Lot Of Cons, But Do Not Worry, Here Come The Pros! 

The Waaait Is The Hardest Part  

Yes, the binger will have to wait until the drama has finished airing, but once that is done it is smooth sailing. The episode ends with the lead running off in a hoodie, seemingly stabbed by a yellow umbrella, leaving you breathless, making you wonder: Was it her in the hoodie or was it someone else? Did she survive the stab? Was it her evil teddy bear that stabbed her, or was it just a dream? No problem, you just have to click on the next episode and see what happens next. Fall in love with the main couple and want to see if they will finally kiss or if it is time for that obligatory break-up before they get together again? Sure, just watch a couple of episodes and this should be done by bedtime.

See, just one click away… and the next episode is on its way.

Made by AnQuat 

Safer Bet / Time Savior… And As You Know, Time Is Precious? 

Missing out on a masterpiece or saving time? The binger will not have to spend time wondering if or when the next episode will get subbed, if the drama will be canceled after the first two episodes (I am looking at you, Joseon Exorcist) or if it starts off well but then takes a dive to the ugly corners of dramaland, making you wish you never started it. Especially when it comes to hyped dramas, chances are you will find out if the drama was worth the hype, or just overhyped in the beginning but loses the hype somewhere along the way. Once the dramas finish airing, there will also be reviews out there, maybe even ones written by your favorite reviewers on MDL, helping you sort out where to invest your time.

Wait, What Is That Guy Doing There?

While you may feel blue for not getting spoilers out of your head, watching one drama at a time is a great help to ensure the viewer does not mix things up with the other 15 dramas on the person’s Currently Watching List. Complicated plots, seemingly insignificant details and characters that show up out of nowhere are indeed a lot easier to remember if the past episode was 5 minutes ago than if it was a week back, and you have started 2 new dramas, seen a movie and actually went out into the world… 

Losing Interest 

Sometimes it is the drama that is more suited for binging vs. one episode a day/week. And sometimes it is the person’s attention span/interest that is more suited for binging. Different people have different things to keep their attention. Some people can binge episode after episode without losing interest, but risk losing interest if they have to wait two weeks (rare but happens), one week or even a day. As the episodes on their own are just not memorable enough to keep a person coming back week after week, but put together all at once they just may be a masterpiece*! 

*Or just a good enough drama that you would have enjoyed. Not all dramas have to be masterpieces. It just looks better than writing  ‘you may be missing a good enough drama’. 

Oh, Is It 2am Already? 

It is easy to get lost in a drama when you binge it, not noticing the flow of time… it gets to be 2 am already. That probably means you are having a good time. Hopefully, you will get to dream sweet dreams about the plot and just soak up all the fun in the drama you are watching. 

Oh, and if you are the least bit worried about the circles… they may just be your greatest asset, as the right person – who may or may not look like Go Kyung Pyo – might just fall in love with the dark circles under your eyes…

What About The Second Season?

The announcement of the second season is often made before a drama finishes airing, thus giving the watcher the choice to wait or accept the one-season-at-a-time-binge. However, the announcement of the second season will rule out more or less all the pros… And with this positive note (ok, maybe not so positive), I will wrap up this 4th season of my article series.

The Last Episode Of The Season… (Last Thoughts) 

Once upon a time I thought I was a true binger, a person who could more or less binge anything without having it compromise my enjoyment, until one day I met my match, a drama that truly made me question my identity as a binger. It was a hard time, but somehow I got through it and realized that some dramas are just better off watching one episode or two at a time, while others are more suitable for binging. This not only made me stronger in my identity as a binger, but also made me come to the realization that the choice to binge or not to binge truly does matter. 

What do you prefer, to binge or to watch one episode at a time, or does it depend on your mood? Are there dramas that you think are best binged and/or dramas you think should be savored one episode at a time? You can add and vote for those dramas on these lists (and/or comment below): 

Do you have any more pros or cons that you would like to add to this list? Or do you just want to run off and binge the other articles in this series (or a drama, whatever floats your boat)? I am often available on DMs and try to reply to most of the comments, so do feel free to write whatever you want. Just keep it civil and I shall shower you with emojis and smiles.


Credits: Most pictures/gifs were sampled from Flower Boy Next Door and were taken by me, found on MDL’s database or will have a link to their source beneath them. The collage in “Wait What Is That Guy Doing There?” was made by me, using screenshots or pictures found on the drama pages on MDL from the following titles: MouseSoundtrack #1, Ingredients, Mystery to Iunakare, Kamisama no Ekohiiki, + the actors Jung Hae In and Kim Seul GiVoting list photos are from One Spring Night and Something in the Rain. The last gif is sampled from The Untamed, the photo for the cover was found here. Special thanks to AnQuat and the editors. 

P.S.
If you need help figuring out:

If recommending dramas to others is a good idea or not…
Wether you should drop a drama or not…
Or the pros and cons to re-watching dramas…
Then you will find the answers in the articles linked above.

Edited by: Tine (1st editor)

dramas
binge watching
humour
episodic
while airing

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