Netflix changed the game for television.
It is rather apparent that Netflix isn’t really about the movies anymore: yes, there are many great films on there, especially obscure ones, but nowadays people use it for TV shows. It provides them with a convenience that previously only existed with home movies: I can watch it when I want on my time. And the recent phenomenon of binge-watching (probably popularized by Breaking Bad) allows for a more cinematic experience. Instead of waiting week to week for small segments, larger chunks of a show can be knocked out with ease. And now they are creating original material: with shows such as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and ressurecting Arrested Development, television’s days looked more and more limited with numbers substantially lower than anything playing in the early 90’s.
Netflix changed the game. Television finally has somewhat of an answer: Anthology seasons.
Every season of a particular show is something else. American Horror Story tells a frightening tell in a season of 10 or so episodes, and it’s done. Over. Season 2 brings about a completely new frightening tale for the viewer. Same with HBO’s True Detective and the upcoming Fargo for example. Much like The Twilight Zone (featuring standalone episodes) this gives the audience an experience television hasn’t touched in years. Every season is something new to look forward to, and if one doesn’t work, the next one will be different. Hopefully better.
Anthologies have shorter stories to tell and complete, which makes it perfect for those looking to binge-watch (10 episode commitment vs 170?) As major film stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson have pointed out, it gives them a chance to delve into television and not worry about a year after year commitment to fulfill, as they are both stars of the first anthology of True Detective.
Television may not be able to beat what Netflix has to offer, but for the first time it really seems to have come up with something that can be used along with it, because throwing hashtags on top of my Breaking Bad episodes wasn’t working for me.