With the rise of DVRs and online streaming, many people (including myself) have pointed out that the current television model, which requires people to watch a show at a particular time, is rapidly becoming outdated. While I do believe that this is true for casual viewers of TV shows, last night’s episode of Game of Thrones showed the world why the current model will never die for fans.
For a fan of a series, part of the fun of watching the show is having the ability to discuss it with others once the episode is over. It’s why episodic reviews are so successful and it’s part of why fandom exists. It’s not enough to just watch a show, it must be experienced with others to obtain the most enjoyment.
This is especially true when the events of an episode are particularly shocking or emotional, as was the case with Game of Thrones last night. When television moves us, we want to know that it moved others too and share our feelings with them, whether happy or sad, with them.
As long as there are fans willing to discuss shows with each other, there will have to be television that is watched at a reasonably scheduled time. As convenient as it may be, binge watching episodes of new shows (like Netflix’s recent release of Arrested Development) doesn’t lead to the same level of excitement as waiting week-by-week for a new episode. While the current model feels limiting at times, it is worth it for episodes like last night’s.