Binge watching! Who me?

We all know that not only has new technology changed everything but it continues to do so at break-neck speed. I have often made reference to my age in this space… usually followed by my wife, Twila, pointing out that we are NOT old. And, even at my advanced years… notice I was smart enough to say MY and not our… I have to agree with her… I do not feel old. But there are days when, even though I am in the communications and media businesses, the speed at which these industries are changing stuns me.

Twila and I are in our office working as I write this. Much to the dismay of my friends in cable and broadcast television I have made no secret of the fact that we seldom watch anything on a broadcast or cable channel. Truth be known, we have cable only for the internet service and have satellite TV so we can watch the occasional Green Bay Packers’ football game… oh, and music in the master bathroom. But that does not mean our TV isn’t used. We have four of the video streaming services and have found them to be very fulfilling of our entertainment needs… sometimes too much so.

First, a little history for you kids who don’t remember the time before cable. I grew up in the wilds of Mississippi where we had a fifty-foot tall pole anchored to the end of the house with an antenna on top of it and an electric rotor to change the direction of the antenna. With that we were able to get two TV stations and, sometimes, a third if the wind was blowing just right. In my later years, here in Bowling Green, we moved into a house where cable was available. I don’t remember exactly how many channels we had, but I think it was less than 20, and that was still an explosion of choices. Now that number has grown to dozens and dozens of channels offered by cable and/or satellite services. But the hard part, especially for Twila and me who work 70+ hours a week, most these offerings are still on their schedule and not ours.

A couple of years ago we discovered our first streaming service and all of a sudden there was huge selection of old shows and semi-new movies that we had watched years ago and enjoyed. We found that these programs were organized and labeled so we could pick and choose the episodes and, equally important, could watch them any time we wanted. We discovered binge watching where we could pick a show, just start the episodes playing, and let them be wonderful background noise to our workday.

As time passed, we discovered a few more of the streaming services including one that has a number of currently-airing programs from the major networks. A new episode may air on a network on Tuesday night and on Wednesday it pops up on the streaming service. We can watch it at our leisure and even re-watch it a time or two if we want. No more recording or missing an episode. They are all there and listed for our viewing pleasure. Don’t like an episode… just skip it and move on. No problem.

Our current favorite network show is ABC’s The Rookie seen on WBKO Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. Twila and I loved the police drama Castle and one of the stars was Nathan Fillion, of whom we are very fond. So when we saw that he had a new show coming out, we checked the info on it and immediately decided it would probably flop in short order. The plot was an old guy whose big life changes lead to him joining the LAPD as the world’s oldest Rookie cop. So, with our busy schedule, we never got around to catching it on WBKO. Then, one night while working, I noticed it was available on one of our streaming services. I punched it up and in about 10 minutes I noticed neither of us was working as the show progressed and we began to meet and like a large cast of interesting characters headed by the loveable rookie cop, John Nolan, played by Fillion. If you like action-filled cop shows with a heart and a surprise or two along the way, you should check it out. We now look forward to each new episode and have even watched one or two on WBKO… commercials and all!

“Binge” has been a word for a long time. But “binge-watching” is still pretty new and applies to watching multiple episodes of the same show back to back to back. Next month, maybe I’ll tell you about our other “new” show that has, at times, caused us to play several episodes in a row because we can’t wait to see what happens next. Until then, all you folks who love the old shows… Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Home Improvement and hundreds of others… enjoy the options provided by all the amazing new technologies. And, when you are tired of watching your video screen, jump to the SOKY Events Calendar… also now available on WBKO’s website by the way… and find something to get out and enjoy in the real world. Now that’s serious fun!