Posted in 2018, analysis

Bingeability and Openings in Television

Before innovations such as Netflix or other online streaming services the only way to actually binge a series was to either buy or rent a DvD or VHS with at least part of that series on it. Today all you have to do to binge a series is to go online, find the service, maybe sign up for a subscription, and choose what you’re going to watch. It’s not that hard to do, sure sometimes you have to pay money but its worth it if you can watch hours and hours of content for the price of only two.

While I have been binging some older series I have noticed just how difficult to binge. Both Yu Yu Hakusho and Chrono Crusade, both anime series that I have been watching recently have openings that are 1.5 minutes long and which play at the beginning of every episode. Sure it makes it easier to skip the openings if there is nothing else before them, but I personally find it a little bit annoying. In addition to this if the last episode ended in the middle of an action packed scene the current episode will repeat the ending of the last episode. This is mainly because the directer and producers of these older series weren’t expecting people to sit and watch the entire series in a few sittings.

You also see it in the west, though not as often because over here we don’t care much about openings. The opening for the X-Files is pretty long. It was so long that its run time was reduced in order to allow more time for the actual episode. The opening to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is actually almost two minutes long and though it is catchy and kind of a meme now it’s not fun to listen to the same song once every half hour as you’re binging it.

So yeah, many older series are not friendly to binging because their creators never thought that these series would ever be watched in such a manner. However many new series also suffer from being unfriendly towards binging. My main example for this is the fact that while some series, especially in the west have adapted an opening that is only a few seconds long, there are still many series, mainly cartoons and anime that not only have decently long openings but also have openings that start after a short pre-opening scene which makes it difficult to binge them. Even if you like the music it can be annoying to listen to it over and over again. Some series have fixed this issue by omitting the opening during multi episode action sequences but the problem is still there.

But is any of this really an issue. It is still possible to skip the opening of any series and if more streaming platforms do what Netflix does and give you a button which will bring you to the end of the opening most of the problem is no longer there. While I do agree this would be more difficult for some series, for older series such as the ones I pointed out above it would only take adding a timed button to each episode which will stay there until the end of the opening so that you can either skip it or watch it. Also while I did spend much of this post complaining about how unbingeable some series are, they actually aren’t. There are just a few issues that make binging these series more difficult.

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