Saturday, January 12, 2013

TV TOPIC: Netflix's Future Affect on TV Ratings & a List of New Netflix TV Shows

Binge-viewing is an interesting concept.

Bing-viewing (v.) The act of watching more than two episodes of a series in a row.

It's mostly something that sporadic TV viewers and non-cable or -DVR owners do during holiday breaks or activity-light weekends. But it's also a popular pastime for TV lovers who want to re-watch their favorite parts of an old or recently-cancelled series. According to, Netflix noticed that its users were quite partial to binge-viewing, given the increase in streaming statistics whenever a new slate of TV shows were added to the site.

The surprising enthusiasm to re-watch or "finally get the chance to see" the entire series of "Arrested Development" is actually what inspired the company to revive the series, and release an entire new season to be watched in one sitting if one wished to. Such a plan has never been implemented in network television history.

The British network, BBC (PBS for westerners), have many shows that fend off cancellation by constructing short seasons and short runs—a light at the end of the tunnel and the promise of a resolution. And American television could possibly do the same if they decided to follow in Netflix's footsteps and release full seasons of their shows. How that would work, given their dependence on ad sales, and how exactly they would disseminate an entire season would be difficult to suss out. But by using the metrics they'll gather from the shows debuting this year, Netflix will be able to determine where exactly each initially-interested viewer lost interest, what time of day they chose to watch, and which episodes they chose to re-watch. With this data they could not only determine the plot flow and content of the next season, but also do the same for future shows. And if they should ever decide to release such information to network TV channels, even privately, it could really give the networks the insight they, especially NBC, need to figure out what they're doing wrong. Maybe, at the very least, the networks will discover what fans of cult TV shows wish they would: a series should be given at least a full season before they're cancelled to let everyone get a chance to either accept it or reject it.

We'll see exactly how much affect Netflix will have on the ratings system and on television history overall after its new shows premiere this year. While there's no word on how its first series, "Lilyhammer," did last year, chances are, given the high profile names attached to the upcoming shows, we'll get the gist of whether or not they're any good from Twitter alone. This year, along with the May-return of "Arrested Development," we can look forward to:

"House of Cards" (Feb. 1, 2013)
A political drama adapted from a 90s UK series, starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara. It follows a ruthless politician, passed over for Secretary of State, with his eye on the presidency. Netflix outbid AMC and HBO, and committed to two seasons (26 episodes).
Watch the trailer >

"Hemlock Grove" (April 19, 2013)
A horror thriller adapted from Brian McGreevy's novel and executive produced by Eli Roth (Hostel). It follows teenage boys (Terra Nova's Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgaard, Alexander's little bro), the former suspected of being a gypsy werewolf, who try to uncover the mystery behind a girl's brutal murder, so they can clear their names. It also stars Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott. The budget behind this 13-episode season is rumored to be $45 million.
Watch the trailer >

"Derek" (2013)
A Ricky Gervais British half-hour dramedy about oddball caretakers at an old person's home. It originally aired in the UK, but was picked up by Netflix after controversy over the claim that it mocks mentally disabled people made it undesirable to British networks.
Check out a first look at the series >

"Orange is the New Black" (2013)
A dramedy created by Jenji Kohan, former head writer of "Weeds," and adapted from Piper Kerman's memoir, which was subtitled "My Year in a Women's Prison," hence the title. It'll star Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One and "Mercy"), Jason Biggs, and Laura Prepon ("That 70s Show" and "Are You There, Chelsea?"), with recurring roles by Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, and Pablo Schreiber (Happythankyoumoreplease).

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