There is a show that I currently watch one episode at a time, as though catching it on the Internet after the fact wasn’t an option. I watched the first two seasons on Netflix, marathon-style. I had fun living the storyline in fast motion, but I felt a massive letdown when the end of season two came around and the roller coaster ride came to an end. I tried to get in to other, similar shows and movies. None of them were good enough to keep my interest, and I was disappointed. Not many of my friends share this feeling, and I am often asked why I don’t just stream the rest of the show from somewhere unauthorized.
I have a really tough time explaining why I refuse to illegally obtain my media without sounding like a pretentious jerk. It’s a strange issue to have, because I can’t think of another time when I would need to defend myself for refusing to break the law. What it really boils down to for me is this: I believe in paying for art. The content creators pour their heart and soul into what they create. In A/V media, there are so many hands at work on the way to producing a finished product – it’s an industry with huge overhead and often little return. I like to feel that I am at least contributing something. I was once told that I did not take a vow of poverty when I decided to become a musician. It’s some of the best advice I have ever been given, is not limited to musicians, and at its core means that what we do as content creators has value. Why shouldn’t I pay for something valuable? I can’t come up with any good reasons. If an artist puts their media out for free purposely, that’s one thing…if an unauthorized person does the same, it’s another thing entirely.
Back to my original feeling of letdown: I’m trying to fight my learned desire for instant gratification. I think waiting for something simple (the next installment of a show) is good practice for real life, and it’s something lacking in our always-on digital age. I didn’t see value in it before, but I’m happier now than I have ever been. It might also be because I have found an hour once a week that I can watch this one show, eat ice cream, and do something that doesn’t involve being terribly anxious about what I’m not attending to because I’m sitting down for hours watching shows. It’s actually kind of nice. I have a theory: if I watch a show an episode at a time and experience it at a normal pace, the letdown won’t be so bad when it’s time to wait for the next season to begin. We’ll see how it all works out in practice. So far, so good.