When Supernatural aired in 2005, I made the mistake of not watching and have since missed out on eight years of weekly watching experience. Instead, I got to watch all eight seasons in just six months thanks to a Netflix subscription and my personal dedication to catching up before the October premiere of the ninth season on the CW. Now that we have the first half of season nine and the return for the remaining episodes leading up to the finale, I can say that I finally got to experience the weekly viewing along with all my fellow “Supernatural” fans. This got me thinking, which is a better experience, watching it all at once (binge watching as it’s called) or watching each week with only one episode at a time?
When writing this piece, I had to make a pros and cons list for both options because they both have their benefits, and I found it difficult to choose between the two. But let’s dive in! First lets discuss Netflix (or any other online streaming service you may use) binge watching. Since this method was my introduction to all things “Supernatural,” I do have a fond connection (profound bond maybe?) with this viewing option. It provided a new viewer, like me, a place to fully engulf myself in the “Supernatural” world in a short amount of time. I was able to see storylines and connections that I might have missed had I watched just one episode per week. It was easier for me to quickly get to know the characters and fall madly in love with the brothers after watching, on average, five episodes per night. One of the negatives to binge watching, however, is how individualized the experience can be. One of my favorite things about TV watching is the communal aspect with friends either online or in person at viewing parties. Using Netflix I didn’t get to watch with anyone since I was so far behind and watching at my own pace.
I began watching one episode a week when season nine premiered in October 2013. I had finally caught up with current episodes and was excited to experience the episode with other fans (finally!). When I watch one episode a week (typically when it first airs on the CW network) I get the excitement of watching along with friends, fellow fans, and sometimes the actors/crew themselves when they take to twitter and post their thoughts in live-tweet format. It’s very exciting and adds to the feeling I have come to know as the SPN Family. I found that waiting for a new episode each week enhanced my viewing. So much energy was spent during the week on speculation and theories for what would happen in the next episode that it made the episode itself feel that much more exciting. It’s as if I kept bottling my excitement with each conversation and theory speculation and when the episode aired, the bottle exploded with all my emotions and excitement!
In the end, I prefer watching live each week rather (if only slightly more) than binge watching alone. While I hold my Netflix time with “Supernatural” in high regards…I’ve had a wonderful time watching week by week with everyone, seeing Jared and other cast live-tweet, and speculating/commiserating with my fan friends at the end of each episode. This season looks to be one of the best “Supernatural” has to offer and I can’t wait to watch it with you all!
When did you discover “Supernatural?” How many seasons did you have to catch up on before you were watching live? Which experience do you prefer?