On April 30, it was announced that NBC was somewhat copying the mega-popular streaming service Netflix, in that it was allowing viewers to “binge watch” an entire season of a series at once. Although this may simply be a new method of allowing the public to view new and upcoming shows at their own discretion rather than on a week-to-week basis, it is more likely that the network is using this as a last-ditch attempt to desperately scoop up their ratings once more.
The show of which the once unstoppable network will be allowing viewers to take in the entire first season of all at once is Aquarius, a crime drama starring critically acclaimed X-Files star David Duchovny. The 54-year-old plays a police detective who is hot on the trails of notorious serial killer Charles Manson, during the events of 1967. Beginning on May 28, all 13 episodes of this new series will be available for streaming on NBC’s official website as well as their app and cable VOD services.
The concept of “binge watching” popular television series without needing to wait for each episode to come out separately and then proceed to play them one after another was indeed made possible by Netflix, by way of their own original series the company created that was available only through the streaming service itself (by this, the meaning is that no primetime networks or the like showed said shows; online pirating sites, of course, will always have their way with everything even if for a brief time). The Netflix originals that were the most popular and have received the highest level of infamy in terms of a dedicated following are House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, most definitely. House of Cards has broken records in terms of viewership, especially for a show that is not on a primetime network. Even the President of the United States has admitted to being addicted to the show, and confessed to having binge-watched the most recent season shortly before it was released to the general public.
As for why NBC has made the decision to allow this kind of featured for the first time, it is clear that the most likely motive is a desperate attempt to revive ratings on their primetime shows and boost their popularity again. Faith and interest in the network has taken something of a huge nosedive over the past few years, for what viewers believe to be bad decisions in terms of programming and future planning of certain shows. One of NBC’s undoubtedly hugest blunders lately was the way in they chose to air the final season of the legendary political comedy Parks & Recreation, a show whose legions of dedicated fans rivals not that many others. The show’s sixth season consisted of merely 13 episodes in the first place, for an array of different reasons, but NBC decided to put the episodes out two at a time. Therefore, the entire process ended up being pushed forward double speed and lasted a mere six weeks in length, a fact which angered Parks lovers greatly. They have since voiced their extremely discontent with the network for rushing what they feel is one of the best show’s of all time, going on to state that they are not surprised in the slightest due to how downhill NBC has gone in the past while.
While NBC may simply be attempting to try a new method of viewership due to the growing popularity of streaming services, this is most likely not the case. Instead, this desperate move is seemingly dedicated to bringing the ratings back to an otherwise failing television network, after several years of poor decision-making in terms of the shows that people love best.
Opinion By Rebecca Grace
Photo by Wally Gobetz – Creativecommons Flickr License