I just published an article in Convergence with Dr. Emil Steiner on binge-watching, which you can read here. We want to encourage everyone to move away from binge-watching as a universal term that can describe both positive viewing marathons (which we call FEAST watching) and negative ones (which we call cringe watching, because the next day you cringe when you tell your friend you accidentally blasted through 2 seasons of Selling Sunset). The factors that determine what kind of experience you have are:
P is for planned. Did you plan ahead? Have you been looking forward to watching this show all week? The more you plan ahead, the more likely you are to enjoy the experience (as opposed to regretting it).
S is for social. Are you watching with friends? Did you stream with a roommate? Watching with other people also increases the likelihood of positive outcomes.
A is for attention. Did you actually pay attention? Particularly for prestige-type, quality shows, you regret the streaming experience far less if you actually pay attention. On the other hand, if you ARE watching Selling Sunset (or other reality TV, or shows you have already seen), then you might be OK having it on in the background while you cook dinner or fold laundry.
So remember this PSA: Planning ahead, Social viewing (even if it is through an app like Scener), and paying Attention (if it’s a good show) are more likely to make you enjoy your viewing experiences and not have them stress you out!