Binge Watching

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Synonyms: Binge viewing
See also: Viewing Party, marathoning
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Binge viewing is a Fannish activity which is usually found in the media fandom where several episode or installments of the tv- oder movie series are watched during one session. Sometimes, a complete tv series season is watched.

Contrary to a Viewing Party, binge watching is usually done alone or with only another person.


In mainstream media the term appeared in early 2000s. In 2003 it was used in a New York Times article by Emily Nussbaum.

The term gained in popularity when streaming service started to relases all episodes of a tv-series not in weekly installments but at once in 2013. Since serial productions of streaming and Video on Demand providers like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime have a shorter span of episodes per season (usually not more than 13) than the "traditional" seasons of broadcastes shows which usually used to featured between 13 and 25 episodes per season.

Origin of the term

The first uses of "binge watching," "binge viewing," and other variants date to the late 1990s on online user forums, perhaps for the X-Files. In 1996, an fan looking for VHS tapes of the show wrote: "There are three of us who all got hooked at the same time, so I'd preidc there'd be some MASSIVE binge watching right away!:-)"

Mobalysis® @mobalysis on twitter_ "The first uses of 'binge watching'... date to the late 90's... in a user forum for @thexfiles"! Another culture shift where #xphiles were at the forefront of society

Examples of very "binge watchable" shows and movies

Based on an analysis done by Netflix, these shows are especially binge watchable*:

* (Based on an analysis of viewing patterns among Netflix members around the world who joined the platform since 2013. It defined binge-watching as "finishing at least one season of a series of 5 episodes or more within 7 days of starting, and excluded kids and family shows".)[1]

Other shows that are reportedly binge watched by their fandoms are the various Star Trek series (especially Star Trek: TOS), Game of Thrones as well as The X-Files.

"Binge watchable" movies are the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Star Trek movies as well as any movie Gillian Anderson starred in (Please see the "Sea also" section of this article for details.)

Following the end of Season 16 at CHIKARA Supremacy on December 3, 2016, Professional Wrestling promotion CHIKARA recorded several matches and released them in installments as the "lost" Season 17 (all nine events were titled after episodes of Lost) as the first "binge-able" content in wrestling history.

Reasons and risks of Binge Watching

Usually shows and movie with a high addiction level are binge watched. These can either be achieved with cliffhangers or a continous story that is told over several episodes. For productions with surprising story elements, watchers who are not fast enough in their watching are in the risk of being spoiled by other viewers who already have seen the complete episode or season and who, deliberately or intentionally, reveal story relevant information on Social Media.

This may sometimes lead to a perceived social/peer pressure to watch a newly-released instalment as soon as possible, not to only to avoid to be spoiled but to join discussions about a trending or hyped show or movie. Constant binge watching may also lead to a decline of social activity.

Binge watching over several hours or even days may present a health risk, especially for the eyes. A study by the University of Minnesota with 15,000 adults showed that people that watch a lot of TV have a 1.7 times higher risk of developing a thrombosis in their legs.[2]

Another study showed that viewers who watched a show in weekly instalments could recall plot details better than viewers that binge watched whole seasons of a show in one go. According to Edgar Erdfelder, Head of the Department of Cognitive Psychology at the Universätet Mannheim, "Binge watching is blocking the brain's ability of process information, which will lead to disdavantages in the cognitivie capacity in the long term."[3],

Other studies show that binge watching may have a negative effect on sleep quality.[4],[5]

Further Reading


See also


  2. ^ So kann Binge Watching eurer Gesundheit schaden von pinotnoiraurevoir (Joana Müller) - Veröffentlicht am 22.02.2018
  3. ^ Was Binge-Watching mit deinem Gehirn macht von Camares Amonat, 10.01.2018]
  4. ^ Binge Watching and Its Effects on Your Sleep by Michael J Breus Ph.D. on Jan 18, 2018, Psychology Today
  5. ^ Medical Group Warns of Binge-Watching Health Risks By Todd Spangler MAY 30, 2017