Reel Corner - June 2015


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Binge viewing or binge watching shows is not the future, it’s the present.In a survey conducted by Netflix February 2015, 73 percent of people define binge-watching as “watching between 2-6 episodes of the same show in one sitting.” Binge-watching, as an observed cultural phenomenon, has become popular with the rise of online media services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, which the viewer can watch on-demand.

This current popular viewing practice is forcing networks to reevaluate the “pilot” format and go straight for programs where the viewer can be in control.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Television Festival, Kevin Spacey, the “House of Cards” star, gave a rousing address to entertainment executives urging them to “give people what they want.”  Here’s a synopsis of his lecture:

1. “The success of the Netflix model—releasing the entire season of “House of Cards” at once—proved one thing: the audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge, we should let them.”

2. “We’ve learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

3. “For kids growing up now there’s no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or YouTube on a TV, or watching “Game of Thrones” on their computer. It’s all content. It’s just story.”

4. “The audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for them. They’re rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly gifs and God knows what else about it. They’ll engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. All we have to do is give it to them.”


THE WIRE:This series looks at the narcotics scene in Baltimore through the eyes of law enforcers, as well as the drug dealers and users. Other facets of the city that are explored in the series are the government and bureaucracy, schools and the news media. 

BREAKING BAD: Mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher, Walter, thinks his life can’t get much worse. His salary barely makes ends meet, a situation not likely to improve once his pregnant wife gives birth. In addition, their teenage son is battling cerebral palsy and he has terminal cancer. Realizing that his illness probably will ruin his family financially, Walter makes a desperate bid to earn as much money as he can in the time he has left by turning an old RV into a meth lab on wheels.

GAME OF THRONES: This medieval fantasy epic is the depiction of two powerful families—kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men—playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne. 

HOUSE OF CARDS: U.S. Rep. Francis Underwood of South Carolina starts out as a ruthless politician seeking revenge. Promised the post of Secretary of State in exchange for his support, his efforts help to ensure the election of the president. But the offer is withdrawn. Political mayhem ensues.

DOWNTON ABBEY: This British drama series follows the lives of the Crawley family and its servants in the family’s classic Georgian country house. It begins in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, which leaves Downton Abbey’s future in jeopardy, since the presumptive heirs die in the catastrophe, leaving the family without a male offspring to take over Downton. The point is important since Lord Grantham’s children are daughters. 

THE PARADISE: An intoxicating love story set in England’s first department store in the 1870s.

GRACE AND FRANKIE: For as long as they can recall, Grace and Frankie have been rivals. Their one-upmanship comes crashing to a halt, however, when they learn that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and want to get married. 

References: Wikipedia,

Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. She was a 12-year member of the Hilton Head Second Sunday Film Society, and frequent visitor to the Sundance Film Festival. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is an executive recruiter and staff development consultant. Are you interested in joining a film club? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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