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SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: 96th Edition

Hello and welcome to a new edition of SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table! Joining us this week is Milo M-J (MJ), Lisa Macklem (LM), Prpleight (JH), Dahne (DH), KathM (KM), Jamie Coudeville (JC), and myself (ZF). You just have to sit back enjoy the read and join the discussion in the comment section down below.

Several shows have returned as soon as they could, opting for long breaks between episodes as they catch up with filming under restrictions (i.e. Superstore, This Is Us). Do you prefer to have these short bursts rather than waiting, or would it be better to hold back until the show can do a normal season run?

 I've always been annoyed by the random breaks that shows would have halfway through their run going for weeks without a random episode even before the shutdown, so I'm more in favour of holding them off until they can do a normal season run. But as someone who's found myself watching less and less traditional network TV as of late (I think the only network shows I'm watching are Black Lightning, Legacies, Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, Evil & Brooklyn Nine-Nine), I'm as less invested in them as I used to be.

LM: I much prefer the short bursts - at least it's something to look forward to and actually makes my TV watching a lot more manageable!

JH: I'm fine with them spreading it out and airing new episodes when they have them. It's the best of a bad situation and I get new episodes. One thing I am happy about is the fact that they are broadcasting some straight to streaming shows.

Aside: I still think the industry is finding out that most people can't afford to subscribe to 10 streaming channels. (The recent marketing push gave me the impression that HBOMax ran into this when trying to bring in new customers who weren't already HBO subscribers.) So broadcasting these shows feeds my desire for new stuff while I wait for shows in production to do all they can during the pandemic.

DH: Given the extra long break between seasons, I understand why networks are piece-mealing their shows this year. However, it may be shortsighted, given that there are no guarantees against future closures. With too many breaks randomly thrown in, fans will lose track of shows or even interest. It might be better for networks to consolidate groups of episodes instead of having 1-3 episodes, only to take a month and a half break. I think the networks that did not air in December, but waited until January had a better plan.

KM: Given how long we’ve been waiting for new seasons to start, I say let ‘em roll! I’d like to see them airing as soon as they’re available. If a show takes week or so off, like it does during a normal season, that’s fine. But if you want me to keep watching your show, don’t air an episode or two, then leave me hanging for a month or more. I may just go find something else to watch.

JC: Can I go with option 3? I just would've preferred shorter seasons. So far, I haven't minded the breaks all that much, but sometimes they make no sense. I mean, NCIS is returning with a double episode... Why? Why not just air one episode a week earlier? It throws off my schedule even more. But I think the shows that waited until they have most of their season filmed will ultimately do better. It's easier to follow without gigantic breaks. For instance, I know some ABC shows are known to take huge breaks like Grey's Anatomy is now doing, but it's usually after a lot more episodes have aired.

With the rise of Disney+ and its weekly releases, there has been a debate on whether the weekly or binge system is better. Which do you prefer and why?

MJ: I think there's certainly elements that suggest a mixture of both is where I stand - there are some shows that suit the formula more than others. For example, Doctor Who has always had a weekly release format and it's played to its strengths brilliantly (to the point where it feels odd binge-watching it every time I revisit a season), along with procedurals where it feels awkward to binge them as they often don't suit the all-at once model and can grow quickly repetitive with their formula. However, I tore through shows like Cobra Kai in a matter of days, it's often too addictive not to want the next episode right now. But the longer the show is airing new episodes, the longer it's in conversation, most Netflix shows drop out of the chatter immediately within a week or two of their releases, whereas shows like The Boys & The Mandalorian was on people's minds from the first episode to the last. AppleTV+'s approach of releasing 3 episodes and then switching to a weekly format allows for the best of both worlds.

LM: I don't have Disney+ and never will - just can't afford yet another streaming service. However, there's so much "old" content on Netflix and Amazon (the two I DO have) that there's plenty of opportunity to binge if I want to. I actually prefer the weekly rollout - as Amazon does with The Boys and The Expanse. Again, it gives you something to look forward to - and I can always go back and do a binge re-watch!

JH: I LOVE the binge system until I hit the end of a season and I'm reminded that it might be a year until the next batch of episodes. And I hate the episode a week upload for the same reasons I wail at my TV when an episode ends. So....I don't think that's a very useful answer. LOL

DH: I don't use streaming services, but typically it depends on the show. Some shows I let pile up on the DVR because it works better to watch several episodes together. Others I enjoy more on a weekly basis.

KM: For episodic shows like Star Trek: Discovery, I prefer an episode a week. I enjoy a show better that way: the excitement builds up, you have more time to speculate about what comes next, and I think you pay more attention (at least, I do). I have no self-control and will binge a show I’ve been waiting for immediately, then find in retrospect that I enjoy it less. But shows that are self-contained, like Unsolved Mysteries, I am happy to have them posted all at once. It’s easier to watch and episode or two at once because, at least for me, I don’t feel the urgency to watch as I would otherwise.

JC: I hate the binge system. I don't have time to watch 8-10 episodes in a day. And spoilers end up online so quickly. It means I have to either do a social media blackout for a week (which is how long it usually takes me to catch up on a season if I have to work) or get spoiled for all of it. So, I'm very happy that Disney+ is doing a weekly system.

Disney+ has shown with The Mandalorian that they remain tight-lipped when it comes to teasers of their shows, keeping their trailers to a minimum. One thing that is missing is weekly promos. Do you miss weekly promos?

MJ: Not really! I enjoy going into an episode where you go in pretty much not knowing anything about what's coming next, I don't even read episode descriptions anymore. It's a welcome change of pace that is something that I'm very much on board with.

JH: I applaud them for supporting the story tellers in saving the surprise they want the audience to enjoy. I still have nightmares about marketing departments revealing the resolution to a cliff hanger in the promos. I missed the weekly promos for Titans. But it wasn't that big a deal.

JC: This is the part where I admit that with the exception of a few episodes, I rarely watch weekly promo's anymore. So no, I don't miss them for Disney+ shows.

WandaVision is set to premiere this Friday! What are you expecting? Any ideas, theories? 

Note to readers: Our WRTs take place throughout the week, with deadlines being the day before this post goes live. At the time of writing these answers, no one has seen the first two episodes of WandaVision. For readers who have now seen it, enjoy our thoughts. For readers who have yet to see it, there are no spoilers ahead!

 I'm just hoping for something that's completely weird and wacky and refuses to play it safe.

JH: Not really sure I'll watch. Given my disappointment with The Mandalorian, I'm not automatically assuming it'll be great.

KM: I don’t have Disney, so no Wanda for me! From the commercials I’ve seen, though, I’m not sure I’d be into it, anyway.

JC: I expect it to be absolutely insane based on the trailer's I've seen. Other than that, I have very few expectations. I don't know much about the comics so I'm happy to be surprised.

ZF: I've never been more confused and simultaneously excited for a show. Bring on the weirdness!

That wraps up another round table! Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below. See you next week!

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