If you were a 90s/2000s kid who enjoyed watching television when growing up, one of the most exciting moments to look forward to would be the announcement of “New episodes start airing (insert date and time)!” Between re-runs of older seasons and repeat broadcasts of shows that had finished airing, there would come a time of a few months when your favourite show’s latest season would air a new episode every week. In excitement, you’d come back from school in a hurry or wake up early on Sundays just to watch the newest episode when it aired for the first time.

Back then, the school’s timetable and your TV channel’s schedule were all the routines you had to keep track of. But with more commitments appearing with time, there came a time when you decided to be done with scheduled TV. And just then, Netflix showed up! Now, you could log on and watch whichever episode of whichever show whenever you wanted. Yours was the only schedule to keep track of. And the best part? You could fill in larger chunks of free time by watching multiple episodes in one go!

With the blissful relief that streaming brought, a lot of us were able to get back to being invested in TV again. Who doesn’t know the excitement of waiting an entire year for the release of the new season of their favourite Netflix show, which they will binge over the weekend to follow? There’s enough data to demonstrate that Netflix has had more subscriptions than any cable network ever did, and why would it not? It not only allows for binge-watching, but it comes with no schedule, and it houses so many different shows at the same time! But of course, corporate greed knows no bounds. As if people aren’t invested enough already, Netflix and its contemporaries now want us to watch seasons in parts.

Sure, being able to binge-watch entire seasons at once is a welcome break from the weekly airing, but both those approaches come with a sense of structure – you either show up once every week for an episode, or you seal off a large block of time from a day or two and watch every episode at once. But, what’s up with the two-part seasons? 13 Reasons Why aired 13 episodes at once for four consecutive years, and more recently, we will get just four episodes from Bridgerton after a two-year wait. No wait – short or long – justifies getting just four hours of content of a continuing story! The strategy of releasing seasons in parts is an insult to viewers’ investment in a show. People’s interests aren’t playthings to experiment with as studio executives wish!

There would be no entertainment industry without the investment of people looking to be entertained.

The popularity of streaming creates trends everywhere, the biggest proof of which is that there are so many major streaming platforms now, with HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix, among the more popular ones. So, while the half-season may have felt like a fun release every few months during the pandemic when we were all locked in and looking for things to watch, it sets a horrible precedent. Anime has almost always aired on a weekly basis and has barely ever been produced for straight-to-streaming purposes, with the notable exception of Netflix’s Demon Slayer. So, the fact that Attack on Titan aired its final season in two parts is proof that this is becoming a trend now. It can be attributed to the widespread popularity of the show in the US where the trend first showed up.

As much as there wouldn’t be shows without the hard work of crews who bring these stories to life, there would be no entertainment industry without the investment of people looking to be entertained. Studios should stop underestimating their audiences. Attention spans do vary across generations, but getting four hours of content after waiting two years is frustrating! If we could care about a show that aired twenty minutes every week for six months, before disappearing for another six, long enough to watch six or seven seasons of it, we can definitely wait long enough for you to prepare one season’s worth of content. Disney+ has brought back the weekly model for its MCU shows, and even that is more fun (eight episodes only require a couple of months to air) than watching seasons in parts. Stop toying with our investments in your stories, studios!

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