Do you remember that phrase “I’ll marathon the series”? I’m not sure people still use that term today but it referred to a time when we had to wait each week for a new episode of our favorite show, then we'd compile all the episodes before watching them in one go.
Today, people just use the term binge-watching, and it is mostly thanks to the streaming giant we all love, Netflix. I won’t forget the first time I heard about Netflix. Before it came to the Philippines, a lot of people would come back from the US talking about it and would try to get a relative’s address abroad, a VPN, basically anything they could do just so they could access it here in the country. I have to admit, because of our slow Internet at the time I had my doubts and I really didn’t pay much attention to the conversations back then.
Jump forward years later to my first experience watching on the platform. I really have to thank the three shows in particular: Marvel's Daredevil, Friends, and Arrow. Most of us see reruns of Friends on TV but I was having the hardest time finding the complete series online. So when I found out it was on Netflix and played it for the first time, believe me, you have no idea how happy I was! 10 complete seasons with an autoplay feature on the app? Amazing.
And then there’s Daredevil, the show that brought new life to Marvel TV and series. Because of the quality of the series and how short it was, it led me to look for other shows like it. Last but not least: Arrow, one of the shows that brought in the new age of live-action superhero shows. Everyone remembers that scene where he is doing the Salmon-ladder, right? I swear, that show got so many people hooked on parkour and calisthenics.
Streaming is definitely the new norm, and I'm not alone on this addiction. I recently spoke to three personalities for their take on this as well as their history with streaming. Host and sportscaster Selina Dagdag shared to me her first experience with Netflix, the first thing she watched, and how did she got hooked.
“I went on Netflix because I was so thrilled when I found out some Disney classics were in it: Mulan, Lion King, Toy Story, just to name a few. It was a chance to relive some good childhood memories and I liked that idea," Sel shares. "While at it, I saw some pretty interesting titles, and got some great recommendations from my siblings and my friends. I’ve been an avid subscriber since then!"
Streaming is definitely the new norm for Selina, too. "Because it’s incredibly convenient! These days, people are always stuck in traffic, or loaded with work, or dealing with something that delays them. It’s not easy making it back home in time for the TV shows you’re currently obsessed with. Now, you get to watch the shows your following on your own time, without all the time pressures (or the commercial hassles) that the television experience brings."
As for her top picks to watch on Netflix? "Kim’s Convenience for the win! It’s episodes are short, light, funny, and family oriented. I always find myself in a great mood after watching an episode." Selina also recommends Suits as a series that that would you keep you glued on the screen. "It keeps you at the edge of your seat with all its drama and plot twists, while managing to be funny at the most perfect of times."
Blogger, traveler, and personality Arisse De Santos also shared her Netflix obsession with me. “I remember watching The Last Song on Netflix. The last time I watched it, I still had a DVD player and I always had to look for the DVD around the house!" says Arisse. "So I’m glad I do not have to deal with that and I can just choose whatever movie I’m in the mood for on the list. Now, I’m watching Dynasty and I’m updated every week because it’s immediately there!"
Arisse agrees that streaming is the new norm, "because you don’t have to be hassled going out to watch movies or even concerts." Now, people can experience it at the comfort of their homes and for a minimum subscription fee, you definitely get more than what you pay for. She also shares that her current Netflix addictions are Timeless, The Umbrella Academy, and Dynasty.
Joining in the binge-watching conversation is actor, athlete and host Eric Tai. "With the speed of technology including the fact that everything is at the tips of your fingers, streaming now is more accessible & convenient," he tells me, "All you need is data then you’re all good--marathon na 'yan kahit saan, kahit kailan."
The best thing Eric remembers first with Netflix is that it's fast. "No latency. No lag. So for me that was already a bonus," he adds. The first couple shows he got hooked on weren't the usual suspects, and he explains that what drew him to watching the shows were their storylines. His first binge-watching favorites are Better Call Saul, Designated Survivor, and Shooter.
Just from their answers of these three personalities, it's easy to say they're happy about Netflix, just like myself! First off, like what Sel said: it offers convenience. With everyone’s hectic and different schedules (and locations) plus different preferences, a streaming service now gives you the freedom to watch what you want, on your time. The days of having to rush home or taping your favorite shows are long gone. There’s also the charm of nostalgia -- how we can rewatch our old favorites and relive all the things we loved about different classic shows and films.
Which leads me to another important thing: variety! When it comes to variety, Netflix has this in spades. I mean, who here has also experienced being overwhelmed with all of the choices of content we can stream? With this, you can’t also deny the quality of content -- whether it is a niche, geeky show or a large scale movie, they do a great job screening and bringing in quality content. And of course, I have to give props to the ever-popular Netflix Originals. From collaborations with other creators and studios, to just simply producing their own content, the barrage of fresh documentaries, films, and series will definitely give you more than enough interesting things to watch.
It quite literally changed the game overnight, because just about everyone (even companies) who didn't have video streaming on their radars before have joined in.
I happily bid goodbye to ads and finding a video player that can adjust to my Internet speed, and say hello to spending weekends in, more storyline conversations with friends, and sleepless nights from nonstop streaming.
What's keeping me hooked on Netflix? Here are my top picks if you want to get your binge-watching started:
1. Friends: an all-time classic about friends growing up together in their 20’s and 30’s. From relationships to finding your passion, family problems, and eventually getting married, it is one of the most relatable shows of all time.
2. Dirty Money: From scandals, tax evasion, scams, to even a different take on the background of the rise and fall of some companies, this docu-series will keep you glued to your seat.
3. Billions: A hedge fund manager, lawyers, the DA’s office, a wife who is a psychiatrist, and not to mention a couple with kinky tendencies--believe me, if you liked Suits, you will love this more.
4. Icarus: an Academy Award-winning documentary of how an amateur cyclist, after the admission of Lance Armstrong’s doping, accidentally uncovered one of the biggest doping scandals which led to Russia being banned from the Olympics.
5. Love, Death, and Robots: As the title suggests, it's an anthology that is quite literally about those three things. For those who loved Black Mirror, prepare for a visual and storytelling masterpiece.