If you’re a fan of The Tick, you might have noticed that the first season of Amazon’s new series based on the hero has been split up into two parts, with six episodes up for streaming on Amazon Prime now and six more going up later this fall. Turns out, this was a judgment call by the show’s creators, and they had a good reason.
Talking to CinemaBlend, creator Ben Edlund and his executive producers revealed that they deliberately split up the season, deciding to air it in two six-episodes blocks, in order to push back against the viewership’s tendency to binge watch.
“The Binge Watching [sic] issue is... I see it as it’s a perfect dive from a high board, and there’s no splash,” Edlund told CB. “We’re all sort of veterans of the opposite of that. Fan energy wants to have a culture to express itself in. So if you split a season, and give a gap in-between, you get anticipation, you get people are able [to] talk about what happened.”
This isn’t exactly a new idea—if I recall, Hulu’s rationale for airing shows like The Path one episode at a time was similar—but it’s still really intriguing to me. I’m interested in the way delivery method and form shapes the way we receive a medium like television. Does watching a show in a staggered manner allow us to engage with it, to even enjoy it, more than watching it in one or two big clumps?
Edlund and co. seem to think so. And, certainly, times when I’ve waited week after week for episodes of a highly anticipated series to air have been memorable. But has my viewing experience been, on the whole, improved by that anticipation? I can’t really say for sure.
When the rest of Amazon’s The Tick goes up, it might make for a good thought experiment. Is this more enjoyable than it would’ve been a couple months ago? Do you feel more engaged?