Binge-Watching - A 21st Century Phenomena
I'm too much of a YouTube addict to watch much TV anymore. TV with the family every evening used to be a ritual that the computer has broken for me. We do still watch some stuff, but mostly our few regular documentaries and my brother and I enjoy a bit of Sci-Fi (Dad doesn't!). We have Amazon Prime and I'm happy to download anything else if I see something of interest.
I've also never understood the need to binge-watch anything until recently. I know it's not a new thing, but I have always preferred to take my time and draw out the pleasure episode by episode. I first changed my mind about that when the "Wheel of Time" finally came out on Amazon over the Christmas break, watching the whole first season in just three days and finding I enjoyed it immensely because I kept in the flow of the story.
There are many detractors - mostly die-hard fans of the original books who will never accept a bit of a change to their beloved story - but I really enjoyed this first series and look forward to the second and beyond.
In the last two weeks, however, I found myself watching a complete series binge-style, and then having to watch it again just a few days later. When you watch four hours of TV, twice, download the soundtrack playlist and watch all the YouTube interviews of the cast and crew, then I guess that borders on obsession, but sometimes - very rarely - a show comes along that is so profoundly perfect and thought provoking in so many ways that it just resonates.
Ok, I found out about it by chance, just because Joe Locke is from the Isle of Man and it made the local news websites that I do kind of keep up-to-date with. It isn't something that would otherwise have been on my radar, as I'm not really the target audience - forty years too old! So, on a quiet weekend with no work - for a change - I decided to watch Heartstopper.
I don't want to gloss over the reviews and reception of the show - it has almost universal positive reviews and audience reaction has been perhaps the best Netflix have ever had for a show. I know many will feel that that's not saying much!
Heartstopper is absolutely the best TV show I've ever watched. Everyone - regardless of age or orientation should watch it and have their hearts warmed - and maybe stopped a few times too.
It really is so refreshing to have a light-hearted drama that is so totally warm and approachable for a change. The angst is minimal and the feel-good factor of a happy ending is just wonderful.
And, getting to the point at last, it really does make one think. What would my world and my life have been like if things were like they are now forty years ago when I was a Teen. I come from a different time - a time that now seems so different that it must be another world. A time without acceptance, without inclusion and for many, a time without hope. A time when you wouldn't even dare think that you might be LGBTQ+, let alone talk to someone about it.
Our western world is almost there. We have a dream of inclusion and an end to discrimination that is, very nearly for most people, a reality. Of course, there will always be people who simply cannot accept that others may be different, but that will always be the case anywhere.
Sadly, some of my favourite places in the world are almost polar opposites, countries where tribalism, evangelical religions (many of them) and sexuality all come into constant conflict that borders on the truly dangerous. It doesn't mean you don't feel welcome, just that you keep looking over your shoulder!
In the far-flung corners of the world, time moves more slowly than it seems to move at home. But, times do change and perhaps shows like this can help some places to move in the right direction.
What Could Have Been?
So, would my life have been different? Probably not much when all is said and done. I'd still be as shy and anxious either way, so I'd probably still be doing what I'm doing right now, sitting in front of a screen and dreaming of what could have been - if only things had been different.