Watching TV on demand is a vicious cycle

There is an unforseen and adverse side effect to whole-heartedly embracing the world of on demand, says Ellie Walker-Arnott


Watching telly on demand is brilliant.


No longer do we have to organise our social lives around programmes we want to watch – or battle with our PVR boxes, which inevitably end up cutting those final vital moments off anyway.

It’s the holy grail for those of us who never grasped the concept of delayed gratification. We get to watch what we want, when we want – think Downton Abbey is a Sunday night period drama? Pah! I watch it on a Tuesday morning – and for as long as we want.

And if ‘as long as we want’ is an entire Sunday dedicated to Breaking Bad, then fine. Netflix is not here to judge us.

But what I’ve come to realise is this… the on demand revolution? It’s not all good. There is an unforeseen and adverse side effect to whole-heartedly embracing the world of Blinkbox, Amazon Prime Instant Video and co.

It’s made me completely and utterly out of kilter with real-time telly.

The problem is it’s all there on demand – Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Killing, Homeland, 24, Borgen, Mad Men, The Bridge… Almost every programme you meant to watch but didn’t have time to (or your PVR inexplicably deleted.) Even those shows you didn’t realise were going to be a REALLY big deal until you were already too late to the party.

It’s not just critically acclaimed dramas either. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a little bit addicted to Dawson’s Creek. I’ve watched every single episode of Gossip Girl and for some strange reason I’ve decided now is the ideal time to get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My new found knowledge of Sunnydale is sure to come in handy any day now.

But watching VOD is a vicious cycle. There I am ploughing through series one of The Good Wife, coveting Sarah Lund’s jumper and crying when Ned Stark looses his head, and rest of the world have moved on. In some cases, actual decades ago.

And while I’m engrossed in the brilliant (or, you know, at least entertaining) telly of yesteryear, I’m missing great shows like Line of Duty, Educating Yorkshire, The Fall and The Returned. Brilliant telly, that in a few years time I’ll probably start watching on demand.

I am destined never to catch up. I’m like a hamster caught in a wheel. Accept I imagine watching Netflix in my pyjamas is much more enjoyable.

Honestly. Just give me a couple of months and I’ll be hanging around the hypothetical water cooler waiting to discuss who killed Danny Latimer…