Orange is the New Black’s Matt McGorry is not a fan of binge-watching

The OITNB actor, who plays Asher Millstone in US legal series How to Get Away with Murder, talks the challenges of making TV on demand

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Matt McGorry might star in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, one of telly’s most binge-watched shows, but he’s not a fan of TV marathons. 

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“I’m not really a binge watcher,” he tells us. “It’s the same thing with bingeing on anything. I’m loving a pint of ice-cream and then afterwards, you know, I want to take a nap and throw up on my pillow.

“I’m a very conscious television watcher,” he continues. “When I watch television I like to watch the acting and performances and try to learn from it. I know a lot of people who are sort of absent minded TV watchers – they’ll put it on in the background as they’re folding their laundry. I’ve always been someone that wants to be very specific about how I spend my time.” 

He thinks it’s “hard to say” if OITNB’s success is thanks to the fact each season is released in one big go – “There’s the excitement of this new way of watching television… [but] I think it would be enough to stand alone on its own” – and reckons both on demand and network TV come with “unique benefits as well as challenges.”

“Orange Is The New Black was my first show so I had this experience that was sort of atypical for television. I hadn’t had the network television experience before that,” he says.

With OITNB “no one really knew what it would be” so he had “no expectations” whereas McGorry had high hopes for HTGAWM, because it has the ShondaLand stamp of approval: “It’s a special place because there’s already a loyal fan base of people who were excited about the show from the very start.

“I liked that people could really devour [OITNB]. I think it made them feel so close to the characters because they would, you know, essentially spend a couple days totally immersed. But by the same token I think there’s something fun about seeing the response from people who watch in real-time,” he says.

“With HTGAWM you get to find out everyones theories and see their responses to specific episodes. I really enjoy social media and I think getting to do those live tweeting sessions you connect to the fans directly. It feels sort of similar to when I’ve done improv comedy or live sketch comedy. 

“That’s very gratifying. You need some sort of validation because that’s probably why we got into it in the first place!”

While there are clear differences between the two shows that gave McGorry his break, there are also similarities, he explains. “The common denominator between these two shows for me is the incredible diversity.”

“OITNB was created by Jenji Kohan, who’s a woman, and, even though HTGAWM was created by a man, it’s under the ShondaLand empire and we have a very strong female lead. As Viola [Davis] says, a dark skinned black woman doesn’t often get this role in television. I think that that is something that’s very ground-breaking.

“What I think is so important about what we do as a profession is that we can make a difference in the world and how people see things, their expectations and views on life. I think that this is a time where viewers want to see themselves reflected back at them.”

How To Get Away With Murder returns for a second season on Wednesday 28th October at 9pm on Universal Channel 

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Season one is available on Netflix from 22nd October. It’s also available on blinkbox, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video