Watching Television in the 21st Century: Catching Your Favorite Shows While in College



Daniel Wilson, Juan-Pablo Alba Dennis, and Anna Barbano
Danielle Villanella

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens once wrote about every new fall television lineup. Your favorite shows are back. Your old classics are now resting in peace (or working their way back from the dead, à la “Community” or “Arrested Development”). And a scary fleet of shiny new shows is here to tempt you into viewing. But, is start of the fall TV line-up really that big of a deal anymore? In the age of Netflix and Hulu, torrenting and iTunes, what does “tune in next week” even mean? Does anybody even watch TV anymore?

For Anitra Singh, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’15, the shows that debut during the fall are the cream of the crop. “My favorites include ‘Scandal,’ ‘The Mindy Project’ and ‘Once Upon A Time,’” she said. Although she enjoys keeping up with these programs weekly, Singh admits to also watching old favorites on everyone’s favorite procrastination platform: Netflix. “I haven’t been binge-watching anything lately, but over the summer, I watched a lot of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother.’” Interestingly enough, Netflix introduced her to the first couple seasons of “Scandal.” 

Danielle Villanella, FCLC ’15, is a fan of the current television season on an entirely different level. “I have a calendar. Since I watch about 10 shows, I have to write down all of the premiere dates.” She is most excited about the return of veteran favorites “Supernatural,” “Criminal Minds” and “Bones.” 

Anitra Singh

As tempting as it is, it would be unrealistic to say that college students always have the time to fit in watching television shows into their busy schedules. As Anna Barbano, FCLC ’17, puts it, “If it means that I have to stay up an extra 45 minutes to do my homework and then catch a bit of a show I’m watching, sleep takes the back seat.” Villanella also confessed to falling prey to the power of Netflix, having already watched all six seasons of “Lost” since this semester started. That’s roughly 5,040 hours spent on watching the series in the span of about a month. 

Daniel Wilson, FCLC ’17, happens to be in the rare category of those who practice self-control when it comes to watching television shows. “I’ve never been one to binge-watch,” he said. After witnessing a friend binge-watch all six season of “Breaking Bad” in one week, Wilson isn’t eager to do the same. Hadeer Ali, FCLC ’14, is also one to avoid such habits. “I don’t fall under that temptation anymore because I have a bad attention span,” she said.

One of the struggles that dedicated Netflix watchers face is the dilemma of how its Original Series are released. For example, shows like “Orange Is the New Black,” arguably the most popular of them all, release their episodes in seasonal bursts. Juan-Pablo Alba Dennis, FCLC ’17, has varying preferences on the matter. “I would rather have [episodes] all come out at once if I had the time to watch them. But I prefer their releases being delayed because that way, I don’t waste time,” he said.