My husband and I rarely argue. But we came close the time I forgot to cancel our Neon subscription when we had already moved onto Netflix.
If anything were to cause friction in our relationship, paying for dormant streaming services may be what does it.
Our viewing method is sometimes complicated and a little frustrating. But it saves money and confusion, and for us, it works.
We are the ultimate binge watchers.
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We only sign up for one service at a time, based on whatever we want to watch at the time. From that point we have a month to binge as much as we want from that particular service, until our (then cancelled) subscription ends.
At which point we move on and repeat the process.
Sure, our foolproof method is not entirely foolproof. We have been caught out a few times. If we discover a new show towards the end of the month we often have just days to get through an entire season. It is not an easy task when we both work full time. But what are weekends for if not for refusing to leave the couch except for snacks?
It is an issue that does result in weekends spent watching countless episodes of a show that needs to be finished within a couple of days.
We emerge days later, tired and a little bleary-eyed. More often than not, by the final episode we are more than a little bored by a show that, just days earlier had us on the edge of our seats.
It can also leave us towards the end of the month with nothing to watch, with no choice but to browse aimlessly looking for something to hold our attention for a while until we sign up for a different service. It is how, earlier this year, we found ourselves watching the entire back catalogue of Friends – from the pilot episode to the finale – and how we re-watched the first three seasons of Orange is the New Black over ANZAC weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a multitude of new shows we really want to see.
They have to wait – it is not yet their month.
We forget about shows on our list of things we want to watch. I am quite sure I’ve missed far too many must-watch shows simply because we weren’t streaming that service at the time.
Perhaps we need to truly embrace our binge-watching TV scheduling with a colour-coded spreadsheet?
Sure, we could spend an extra $15 a month and pay for two services. It is something we have tried in the past. But ultimately we wind up with a neglected streaming service in favour of another, and one that gets overused.
We also get confused with having too many shows to watch. We got halfway through Succession before getting distracted by Billions. Halfway through that we were distracted by another show streaming on another service. We have yet to return to Billions or Succession (no spoilers please).
We need to watch a show in its entirety, or we get distracted by shinier things and never return.
Perhaps it says something about our attention spans, or lack thereof? Perhaps it says more about our complete inability to multitask when it comes to television viewing.
We are binge watchers before we are frugal watchers. It just so happens that, for us, the two go hand in hand.
This method of viewing does bring me to my biggest gripe with streaming services. That is, of course, weekly updated episodes.
Our Disney+ subscription ran out before the final episode of The Dropout was released. Without knowing for sure when our Disney+ month will come around again, I fear we may never be privy to how that elusive episode eight plays out.
But, missed finales and being behind the trend more times than we are ahead of it aside, it is a system that works for us. We are happy in our binge-heavy, not-remotely-varied, very predictable viewing.
As long as I don’t forget to cancel when the month ends.