That debate from the comments of the UKTV Play Agenda article

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    Should streaming services dump whole seasons onto their platforms at a time? Was the old way of having to wait a week between broadcasts better?



    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    A little from Column A, a little from Column B. It’s a boring answer, but I think it’s case-by-case. It sometimes makes it tricky to discuss shows with other people, but for some things it’s a very handy way of fitting shows around busy times.



    I have to say I’ve been extremely grateful when things such as Upstart Crow, The Trip To Spain, Car Share etc have gone up on demand all at once Netflix-style. As much as I respect linear broadcasting, releasing series all at once, particularly scripted comedies, makes it much easier for me to fit shows I like into what little leisure time I get in a way that I can get the most out of them. At least the loss of the communal viewing experience is compensated with convenience and the opportunity to really focus on a show for a day or three.

    UKTV Play’s model seems to be the worst of both worlds.


    Pete Part Three

    Personally, I don’t much like the idea of dropping the entire series at once. I staggered The Trip to Spain, Black Mirror 3, Stranger Things and Mid-Morning Matters 2 by my own volition and ended up watching them all, practically weekly. Binge watching isn’t really my thing though (even on re-watching). Decently scripted TV needs a bit of time to digest. Watching six in a row will ensure they blur into one, and something you’ve waited a year or more for, is done and dusted in a few hours

    (Even at the height of my obsession with Red Dwarf in the repeat run of 1994, I’d be buying the official VHS tapes as the repeats continued, but very rarely skipping ahead from where BBC2 was at, and seldom watching more than one “new” episode per week)

    It’s odd that we’ve reached the stage of technology where an entire series is dumped out…but at the same time, we have social media. Twitter etc is *perfect* for a communal viewing experience of a live broadcast, but considerably less so at shielding you from spoilers when the audience is splintered.


    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    There’s a show I’m working on at the moment that had the full series released on demand on the same day that the first episode aired on TV. That first episode had loads of activity on Twitter around the show, before during and after the broadcast, all very positive. Second week – significantly less activity. Third week – a handful of people. Fourth week – hardly anything. Most people who watched the first episode on TV and liked it went ahead and binged it. There’s still a lot of conversation around the show on social media throughout the week, but it’s people talking about it in isolation – you don’t get that one time per week where everyone’s together, talking about the same things.

    Not saying it’s better or worse, but it’s a very different experience.



    From a marketing/awareness point of view, it does feel like you get a big concentrated burst of attention with the binge/dump model when the series first drops, but the trade-off is that the interest quickly dies off within days or maybe a week or two.

    Compare that to something like Game Of Thrones which has a pretty high level of awareness throughout the broadcast of the series as the new episodes are released weekly.



    Personally I don’t really have time to binge-watch a series in a single day, but I do quite like the ‘dump’ model because it means I can maybe fit in two or three episodes a week rather than just one.

    It’s definitely detrimental to online discussion though, as everyone watches at different paces.



    I’d say that that blurring of episodes is the biggest issue with binge watching. About the only show I’ve ever watched in that manner (for the first time, I’ve binged repeats but that’s different) was Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Just looking back there are 13 episodes in the first season. I absolutely couldn’t tell you more than a handful of plot points they covered.

    But then again, if it had only been on TV I probably wouldn’t have watched it at all. So there’s that.



    I grew up almost exclusively on VHS tapes and DVDs, and have almost never watched a show on broadcast as it was coming out. Which means that watching all of the episodes at once (or at least having full control of when I do watch them) is the norm for me. I do still have a communal viewing experience though because I almost exclusively watch television with a family member to bounce my thoughts with. I never watch alone.

    The most noteworthy thing this has produced though is that I next to never watch new television and spend most of my time with older shows. I would much rather go back to watch a well regarded or significant series from the past that has slipped me by than try and follow the latest buzz that is going around on Twitter or whatever.



    It is fair to say that the notion of on-demand services releasing whole runs of shows at once was in response to viewers already doing it with DVDs, rather than an idea that was imposed upon us.

    I frequently record whole runs of shows off-air on series link and watch them all when the series has completed, as a sort of retroactive version of the Netflix system. Can’t just be me that does that.


    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    Oh yeah, we’ve got several full series of things on our Sky+ box. We’ll get round to them eventually.



    I’m the same. I prefer to watch things at the pace that I choose, so unless it’s something where I’m desperate to see the show as soon as it comes out, it’s easier to wait until a season ends.



    I suppose the killer question is, if it were a choice only between the current staggered UKTV Play system or the whole box set being released on week 1 (both options also including the standard TX as planned), which would folks prefer for Dwarf? In a way a binge release would make communal viewing *easier*. It would become an event, rather than something which mostly happens at random times when you’re at work anyway.


    pi r squared

    Red Dwarf is the only show I engage in any form of online discussion about. I may occasionally read reviews or have a look at forums to see what people thought of a particular episode of another show, but here is the only place I ever post an opinion or discuss a show online. So for me, spaffing all episodes onto an on-demand service in one go is perfect, because as others have said here it means I have complete control over when I watch them – six in one go, one a day, one a week, I control.

    But for Red Dwarf I *want* to be waiting a week, and having the discussion and the anticipation and the community spirit that comes with all watching on the same day (preferably at the same time, but I didn’t feel it was a massive hindrance last year with people joining the Let’s Talk About… threads as and when they had watched). I would definitely not be keen for all six episodes to go up in one hit.


    International Debris

    I find binge watching works incredibly well for drama with an arc, which is obviously designed to tell one story. For standalone stuff I tend to find I get tired of the same thing after two or three episodes. Equally, with comedy, three hours can sometimes be a bit long for something new, and I tend to laugh less by the end purely because I’m oversaturated.

    As with pi r squared above, I don’t take part in much discussion online of new stuff – I’m a regular in the Doctor Who threads over on Cookdandbombd, but even then I avoid the new series thread when it’s airing as I only really enjoy discussing stuff in depth once I’m fairly familiar with it myself (hence my avoiding every XII-related thread here at the minute) – so Twitter reactions and stuff isn’t anything that I even take into consideration.

    This year there have been a fair few series that I’ve watched as they’ve come along – Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks so far, with Red Dwarf, The Walking Dead and Stranger Things on their way – which is probably the most I’ve followed contemporary TV for years. I’ve spent such a long time catching up on the past 50+ years of TV that I fell totally out of touch with what was current. So watching one episode a week actually feels quite strange to me.



    I’m REALLY glad Dwarf won’t be ‘binge’-released. Each episode deserves it’s own individual attention, and several viewings without the others getting in the way.

    In fact, I don’t like the idea full stop. Whether it’s Netflix shows or otherwise. You simply don’t appreciate a show enough, or the ‘experience’ surrounding the show, if you binge the whole thing over a day or two.



    But aren’t you still free to do that if you choose with the ‘dump’ model? No-one’s forcing you to binge it.


    Pete Part Three

    Kinda makes a mockery of being worried about the studio audience leaking spoilers in the months leading up to release/broadcast.



    By that argument you might also argue for it never to be on TV. The anti-spoiler warnings, as with most things, are not particularly about preserving the virginity of the viewer’s experience, but mostly about maximising the marketing and the scheduling of the pre-publicity reveals. Which is fine and fair, but as a viewer I’m not really morally obliged to stay in synch. Because really, seeing a picture of ****** in Cured in the Radio Times a week before it’s on is no different to someone revealing it the night of the recording, so how is legally seeing it before the linear TX six weeks early instead of one week early damaging the integrity? Actual plot twists and deliberate shock surprises, yes, but how many of those are actually in Red Dwarf?

    Back on topic, I find I give things *more* attention and respect when I watch them in a big clump as it allows me to really focus on them and tune into their wavelength with no other shows vying for competition in my headspace. A hearty meal rather than six quick snacks. It’s not about entitlement, or greed, or a lack of patience (as I said I can just as easily do it after the fact – the last series of Doctor Who I watched as a box set the week leading up to the finale), it’s about really letting a show burn brightly and intensely.


    Pete Part Three

    >mostly about maximising the marketing and the scheduling of the pre-publicity reveals.

    That may be the truth, but that’s never the reasoning that’s given by the people who urge you not to spoil anything.



    Because really, seeing a picture of ****** in Cured in the Radio Times a week before it’s on is no different to someone revealing it the night of the recording

    I think it’s quite different, from both the perspective of the people who make and publicise the show (who presumably picked out that image for publication ahead of broadcast), and for the people who watch the show (for whom a picture like that whets the appetite a week ahead of broadcast in a way that a leaked reveal doesn’t a year and a half ahead of broadcast).


    Ben Saunders

    I binge-watch quite a lot. It’s very popular amongst the yung ‘uns. I watched all of American Dad several episodes per day one summer (when there were only five seasons), I stormed through all of Peep Show in a month or so, watched an insane amount of Bruiser/Mitchell and Webb Situation/Look/Would I Lie To You one year (it was non-stop) and with the exception of Twentica, which I watched when it dropped on UKTV Play, I watched all of XI an episode per day.

    When I was younger I had all of the Red Dwarf series on VHS, and I’d often watch an entire series in a day. Our IV VHS is seriously warped and plays in slow-motion now. VI is suffering some wear, too.


    Ben Saunders

    Watching episodes on broadcast is a great communal experience for us old-timers, a special feeling I agree, but modern audiences are very much likely to bing-watch, and many people love to do so/love ot have the option to do so, so any broadcaster that wants to appear modern and with it should be seriously considering it.

    I like one-per-week for Dwarf, and I’d prefer if we all got to watch/discuss is together, but hey ho, here’s to the future.


    International Debris

    My dad and I once watched all four series + 2 specials of Blackadder in a day once. It was a marvellous day, it has to be said.



    Our IV VHS is seriously warped and plays in slow-motion now.

    I bet that adds an extra dimension to White Hole.


    Ben Saunders

    >I bet that adds an extra dimension to White Hole
    Yes, it now takes a full three weeks for Fat Kryten to finish a sentence.

    It also means we now see three dimensions in Dimension Jump.


    International Debris

    You should get Jawscvmcdia to combine them into one for you.



    There does certainly seem to be an element of culture clash here, with your opinion on this largely depending on what you were brought up to expect.


    Ben Saunders

    It’s a debate between Old Farts and Kids These Days.



    I first saw I-III over VHSes each,* and IV-VI through UK Gold’s marathons.**

    I appreciate the show enough.

    *Except for The End on Red Dwarf night
    **Except for Quarantine, which left out of the run, and Gunmen of the Apocalype on Red Dwarf night(?)



    *TWO VHSes even



    *was left even

    I do not appreciate English, Maths or Cappsy.



    >My dad and I once watched all four series + 2 specials of Blackadder in a day once

    Great grammar. Was she there with you?


    Pete Part Three

    My Grandmother once listened to the Red Dwarf “radio show” which BBC World were playing. This was her only exposure to Red Dwarf and she delighted in telling the 14 year old me that she thought it was rubbish.

    She’s dead now, so that’s some comfort.


    International Debris

    >My dad and I once watched all four series + 2 specials of Blackadder in a day once

    Great grammar. Was she there with you?

    I should have included one more ‘once’, then I could have at least combined them into one.



    I do not appreciate English, Maths or Cappsy.

    Why did you combine three things you don’t appreciate into one though?



    Can we just have it on record that the following things happened:
    1. UKTV Play in Ireland put Timewave up 24 hours early by mistake Krysis-style (since withdrawn)
    2. An Irish fan, completely unaware that it was early, enthusiastically tweeted Doug that he loved the episode. Doug retweeted this.
    3. A slight shitstorm occurred which culminated in Linda Glover getting shirty with said fan for posting “spoilers”.
    4. The fan explained that all he had mentioned was on TOS anyway.
    5. Linda Glover has not apologised.

    Once again, let us add that although virtually every surprise in XI and XII has been spoiled in advance so far, NONE of this has come through the fanbase, it’s all come from GNP employees, journalists or incompetent web engineers. Yet what we have here is a GNP representative getting pissed off that SOMEONE WATCHED AN EPISODE LEGIMATELY ON TV.



    Apparently it was Virgin Ireland that put the episode up early.




    I do believe this is a strong candidate fir scandal of the year.


    Pete Part Three

    6. To prevent further spoilers, Timewave will be locked in a vault and never broadcast.



    Nice one Darrell, so the episode about criticism before it’s scheduled online preview, has been previewed ahead of its preview and praised.

    The praiser has had his praise shared, and someone has criticised them for even watching it, and then weve critised the people who preview previewed it by mistake and now we are criticising the criticising woman for criticising the watcher and not saying sorry because she shouldnt have criticised him?

    And all this criticism of watching the crit-cop one has happened because an episode called TIME wave was early?

    My irony circuits are melting.



    So how long will it take for this thread to get nominated for hall of fame status? I think I’ve used up all my yearly nominations.



    Fun list of things that fans didn’t do but industry professionals did:
    – Reveal Norman Lovett was coming back (Ed Moore, Norman Lovett repeatedly)
    – Go on Richard Herring’s podcast and say the Polymorph was coming back (Ray Peacock)
    – Leak picture of main cast as Krytens (Robert Llewellyn)
    – Leak the series XI synopsis and titles early (UKTV)
    – Leak Krysis early (UKTV Play)
    – Leak Timewave early (Virgin Ireland)
    – Leak the series XI DVD extras early (BBC Worldwide)
    – Leak the series XII episode titles early on steelbook (BBC Worldwide)

    Supplementary fun list of spoilers and surprises that audience members were told not to reveal (and didn’t) but were released officially before broadcast anyway:
    – Rimmer barbershop quartet
    – Presence of another mech and Nova 3 in Krysis
    – Name of Asclepius
    – Presence of James Buckley & Johnny Vegas
    – Series 1 flashbacks/recreations in Skipper
    – Additional guest star in Skipper

    Second supplementary, funnest list of all of things fans have had to grin and bear this ‘block’:
    – Horrendous service from overpriced merchandise store with serious stocking problems
    – Fans paying £20+ for Haynes RD T-shirt only to find that others had got it for £5 due to badly coded website, and this window of humiliation lasting about a month
    – UKTV Play release system segregating fanbase sometimes two episodes apart, with no HD option on website version
    – No proper international distribution put in place for series XI
    – Red Dwarf XI The Game being halved in price shortly after release, then development abandoned two thirds the way through
    – Spending £40 on soundtrack albums only for them to turn up on Google Play the week after at a tiny fraction of that
    – Cut-down DVD extras with no commentaries at all
    – Waiting in vain all day with no announcement for Siliconia to turn up close to 11pm
    – Dealing with everything in the previous two lists because we were told early on by GNP that spoilers would ruin the episodes for us.

    Us bastard fans, eh? We ruin everything.


    Pete Part Three

    >Go on Richard Herring’s podcast and say the Polymorph was coming back (Ray Peacock)

    Mmm. Not totally sure about this one. From my recollection, Ray expressed amazement that certain members of the audience didn’t know what a polymorph was. I don’t think it was explicitly stated that the polymorph featured in the episode that was being recorded at the time.



    He said he needed to explain to the audience what a Polymorph was. Out of all the perpetrators above, Ray (a genuinely lovely bloke who I’ve seen live more than once) is definitely the least of them. But he did spoil the twist in Can Of Worms.


    Taiwan Tony

    That fan on Twitter ‘liked’ the rather sniffy tweet he received from Linda Glover. I think he might be the nicest person in the world.


    Taiwan Tony

    I don’t think its twist being spoiled was Can Of Worms’s biggest problem.


    Pete Part Three

    >He said he needed to explain to the audience what a Polymorph was.

    Yeah, but Ray is also prone to doing quizzes during recordings and discussing various geeky things. The term could just have easily popped up in conversation about the show with less-informed members of the audience, rather than directly as a result of what was happening. I appreciate that it *obviously* came from what was being recorded and Ray was slightly careless (so it belongs on your, very concise, list), but I don’t think it was a clear declaration that the “Polymorph was coming back”.

    (I listened to that podcast long before Can of Worms aired, and remember that comment…but genuinely didn’t assume/remember a Polymoroh would pop up in Series XI by the time it arrived)



    The shots in the title sequence of the Cat exploding into green blood and Lister wrestling with a pineapple in conjunction with the memory of the podcast were what did it, IIRC.



    Also worth remembering that the Radio Times felt the need to spoil twists in Samsara, Give and Take and Can of Worms (in the last one completely blowing the whole plot) for no reason whatsoever as part of ‘previews’ in which they literally just typed out a summary of the plot. Their previews for XII have been much lighter on detail so I wonder if someone had a word.

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