When a TV Show Season is Released All at Once

You’ve probably heard, waited, and already watched the first half of Arrested Developments 4th season, which came out today on Netflix. Instead of being released one episode per week like a cable TV show, this season of Arrested Development was released all at once now that it’s a Netflix Original Series.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love being able to watch a TV show at my own pace. Waiting an entire week for less than an hour of entertainment can be hard, especially if it’s one of your favorite shows. This is one of the first years I’ve had to learn the art of TV patience (since becoming a diehard Game of Thrones fans after season 1). I never grew up with cable, still don’t have it, so I never had to wait week to week to watch TV. Instead I found shows I found interesting years after they were released, shows that everyone had already seen, and watch seasons and seasons back to back. I love not having to wait to watch, but being able to complete a season of TV as fast as I want.

But there are problems with a show that’s released all at once, like Arrested Development.  What’s the biggest issue? The spoilers. It’s not just on the internet, it’s within groups of friends, and while talking with co-workers. Anyone that’s a major fan of Arrested Development has probably already started watching the new season. And that’s great, good for them. But without even knowing it they are going to let some spoilers slip. Even if the spoilers I hear aren’t ground breaking, they’ll still have an effect on how I view the new season. “Yeah, the new season isn’t that great,” or “Did you see what happened to [insert character name here],” can totally change the season for me.

Of course, spoilers will pop up from any popular TV show. But if you hear a spoiler for one episode, it only shapes one week’s worth of entertainment, only a fraction of the entire season. Sure it sucks when an episode’s plot is ruined, but it’s 15 times worse when all 15 episodes are compromised.

This wasn’t a problem for other Netflix Original shows, like House of Cards. That’s because the show wasn’t popular when the first season was released all at once. It was the first season, and didn’t have a fan base yet. So when it came out I heard people give their opinions on the series (actually, here’s a link to Leviathyn’s thoughts on House of Cards), but not much more. I didn’t know characters names or the plot, so they couldn’t spoil anything for me.

That’s not the case with Arrested Development, which already has a large following. When I walk into work in an hour there will be a large number of co-workers that were up late last night watching the new season of Arrested Development. They’ll be discussing the show’s content, and without realizing it accidently leak spoilers to my Arrested Development 4th season virgin ears. I’m not the biggest Arrested Development fan, but I was looking forward to the 4th season. After today we’ll see if that’s still true!