It’s been nearly a fortnight since all 13 episodes of Netflix’s original series “House of Cards” premiered online. And while media has openly discussed and reviewed the pilot and opening episodes, we haven’t heard much about the later episodes yet, even though some have already finished the series.
Certainly, the first episode is open for discussion right after the premiere, but Netflix has in itself caused a slight conundrum in the television-consumption universe. How do you talk about a show when you’re not sure how much of it anyone has viewed?
Is episode 11 taboo to discuss after day one of the series rollout? (Unless you’re sick or staying at home with a case of the Netflix binge, we think so.) But, how about after day three or four? How about a week?
Looking ahead, when will it be OK for media to discuss the season one finale openly? (IGN has already dissected the entire series.)
Not only has the political drama flipped the TV model on its head by releasing episodes in bulk, but at the same time it has limited the number of discussions that would normally come from outlets about a 13-episode television show’s continuous plot.
During AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media conference discussion with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos yesterday, this very issue was became a topic of discussion.
It was suggested the 13-episode rollout not only prevents people from discussing singular episodes after consumption, but also speculation about what may come next in the storyline.
However, Sarandos says the problem isn’t that people aren’t talking about the drama. Rather, he claims people are discussing the show constantly and that conversation’s growing every day.
“We’re not trying to dismantle or destroy television,” says Sarandos. “We’re trying to evolve television in a way that consumers really want.”
Photo: Netflix screencap
Instead, Sarandos suggests “House of Cards” is starting a new style of Watercooler conversation with different rules.
“The rules are on spoiler alert. The thing you talk about, some of it is what episode are you on,” says Sarandos. “If I’m on eight and you’re on four. You and I talk about four, but I know not to talk about five.”
There’s only one problem with this logic.
The ability to recall what occurs on one single episode and then retain that in a catalogued folder to recall at any given moment is asking a lot of a typical viewer.
If you asked someone right now what happened on season 5 episode 11 of “How I Met Your Mother” we highly doubt you could tell us the episode storyline off the top of your head. (For those wondering, the episode followed Robin and Marshall smoking their last cigarettes.)
We asked the Business Insider newsroom what episode they’re currently on (if they’re watching at all).
Some have already finished the series, and the majority haven’t been vexed or frustrated in the least when trying to discuss the show with others.
What we found is that people are just waiting for others to catch up to where they are or finish viewing the series before beginning discussions.
- “I’m on episode four. Not a huge problem though, if it comes up I just tell them that.” — reporter Max Nisen
- “I find that I talk about it and consume it like a movie rather than a TV show.” — reporter Tony Manfred
- “I finished it in a week. I don’t find it hard to talk about because most of my friends are pretty far or have seen the whole thing too. For friends hadn’t watched it yet, I just would re watch from the beginning with them.” — reporter Kevin Smith
- “Finished it. It was kind of annoying having to remember what to not spoil.” — Walter Hickey
Of course, this doesn’t solve the issue for entertainment writers who may not be sure when the right time is to discuss the season finale; however, it does demonstrate that Sarandos has a point — the series is altering the way we discuss a show.
Ultimately, the way that may be best to treat something like “House of Cards” original series, and its impending rollout of “Arrested Development” come March is as a movie to discuss once before and after users are finished viewing.
Watch Sarandos discussing “House of Cards” at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media below:
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