Are You Still Watching?

I’ve had Netflix for at least three years now – and for a man with a particular interest in television and how it’s made, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t spent nearly enough of that time actually watching it. Not even an international pandemic and the lockdowns therein have prompted me to get a move on, much to Louis’ chagrin. I should clarify that I’m not quite as uncultured as I must immediately look – there’s a lot of film and TV that I have seen. It’s just that much of what I haven’t seen happens to be well-known, including all the latest sensations on the streaming service. For a long time, I could never be quite sure why. It would be oh-so-easy to for me to sit back and press play, so why hadn’t I?

The answer recently hit me when I least expected it. Having finished the latest series of Formula 1: Drive to Survive, I was staring forlornly at the long watch list Louis had compiled for me, comprised of all the things he’d been insisting I devour for goodness knows how long. All things I’d probably enjoy, as countless millions of others had, but just had no motivation to start myself. Most of the things I had watched were either old favourites I’d seen several times, or newcomers not featured on the list. And why? Because I felt no pressure to watch them – they hadn’t been sat there glaring at me with the weight of expectation behind them, I’d simply found and appreciated them of my own accord.

That’s exactly where I think my problem lies. It seems that in 2021, there’s something new we should all be getting our teeth into almost every week – and that if you haven’t watched that film or binged ten episodes of that hot new series, then you’re lagging behind everyone else, out of the loop. There’s suddenly a plethora of pop culture references that will be lost on you if you’re not immediately in the know, and that’s a pretty daunting prospect, at least for me. It’s where the aforementioned pressure comes from, and it’s not much fun at all. Realising what’s been putting me off, though, has given me the perfect approach going forward. If I’m to get the best out of Netflix, I just have to take it at my own pace – even if that means having to put up with more of Louis’ incessant badgering as I prioritise what I want to see, rather than what I feel I need to. He’ll just have to wait a little longer for me to get to Stranger Things.

Mason

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