The moment you get on the internet, there is a lot of of streaming/OTT content about to get dumped in front of your eyeballs. The thing I like to call “streaming fog” is a real deal and I like to describe it as our struggle to find relevant content to watch.
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This is one big reason I dislike Netflix, which is now here with an Ads-powered subscription. It’s a big-ass streaming giant with tons of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. But I always end up wasting almost an hour to two, trying to find stuff to binge on the weekends. But there is another issue that goes along with the abundance of content: the need to follow its progress. And I’m not talking just about Netflix here.
The never-ending seasons
I have probably watched around 20-30 different TV series across various genres on different streaming services. Some of them have two or four seasons, while some last almost for a decade.
Now, for instance, you liked a new TV series and binged it with full interest. But what comes after that is another season. Imagine the situation where you watched 10 different shows, all equally good and interesting. But you’ll have to wait for 10 more seasons and invest your time in watching them.
In other words, you initially devoted around 100 hours to shows having 10 episodes each. Now, if each of them renews for a new season, you’ll have to take 100 more hours out of your life the following year. Not to mention the flood of spoilers on social media.
Some people might be okay with the idea of being a cult follower of TV shows. But for some, the wait is tiresome. And what if the ending of the show is bad or not up to expectations?
There have been several instances where I quit watching a TV show because new seasons took a considerable amount of time or the show got boring. I felt the latter in the case of CW’s superhero shows Arrow and Flash which ran for 8 seasons. It’s speculated that The Flash will finally end after season 9.
The limitless scope of Limited Series
There is one category that I think could become a wellspring of content for people who can’t wait. And it’s called Miniseries, or Limited Series as Netflix labels it. The streaming giant has over 40 miniseries on its platform to binge.
As per the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a limited series is “a program with two (2) or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tells a complete, non-recurring story, and does not have an on-going storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.”
The concept of Limited Series is evident from its name. You are watching something with a pre-decided future. You know you won’t be left hanging on a cliff until the next season arrives because there won’t be any. It’s like watching no strings attached content.
In one way, you can think of a miniseries as an extended movie. You are getting entertained for more than two hours, you are watching stuff in detail, and yet you don’t have to wait until eternity to see where the road goes.
Where can I watch miniseries on the internet?
Speaking of specific miniseries titles, the list of shows I liked includes Alias Grace, Collateral, and more. We also have Emmy nominees like The Queen’s Gambit. However, miniseries titles aren’t just limited to Netflix. You can find them on Prime Video as well, although, I couldn’t find any specific ‘miniseries’ section on its crappy UI.
You can find miniseries on other services like Disney+, which includes WandaVision, Hawkeye, Obi-Wan Kenobi, etc. Similarly, you can find a good collection of Limited Series on Hulu as well, including Pride and Prejudice, Fosse/Verdon, etc. The same goes for HBO miniseries, including Sharp Objects, Mare of Easttown, and Band of Brothers.
At the end of the day, a miniseries or limited series can easily leave the viewer satisfied. For instance, I felt it in the case of Alias Grace, it’s a six-part period drama based on Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel of the same name. The same can be said in the case of WandaVision, which rose up the popularity charts and won’t be renewed for another season.
A rare example I’d like to quote here is Black Mirror. It has 5 seasons, but all the episodes are unrelated, which means you can watch them in any order.
However, there might be exceptions where the creators might feel a need to explore more. For instance, the Hulu miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers is getting renewed for Season 2.
I also asked around to know what the preferences of other people were, and the result was what I was expecting. Many of them still want to go for regular TV shows.
Here we have two sub-categories: one where episodes are divided into seasons and another where episodes just keep flooding one after the other.
For instance, the popular Indian sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah has aired 3,500+ episodes since its inception in 2008. So, you can imagine its impact, and the show has almost become a routine for the viewers.
Why do creators focus more on long-run TV shows?
It could also be that a title becomes super popular among the viewers. Hence, the creators often explore multiple seasons to make more money from long-running franchises, and also save the effort of developing a new show from scratch.
The popularity allows them to develop a fandom, host events, and sell merchandise for recurring profits.
So, that’s all I had to share about limited series or miniseries, whatever you like to call it. If it was 2005, I wouldn’t mind watching a 10-season TV show all day. Maybe it isn’t a good thing entirely, but the content was less in quantity back then, and it was less accessible too.
Now, we have an abundance of content, and following something for years would only consume more of our time. But at the end of the day, the choice is up to the viewer. Go for it if you feel it’s worth it.