We’re in the age where content consumption has never seemed more voracious. A recent study showed that when The Youths sit down to binge, they’re averaging about six episodes in one go. For many, this is the future of watching narrative television, but for others, they see an erosion of tradition, and a rollback from a time when everyone collectively experienced each episode of a series together… and then waited a week for the next one.
Joss Whedon recently shared his concerns about binge-watching, featuring that “the all-access all the time” culture makes watching television more “lifestyle instead of experience.” And he’s found an ally in fellow colleague Damon Lindelof, who will soon be putting the final season of “The Leftovers” out in the world.
Select press have already received first seven of the total episodes of the upcoming third season, and while Lindelof states his belief that “bingeing is bad,” he’s more concerned about spoilers. And in a letter to critics, he amusingly (but also seriously) asks them to refrain from giving away the goods. Here’s what he wrote:
Dear Critical Community,
G’day! Welcome to the third and final season of THE LEFTOVERS. On behalf of our entire team, I just wanted to say one thing before you embark on the journey.
Bingeing is bad.
I am old school. And not just because I agree with Joss Whedon about everything. Never before in the history of the English language has “binge” been associated with something healthy or productive. Just because there is an entire can of Pringles in front of you does not mean you should eat them all in one sitting. Every time I have done this, I feel sad and guilty, and then mad at The Pringles Corporation. Which is probably not even a thing. But I also must acknowledge times have changed. I must acknowledge there is not just too much television, but too much good television (“Fleek TV?”) and in order to make any kind of dent, we folks who produce it have to get out of our rocking chairs and get hip to the times. Which probably includes not ever saying “hip” again. Anyhoo…
We’re providing you with seven of our eight episodes. Watch them however you see fit. Review them however you see fit. It’s not my place to suggest how to do your jobs. I’d rather you not spoil some stuff, but I ultimately think it’s ridiculous to list that stuff, as it would seem completely arbitrary. All I ask is that if you were surprised by something that happens on the show (either positively or negatively), it would be cool to maintain that same surprise for the audience. For example, when Liv Tyler shoots lasers out of her eyes in Episode 4, we want that to be as shocking for them as it was for you.
Liv Tyler does not shoot lasers out of her eyes in Episode 4.
It’s Episode 6, actually.
But aren’t you bummed that I told you?
You get it. You’re pros. The point is, I’ve never sent out this many episodes in advance and I feel scared and I am trying to mitigate that fear by controlling things, but the way I’m controlling them is by trying to convince you that I’m okay with not controlling them. I also ate an entire can of Pringles last night while watching the entire first season of FLEABAG until three in the morning, so y’know, hypocrite.
One last thing. Please do not reveal the year this season takes place nor the new architectural design of STERLING, COOPER, PRYCE, GARVEY & JAMISON.
Funny stuff from a guy who is clearly excited and a little nervous to get “The Leftovers” out there. The series returns (for the last time) on April 16th on HBO.