Friday, 13 May 2016

My mate Stan

As a long time subscriber to Australia's main pay television service I assumed that I would not be seduced by the various streaming services that have entered the Australian market in the past twelve months or so.

In my view I was already paying well over the odds for access to dozens and dozens of channels many showing no programs of interest to me or else showing programs repeated ad nauseum.

I would read about people who binge watched entire series of long running shows and I wondered who in their right mind would spend their time doing that.

Then along came Netflix and its initial program in Australia included first run of the American series 'House of Cards'; a series which until then had been exclusive to the pay service and a series to which I had become addicted.

So, I weakened my resolve and signed on to Netflix. The entire collection of episodes of Series 3 was released in one go and I was hooked into binge watching it. Like my pay service this streaming service had some programs that I liked and many more of little or no interest. Practising shrewd 'drip water torture' strategy the streaming service introduced new series and programs at a regular rate and occasionally one or two of them would engage my interest.

Having signed on to Netflix I was fairly sure I would not be tempted by other streaming services but then I was intrigued by advertising for '11.22.63' and 'Billions' screening on the Australian streaming service curiously named Stan and once again I couldn't resist.

Through Stan I was exposed to the television series 'The West Wing' (1999-2006). I never watched this series during its original release. I don't why. It was highly regarded and very popular here, yet I never saw even one of it's 154 episodes. Boy have I made up for it now. Binge watching? I sure have been.

What is it about The West Wing? Yes, the technology looks a bit quaint ten and more years later. Yes, the idealism seems naive at times. Yes, the politics and strategies are brutal at times. Yes, some of the episodes are just a little too clever by half. Yes, it is often parochial. Nevertheless I love it and at a time when actual American politics, 2016 style, leaves us bemused, this historical display of that country's political system is proving quite educative.

Thanks to my new mate Stan I now have an understanding of the attractions of binge viewing. It just has to be the right program. I am 128 episodes into it. Just 26 episodes to go.


  1. We tried to sign up for Stan, free for six months because of my newspaper subscription, and it wouldn't work, so we just did not pursue it. With friends, I binged watched Jewel in Crown in the 1980s, all in one night until it was daylight. Never say never, but it is unlikely I will binge watch anything again. I did try to watch West Wing when it was on but it didn't grab me.

    1. I wouldn't have felt bad about binge viewing if the weather had been wintery and unpleasant but Sydney is in the midst of a seemingly unending Indian summer. I feel guilty spending so much time watching television but I've been addicted to several series.

  2. Binge viewing is the way to go...but bad for sleep.

    1. I wouldn't have imagined this last year but several series have proved irresistible to me.