What about the ability to watch TV quickly in this online age? Do you watch TV series straight through, or take your time?A fine question, and a fitting one - Netflix's plan for their original content (e.g., House of Cards) is to make the entire season available at once, and my roommate is an Arrested Development fan who is going to burn through all the new eps this weekend. However, these days, you didn't have to spend 60 minutes in front of the tube for seven years to catch 45 minutes of Lost every week. I've tried both styles, and I'm sure these differing options must have an impact on the experience.
On the one hand, a great deal of anticipation gets to build up through the old viewing model. Show writers can build great suspense for the audience right before the act breaks, as well as tension for the next installment at that episode's end. This sort of excitement is powerful and is part of what gets people talking and thinking about their favorite shows.
At the same time, some people are so curious, lack patience, or need downtime, that they would rather not wait at all. Some don't have VCRs or DVRs, and internet piracy (and overprotective industry practices) has pushed a lot of networks to stop airing re-runs. Others viewers simply have limited time and access to watch these long-form stories play out.
One peculiar thing about this, to me, is what these opportunities do to people as fans of a show. If you watch a show most every week for seven seasons, you really become attached to it. The difference in the investment of time is vast when you consider not only the advertisements we sit through, but the wait between individual episodes, as well as between the start of a season and its end (and the start of the next season).