Michael Pelias and Peter Bratsis discuss Dennis Broe’s recent book “Birth of the Binge” in light of the massive increase in media consumption due to COVID19.
Birth of the Binge: Serial TV and the End of Leisure describes and details serial television and “binge watching,” the exceedingly popular form of contemporary television viewing that has come to dominance over the past decade. Author Dennis Broe looks at this practice of media consumption by suggesting that the history of seriality itself is a continual battleground between a more unified version of truth-telling and a more fractured form of diversion and addiction. Serial television is examined for the ways its elements (multiple characters, defined social location, and season and series arcs) are used alternately to illustrate a totality or to fragment social meaning. Broe follows his theoretical points with detailed illustrations and readings of several TV series in a variety of genres, including the systemization of work in Big Bang Theory and Silicon Valley; the social imbrications of Justified; and the contesting of masculinity in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse.