In the flurry of all the news about Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney+ out of D23, something pretty major got lost in the shuffle: how the episodes will be released. While Netflix made popular the “binge model” in which all episodes of a season are released at once, available to watch as quickly as possible, it appears Disney+ will be taking a more traditional approach to its content rollout.
Per TVLine, episodes of shows released on Disney+ will be released on a weekly basis, instead of releasing all episodes of a season at once. That means the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the mockumentary High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and the Marvel show Loki will be rolling out just one new episode a week when those series debut.
This is somewhat surprising given that most of Netflix’s competitors follow a binge model, although Hulu splits the difference by releasing three episodes at once and then going weekly after that. But as the volume of new content has increased exponentially in the years since House of Cards debuted on Netflix and changed everything, it’s become a lot harder to carry on a conversation about any TV show that uses this binge model.
If you have the time to watch all of Stranger Things 3 in its first weekend of release, great! But odds are not all of your friends will, and the result is that when you really wanna talk about that Neverending Story moment, you may find yourself alone, forced to keep quiet and waiting on your friends to catch up.
By releasing episodes weekly, Disney+ is ensuring that the conversation surrounding these new shows will (hopefully) be louder, larger, and more long-lasting. Just compare Stranger Things 3 to Game of Thrones. With the former, you couldn’t really get into spoilers until your friends/family had the time to watch all eight episodes. But with Game of Thrones, most fans found time either Sunday night or Monday to watch the latest episode, which meant you had a full six days to argue over plot points, marvel at the production value, and speculate on what’s to come with your friends. It was fun and, most importantly, communal.
There are no doubt a lot of benefits to being able to binge all episodes of a TV show at once, but as the volume of content grows ever more massive, the “watercooler moment” that’s been a staple of TV for decades has started to disappear. Everyone watches what they want, when they want, on their own time, and since the possibilities of what you’re watching are pretty endless, the likelihood that a large number of your friends/family/colleagues are on the same page with the same show is becoming less and less frequent.
So yeah, as someone who pines for the days when we could hit the internet after each episode of LOST and speculate wildly with no worry about spoiling the episode for people, or grieve with friends over that shocking episode of ER the night before, I am very much in favor of Disney+ releasing episodes weekly.
Exact details on this rollout plan are unclear, and it’s certainly possible that Disney+ decides to release some shows all at once down the road (some of those Marvel shows are pretty short—Loki‘s only six episodes), but for now it sounds like the plan is to go weekly.
What do you think folks? Are you excited to be able to treat The Mandalorian like Game of Thrones, digging into deep-dive discussions episode-by-episode, or are you annoyed that you won’t be able to watch the entire season all at once? Sound off in the comments below.
Disney+ launches on November 12th.