The G(old)en Globes

Zara Khan Among the usual, popular shows invoked during Sunday’s Golden Globes—“Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” “Girls”—was an unusual one: the Amazon Instant Video show “Transparent”, centering around a Los Angeles family and their discovery that their father is transgender, is breaking new barriers in the world of television. The prestigious Golden Globes is an annual event honoring the best of television and film, showcasing the best movies and shows of the year. The event draws special attention to unique work, and prompts the public to suddenly try and break away from the addictive bubble of reality TV, and invest time into critically acclaimed entertainment. Nominees and Winners from previous years include widespread shows: “Modern Family”, “Glee”, “The Office”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Mad Men.” But this year, the seemingly unknown “Transparent” shocked viewers by winning best comedic television series. “Transparent” is a part of Amazon’s new experiment of releasing television shows on its Prime Streaming Services. Amazon created its production unit in 2010 and launched its first original series, “Alpha House,” last year. With its unique viewer selection pilot process, Amazon Studios was able to catch the attention of a quickly changing industry, but had yet to deliver on acclaim and buzz. Amazon Studios made a splash last year when it posted 14 pilots for Amazon customers to review. Viewers filled out a survey, offering Amazon executives unprecedented feedback. The extensive data collected includes how much an episode was viewed, the rating, and how many users shared it with friends. Amazon responded by embracing its survey and creating “Transparent” while releasing all ten episodes of the show on Amazon Prime at once. Streaming shows have become the future of our television habits. The movement started when Netflix started to notice the patterns in which its millions of users where watching their shows. People would binge-watch shows, often consuming three to five episodes at one given time. While analyzing these viewing patterns, Netflix began to develop its first show, “House of Cards,” and instead of traditionally releasing a new episode each week, it released an entire season, to the enjoyment of its eager viewers. “House of Cards” was met with critical acclaim and caused a huge buzz in the world of television. Quickly following the show came “Orange is the New Black,” a show depicting a women’s prison and the inmates who fill it. Similar to “House of Cards,” “Orange is The New Black” has been well received by critics, and is causing streaming sites such as Amazon to enter the race to produce digital television. While Cable is still the mainstream way in which America consumes its entertainment, things seem like they are beginning to change. Network shows are still hugely popular in demand, with about 45 million people tuning in on weeknights to catch their favorite shows. Yet, something might be changing. Recent findings have shown that many viewers impatiently give up on cable series—which come out with new episodes every week—though they vow to return to the show once the series has ended, while finding a new streaming show to binge on. With Amazon making history last Sunday at the Golden Globes, this opens a whole new realm of possibilities for companies to start producing shows to stream to the public. It may just be the start. There is too much TV to choose from now, but wait until Yahoo starts producing shows. Wait until the first Xbox series. Wait for Google TV and YouTube’s full length shows. Wait for successful internet companies with money to become production entities. And what does this mean for us? We who already have an abundance of shows to choose from somehow must manage to take up the sparing free time we have. Long story short, it means more procrastination, and more things which will keep us us from being productive. We all find time to watch our favorite shows, but suddenly we click on the next one, and hours fly by. This new approach towards steaming does not work in our favor in terms of time management skills, either.  The once practical approach to watching one hour of a show per week has turned into one full day of thirteen hours of television. In this digital world that is catering towards all of our impulsive, tv desiring needs, we need to find a balance between one episode per week and a thirteen hour TV filled day. Everything in moderation.  ]]>