I must confess, I haven’t watched any new TV in a while. I’ve finally succumbed to an affair with Netflix (specifically The Good Wife) but with a dissertation-shaped elephant in the room, all the series I’ve been meaning to watch (Rev., The Crimson Field, Jamaica Inn) have sidled past silently, with far too many episodes stored up on iPlayer for me to have any hope of catching up. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the dangers of Netflix. Now I’ve changed my mind, and I’m about to tell you what you want to hear: contrary to popular belief, Netflix is made for exam term.
First and foremost, Netflix provides respite. Sometimes you just need a break. But what do you do when everyone else is revising and you’ve already caught up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones? Netflix is there at all hours to comfort you.
Crucially, it’s also flexible. If you start watching a current drama, you’re completely at the mercy of schedulers. People say binge watching is dangerous, but catching a drama before it falls off the iPlayer cliff and into the underworld of unwatched and unreachable episodes requires a level of commitment that just isn’t realistic in exam term. You can also guarantee the final episode will be scheduled the night before your first exam – the world is cruel like that. But Netflix is kinder. It doesn’t mind if you’ve been away for a while: the episodes are all still there waiting for you when you get the chance to return.
Netflix also keeps you sane. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that in exam term every conversation, no matter how it starts, will always end up being about exams. You can even apply a kind of exam-term Bechdel Test: 1) Are there ever two people in a room? Yes, at mealtimes. 2) Do these people talk to each other? Yes, when they don’t have food in their mouths. 3) Do these people talk to each other about something other than work?
Uh oh. Test failed at the final hurdle. The only two places you can go to escape this manic revision/dissertation-based conversation are a) home or b) Netflix. Home is far away, and probably expensive. Netflix is just a click away. Honestly, the fact that Alicia Florrick doesn’t stop halfway through a trial and express panic about whether the preface is included in her dissertation word count is more of a blessing than I can put into words.
Okay, so I’ll admit, this column is basically an elaborate justification for renewing my Netflix subscription at the worst point possible. But I think I’ve argued my points well. I have a feeling I won’t be saying the same about my first practice essay.