Disney Plus Is Going to Kill Binge Watching — And That's a Great Thing

The interface of Disney+ streaming service is displayed on Apple Inc.'s AppleTV at the D23 Expo, billed as the "largest Disney fan event in the world," on August 23, 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. - Disney Plus will launch on November 12 and will compete with out streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now and soon Apple TV Plus.
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

We're in another golden age of TV, as long as you can chug a whole season of Stranger Things in a weekend. Which is why I'm elated with the news that Disney Plus will buck the binge watch trend that took over TV. 

A report from this past weekend revealed that Disney+ will release seasons one episode at a time, not all in one giant cannonball splash into the streaming pool. To which I say, "amen!"

Cynics might call this a cash-grab, so Disney can string us along for months (how many cancelled their HBO subscription after the war for Westeros ended?). I disagree, though, because I can see how reversing course will help improve the conversation.

Let's start with a familiar moment to the Tom's Guide office: the Monday morning after a new season of a show has been released (Friday is the standard release day at Netflix, Hulu and others). Did you devote at least a day of your waking hours to finishing that show? Sorry, you've got to cover your ears or wear headphones to make it out without getting spoiled.

MORE: Disney Plus Shows: Everything Announced So Far

The other issue with binge watching, at least from the shows I've seen, is that the trend encourages studios to release seasons that are meant to be consumed passively, because who can stay focused on a screen for 8 hours in a single day? Many of the Netflix Marvel shows (hi Daredevil Season 2) felt light on action and were filled with scenes that you could consume while you're folding laundry or doing some other household chores. 

Disney's decision will help those who struggle to stay focused on a single episode, and possibly help us regain our ability to focus on a single show. It's a lot easier, I've found, to put down my phone for a single hour or two at the Alamo Drafthouse, than it is to do the same for a whole season.

And if you’re upset by Disney's decision? Imagine how many more hours you're going to gain back. Now, when someone asks how your weekend went, you can say more than just a single show's name. To the bingers who are offended by my premise, you already have Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. Just let me have Disney Plus.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.