A question someone or anyone could have asked me if they have the audacity to disturb my ongoing madness that is binge-watching.
That reminds of that sticker: “Please do not disturb. I am disturbed enough already.” I have to get one of those.
I have been sitting in front of the screen for quite some time now — with bleary eyes and coffee stains — and I might even consider staying for another season.
Some consider binge-watching only as a hobby but it has now become a lifestyle choice or putting it in a negative light – an addiction. When instant gratification is now the norm and escapism is a recurrent practice, watching episode after episode of a single series in quick succession is one of the many ways to achieve this. And because our mind is constantly churning and processing information about what we watch, there is an increase in our cognitive alertness which eventually leads to less or no sleep. Hence, the panda eyes.
Getting immersed in another world through this is a form of escapism especially welcomed after going through shit in real life. To put it simply, it makes us feel good albeit fleetingly. Most of the time it is the allure of that show and the performance of the actors or even the well-crafted storyline that makes us stay willingly in the grasp of several series. But there is also another explanation, that it isn’t the show that we are craving but the feelings we get from watching them. I admit I’m guilty on both counts.
A method to the madness
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”
In my case, it is watching two or more (usually much much more) episodes of not only one series but several and in succession. After I finish one series I go for another which is related one way or another to the previous one. Because once I finish mourning the end and appreciating all the feels it gave me, I would be looking for another hit. Much like an addict.
Take for example these past few weeks. It actually started with the drama The King’s Avatar. Technically, it was way before that because there was my Teen Wolf marathon, catching up on The 100 and finally finishing Westworld — but I’m only focusing on Asian dramas for convenience and because I actually kept a record of my binge-watching escapades during the recent weeks.
In hindsight, this has been one of the most intense and most unhealthy series marathon I have ever had. Kids, don’t try this at home!
Aug 5 – Sept 4 The King’s Avatar
I made the decision to start another c-drama after that encounter with the Meteor Garden remake and Love O2O. I was hesitant with c-dramas because they have so many episodes, but once I decided I got my glasses on and prepared to watch Yang Yang‘s latest drama. I also got to watch the animated version of it which I also liked and there are some parts that are better there than in the drama– if only it was longer. Quan Zhi Gao Shou
I was thinking of what to watch while waiting for the rest of the episodes during its airing period when I recalled that in my review of the drama Love O2O there was a recommendation in the comments section on what c-dramas to watch.
I have never been so thankful for that comment than I was at that moment because in these two dramas I have found so many things; the beauty of a well-produced drama, the story between the characters, and the actors who played their roles so brilliantly that I want to see more of them.
Ashes of Love – I laughed, cried, and fell in love with the whole thing. The story, main leads, supporting cast, beautiful costumes and well suited OST—all together created this incredible drama. By the time of writing this post, I have lost count on how many times I kept on coming back to re-watch this drama whenever I missed it and the feelings it gave me. This was also where Deng Lun and Yang Zi also gained another fan in me.
Ten Miles of Peach Blossom – I was a bit reluctant to get into this drama at first but because of that pretty boy Yang Yang who is partly the reason along with Liu Yifei when they starred in the movie adaptation of this drama titled Once Upon A Time. I got so curious about what the ending really meant that I decided to watch this too and it did not disappoint. Much like Ashes of Love with their great love story and beautiful costumes and settings, this is definitely a drama worthy of your time. Prepare your tissues as well because Mark Chao and Yang Mi will definitely make you cry.
And then it’s all downhill from there. I fell and kept on falling some more, so easily into the land of c-drama.
Aug 14 Sweet Dreams : Deng Lun from Ashes of Love brought me here and Dilreba Dilmurat from Eternal Love. Their chemistry is so good!
Aug 16 Go Go Squid : Yang Zi from Ashes of Love is the reason I got into this drama and she was so adorable here too! She was the only reason I got through this one.
I re-watched a few clips of A Love So Beautiful and the following three were on the recommendations similar to the drama. I happily got into them eyes wide open and armed with coffee and snacks.
Aug 19 – Aug 21 Le Coup De Foudre : It’s a refreshing must watch. It has the feels of A Love So Beautiful but it was also unique in its storytelling. Knowing that it was based on a real-life story also enhanced the flavor of the drama especially when we have glimpses of the couples’ current married life.
Aug 21 Put Your Head On My Shoulders : This is the one to watch when you want a lighthearted and sweet romance set in college life. There’s not much unnecessary drama and I loved the music here too.
Sep 1 My Mr. Mermaid : This one got the romance, friendship, drama, and sports down so it’s a pretty enjoyable watch too if you just want to pass the time and enjoy the ride.
Aug 31 Love Better Than Immortality : After dipping in the stories set in the modern world I took a break and headed back into wuxia. I enjoyed this one despite its flaws – it wasn’t good but it wasn’t so bad either. I was probably mesmerized by Li Hong Yi‘s eyelashes. I was wondering the whole time if it was real.
Sep 4 – Sep 5 I’m Not A Robot : I almost forgot about k-drama because I got so used to the vibe of the c-dramas. I wanted to keep up the momentum but it was also quite refreshing to get back to them again. This one was supposed to be a palate cleanser of sorts and it also turned out to be a delightful watch! As expected of Yoo Seung Ho as the main lead, adding to that is his chemistry with the female lead that was definitely a huge point in the series.
Aug 14 – Sep 6 Legend of Fuyao : Yang Mi from Eternal Love brought me here and it was a surprise to find familiar faces from The King’s Avatar too. It took me so long to get through this drama and almost dropped it because of that arc with the second male lead and his blind girl. I decided to finish it all the same, but then the last episode of the drama was also a disappointment. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Fu Yao and Wu Ji’s scenes all throughout the story and the two of them wrecking havoc in every kingdom they visit.
Sep 8 – Sep 9 The Fox’s Summer : I Am Not A Robot definitely had an influence on me picking this drama because the story is about a man who has OCD and a case of severe reaction to something in relation to the female lead. This one was a bit of a let down because I actually like the leads but the story was just nah.
Sep 11 General and I : I tried one episode and got hooked because of the previews. The chemistry between the leads is palpable and the side characters were also interesting to watch. The general and his strategist are really quite the power couple here. Their trust with each other and enduring love is what kept me watching. I finished the drama but I can’t say if I’ll go back for a re-watch anytime soon.
Sep 13 – Sep 15 Legend of Yunxi : This is really one of the rare dramas where I liked the female lead right off the bat. She’s skillful, resourceful, cheerful, smart, and pretty cute that I rooted for her from the start. Legend of Yunxi was actually a good drama for me –whether its the romance, the story, and the characters– but the ending left me unsatisfied and confused.
Sep 17 – Sep 19 Arsenal Military Academy : This! This was such an awesome watch. I mean they were in a military academy and there was a girl pretending to be a man and I wasn’t expecting much, but Bai Lu actually changed my opinion about the cross-dressing because she actually did well in portraying her role as a boy albeit a small and skinny one. Xu Kai was also brilliant in a role that fits perfectly for him.
I didn’t even know until after I finished the drama that there were so many scenes cut because of a ban. Even though the romance part was seriously neglected due to the cut parts, the drama still made up for it with the chemistry of the constantly bickering leads, action scenes, brotherhood, friendship, and not to forget the beautiful clothes and set during that time.
Sep 20 – Sep 22 The Legends : Bai Lu and XuKai led me here. I finished Arsenal and saw that the leads were also in this drama and so the rest is history. I really became a fan of Bai Lu after watching this – she is such a badass female lead here and a natural actress. What scenes I missed in their other drama, this one eventually made up for it.
The Legends is one of those dramas that instantly made it known that it was not the same as any other. From the leads to the villains in the story and its portrayal of what is good and what is evil. The cast was exemplary, the story diverting and I loved everything about this drama – everything except the constant night mode scenes and how they handled the ending which is both on the part of the production. The ending episodes were just basically messy editing because they wanted to give it a happy ending so bad at the expense of quality and the flow of the story. I would rather they give it an open ending like they originally intended (because a fan rearranged it and so we saw the real ending) than a shitty patched up last episodes.
I’m also planning to read the novel this drama was based on because this story is just that good! Too bad they botched the ending.
Sep 22 – Sep 23 The Eternal Love 1 & 2 : The first season of this drama was not so good but the second season redeemed it. And just throwing this out there – I have never seen so many kisses in a drama before.
(Hae Ryung & Yi Rim)
Sep 24 – Sep 27 Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung : I made it back to k-drama again through the help of an interesting story about female historians in the era where women are typically not accepted in the affairs of the men in court and governance. I wasn’t too keen on the female lead but I liked the male lead a little too much. It was my first drama watching Cha Eun Woo and I think it won’t be the last.
Sep 26 – Sep 27 Arthdal Chronicles Part 1 & Part 2 : Currently watching the part 3 of this series. I’ll have to say this one gets better with each part. I wasn’t much impressed with the first part but the cast made up for it and the story is interesting enough to continue. Part two was where it really began for me. Song Joong Ki really did a great job portraying not only one but two enigmatic characters. The rest of the cast especially the women in this fantasy historical drama are worth a watch – Kim Ji Won, Kim Ok Bin and several others play pivotal roles that shape the world of Arthdal.
To sum up, it was both a sprint and a marathon in my mind. Time flew by so fast but it was also a long and drawn-out battle between reality and dramaland. Most of the stories I watch are fantasy and almost always there is an element of romance. Here’s My Drama List account if anyone is interested: https://mydramalist.com/profile/Chizurue
Before I finally get back to what I’m currently watching here are some of the things I learned from the experience.
What we get out of binging:
- We are reminded that patience is indeed a virtue.
Waiting for new episodes to come out before finally deciding to move on and start another series. Or when you find a completed one already — sitting tight while looking forward to several hours worth of feels or tears depending on what you’re watching. Granted, sedentary life isn’t healthy but of course, you can always work out while watching (like Irina who recently enlightened me to do the same although unintentionally.)
- You can avoid unnecessary socializing and meaningless conversations.
Seclusion here we come. Hermit life can be tough but with your series accompanying you into that perfect night mode watching, life is pretty sweet.
- You’ll be with somebody you don’t hate. Take for example your favorite actor/actress and their characters. Besides, when you see someone you don’t like you can always hit that fast forward button or have the satisfaction of knowing that they’ll get what’s due to them in the end.
- Life lessons learned without actually going out. Also called vicarious living. You should try it sometime when you get sick of learning the hard way.
- You’ll have something to blog about and connect with others who also share the same view as you. You can even have a heated and passionate debate with others who might not agree with you.
To end this moodily written post while waiting for episodes of an ongoing drama, let’s go back to the question up there on the title — when do we (binge-monsters) actually sleep? I’ll have a quote answer that for you:
“…there will be sleeping enough in the grave….”
Have you seen any of the series mentioned above? Should I actually do I a separate post to review any of them? What are your thoughts on binge-watching? Feel free to talk to me or just comment below and tell me: get a good night’s sleep, you fool.