Hulu Originals Releasing One Weekly Episode at a Time

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Hulu has a request of its subscribers: “Pace yourself!”

Subscribers likely noticed something different about Hulu’s newest original Difficult People. Instead of being given access to the entire season, Hulu plans to release one episode a week similar to that of a normal broadcast television series. And this looks to be their plan for all of their upcoming original releases.

For several years now, streaming subscribers have gotten used to spending a weekend flying through an entire season of their newest favorite television series and thinking none the less of all the time spent doing so. There were reports that people finished the entire second season of House of Cards in 13 hours straight with no stops. 

Hulu seems to be telling their subscribers, “chill out a bit, let’s enjoy a bit of suspense between episodes” with this new change. 

We spoke with East Los High producer Katie Elmore Mota about the difficulties of releasing an entire season of a show all at once. For example the third season of “High” has a ridiculously suspenseful ending to the opening episode, but some of the magic of such a cliffhanger is lost when we can simply hit “next episode” to find out what happens. 

I’m not sure what the right answer is here, as I can say with 100% certainty, some shows thrive when we’re able to binge watch them all in a row (Kimmy Schmidt?). 

But there is no doubt in my mind that our collective ADD can sometimes ruin the experience of a great television show. I loved watching Lost week to week, knowing the conversation at work the following day would revolve around last night’s episode and hypothetical theories would dominate the water cooler conversation. 

Imagine now if Lost had been released all at once, the collective conversation varies so greatly when we all watch at our own pace. Television becomes less of a collective experience and instead we all find ourselves alone at our own pace. Specifically, through the House of Cards season releases, everyone had to walk on eggshells as to not ruin the surprises that came with each episode. And while everyone of course enjoyed talking about the show, there was a certain level of caution when discussing what exactly had happened in each episode in fear of ruining the surprise for others.

There’s a big difference in the person who watches all 13 episodes in a row compared to the folks who spend a few weeks slowly digesting the series. 

We’ll be interested to monitor fan sentiment towards Hulu’s experiment here, especially with Hulu Originals ‘11/22/63‘ and ‘The Way.’