What Gets Us Hooked?

Samantha Moore

It takes a lot to get me hooked on a television show. I’m usually not enthralled by the first episode—it takes me around three or four episodes to truly get invested in the characters and get absorbed in the show. Sometimes I’ll give a widely praised show (like Breaking Bad) a try and just don’t immediately see what everyone else sees. Other times I’ll watch the first episode and realize that I’m about to start a new love affair (The latter definitely happened with Grey’s Anatomy and New Girl). In a Media Relations class we talked about how it’s actually a certain episode for each show that attracts and keeps viewers. Netflix recently released a study that listed the exact episode it was for a variety of their shows that got people hooked:

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I thought this was so interesting, as it differed greatly amongst shows. For How I Met Your Mother, it was episode 8 that kept the audience watching whereas for Breaking Bad it was episode 2. I guess this proves I need to give Breaking Bad another try, as I still can’t get past the boring first episode.

Another article from Decider.com delved into more specific questions about this study. They found that while comedies tend to hook viewers more easily in the beginning, it takes a lot for viewers to stay hooked. According to the Netflix study, dramas are more of an acquired taste but produce more dedicated and loyal viewers. Something interesting to think about!

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12 Responses to What Gets Us Hooked?

  1. mediaphiles says:

    This is really interesting data that you found and I would love to go back and see if these episodes are when I got hooked on some of these shows because many of the ones on that list are shows that I have binge watched before.

  2. mediaphiles says:

    This actually made me realize how it always takes me some time to really enjoy shows. It is also cool to think how we all like different stuff and watch different shows, but there are some shows that everyone enjoy. The data definitely helps to see that comedies are easier to watch but also are rated less highly because people normally think that they are not as elaborate as a drama for example. – Jon Baquero

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I find all of this data so interesting! I have watched a multitude of shows, but I have never actually thought about which particular episode got me “hooked.” I am obsessed with Greys Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, and Gilmore Girls. I will say, though, that I did not like One Tree Hill at all when I first started it and I vaguely remember starting to enjoy it after the episodes centered less around basketball. It will be interesting to pay attention to all of this moving forward!
    -Allie Kleinman

  4. mediaphiles says:

    This is super interesting! I’ve always wondered what it took to get someone hooked on a series and how far you had to watch to get hooked. Personally, I still can’t get into Game of Thrones and I’ve seen the first 3 episodes but based off the data you provided, maybe I have to watch up to episode 8! It’s crazy how certain shows can draw attention later than the first episode. I will definitely remember this when I start a new series.

    -Meghan Murphy

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I believe that comedies hook people easier because people love to laugh, but lose them faster because the jokes start running dry and people lose interest. Dramas have a huge source for story lines and they get people involved in the fantasy lives and world of the drama. People are more involved in dramas so they feel as though they have to keep watching to see what will happen to their favorite character. Comedies do not usually have so much intimacy with viewers.

    -turner arrington

  6. mediaphiles says:

    Love your use of data. I think it’s really interesting the way narration in TV varies with film. I am not much of a movie person, my attention span is too short. 42 minutes is actually perfect for me, which is the length of an hour long show without commercials. Despite my issues with attention, I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for all 12 seasons, and am very loyal to a few other shows. Something about the way TV shows can develop narrative arcs that build upon the past episodes, and drive plots over the course of a whole season. So one episode may be shorter and somewhat more shallow than film, I think TV has the capacity for more emotional attachment and character development (even though it seems like a lot of media snobs would always say film > tv)

    Elyse Conklin

  7. mediaphiles says:

    This is such a unique blog post!! I love the use of your data. I find it interesting that How I Met Your Mother took awhile for people to get hooked. I think this is because the characters are lovable because of all the funny stories we hear about them. By Episode 8 we have had time to hear about some of Barney’s shenanigans, and start to fall in love with Marshall and Lilly as a couple. You can’t start to appreciate those characters from just a pilot! – Kelsey Sierra

  8. mediaphiles says:

    This is such so interesting! I really want to watch those few episodes. I have always felt that I was the one person out of the group to always say, “Oh! I really liked that movie” or “Oh! I really enjoyed that T.V. show!” while everyone else is bashing on it. Maybe I’m just an easy pleaser? For this reason I always think I get drawn in pretty quickly but now I’m re thinking everything!

    Love this post!

    Alexandra Peralta

  9. mediaphiles says:

    Boring first episode? I can get behind many things you said, but not that. The pilot of Breaking Bad is one of the best pilots ever. In the book “TV (the book)” they rank it 18th out of every show ever. EVER. But my bias is showing. I love Breaking Bad. To your actual post, I think one reason comedies have a harder time holding onto viewers is the lack of a strong throughline. Dramas have a clear “this is the story” and the serialized nature of dramas mean as you watch more, more pieces are developed. Comedies are a lot more episodic, so if you miss a week, you aren’t missing out on too much. That makes it easier to justify missing an episode or two or ten, because you can catch up later. You need the pieces of dramas to feel fully satisfied. But you have to be invested in the story to crave that satisfaction. At least that’s how I view it. – Max Dosser

  10. marymdalton says:

    Good post — good discussion!

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