The Waiting Game

On the evening of September 4, I settled in on my couch and tuned into Amazon Prime Video, all set to spend the next eight hours of my life devouring the latest installment of The Boys.

I had digested season one in one sitting last summer and could not wait to do the same for the second. And then the shock and horror set in—not inspired by the antics of the show’s evil “superheroes,” but instead because there were only three episodes available. I would have to wait until the following Friday for another one. I was honestly gutted, and apparently not the only one. Scroll through the reviews section on Amazon and you’ll see plenty of fans complaining about not being able to satisfy a binge need. I had suspected that this was a ploy by Amazon to stagger its new content slate amid COVID-19 production delays, but it turns out it was the intent of the producers, who wanted that week-to-week intensity that we perhaps don’t get enough of in this on-demand world. I remember talking to rapper/producer/actor/showrunner RZA about this last year when Hulu released his show Wu-Tang: An American Saga with weekly episodes rather than as a binge. “We’re a little bit old school,” he told me. “We think it served a good purpose for telling the story and setting the stage.” As for what happens for season two, he said, “maybe decisions will change.”

Perhaps all streamers should move to weekly drops. There is something to be said for marinating over an episode, letting it sit before diving into the next one (maybe—ask me again when the new seasons of Stranger Things or Warrior Nun come out). Thanks to COVID-19, we do all need to develop new patience thresholds. Producers of high-end scripted content are facing delays of 12 months or more due to the pandemic. As production slowly resumes, there is actually a lot of completed content available, and we profile many great new and library shows in this edition of TV Drama. Home-confined audiences are taking solace in blue-sky dramas and digging deep into true stories, as we reveal in the features in this edition. Viewers are also exploring the wealth of gripping foreign-language series on Walter Presents; co-founder and curator Walter Iuzzolino shares the platform’s acquisition strategy with TV Drama.

Mansha Daswani