Believing the Hype

Last week, I was stunned to see Netflix and Marvel’s season 1 of Daredevil to buy on Blu-ray.

Being a fan of Marvel’s properties, and hearing how good the shows on Netflix were, I wanted to buy them for myself. But it seemed they would never see the light of day. After all, Netflix could just keep airing them or have them available for viewing, or whatever it is that people do to watch them. But I was never one to be forced to do, or in this case watch, shows the way someone else (IE: a former mail-order DVD rental corporation) wanted me to. After all, I’M the customer/ consumer. Shouldn’t I be the one dictating how I want my entertainment?

But I digress, because this isn’t what this blog is about.

As I said, I had been hearing great things about these shows. The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly would have regular articles in the Facebook feeds about how great the show was, how many people had watched it, behind-the-scenes stuff, and recaps of what happened on the whichever show was on the night before. In turn, Facebook friends would rave about certain shows, telling me I had to watch it, telling me what happened (which didn’t matter to me, even if they mentioned spoiler-worthy stuff, because by the time I would watch it, if ever, I’d probably forget it), and basically going on and on about how great the show was.

It wasn’t just the Marvel/ Netflix shows either. No matter where you went online or social media, you’d see something about Games of Thrones, or Westworld, or whatever the show-of-the-moment was.

So, going back to seeing Daredevil season 1 on Blu-ray, I snapped it up and looked forward to watching it, to see what all the hype and excitement was about.

“Hype” being the operative word here.

Yes, the show was good. Well-acted, well-written, connected to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, good stories and plot lines. It was a good show. Quite enjoyable.

But despite what social media, and the sheep that blindly follow what others like just because it’s cool, it wasn’t the second-coming of TV series.

Years ago, I had heard of this show, called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I heard of it from other people, floating around like a vague notion. There wasn’t social media, and entertainment magazines were just that, magazines. They weren’t flooding you with info every few seconds like they do on social media today. Those in the know raved about Buffy. Word-of-mouth spread, eventually getting to me. So I watched and I loved it.

Imagine if social media had been around back then. It would have been a Buffy overload. Knowing my taste, likes and dislikes, if I had been overwhelmed on social media about Buffy, I might have been turned off.

A few months back, I was talking to a former co-worker and he asked me if I liked Game of Thrones. I told him I hadn’t seen any of it. He told me he hadn’t seen it either, but he kept seeing things about it online, so he watched and kept watching it because other people told him it was good. He said he liked it now, but to me, that sounded like he was only watching so he could have something to talk to his GoT buddies. Talk about sheep mentality!

To me, it seems that hype over a show seems to be over-blown these days, thanks to social media and entertainment news feeds on social media. We are inundated with certain shows at certain times to boost clicks to a website, or to help keep the word-of-mouth going. It becomes a vicious circle of hype and builds until the next episode. It helps if the show is actually good, but I’m sure there are people, like the former co-worker, who are just caught up in the hype and watch because others watch.

There used to be a time when there was too much hype, aka “over-exposure”. People got sick of something because it was talked about so often. I know recently, with the return of the Gilmore Girls, which was a good show, I was getting a little sick of the hype, especially when the same talking point was mentioned more than a few times.

Maybe its just me. Maybe I have a low tolerance for hype, over-exposure, and trendiness. Or maybe today, people don’t acknowledge the idea of “too much”. With social media flooding our consciousness with so much info about popular shows, maybe “too much” has become the norm. Maybe people need to be reminded why they like something so they can feel like they belong to a larger group.

There are different reasons for liking a show, movie, music, etc. We are all different and have different tastes. But I believe that if you like a show, it shouldn’t because others tell you that you should, or social media says so. Being introduced to something is one thing, being goaded or pressured into by others is another.

Always look for what you like, whether it is popular or an unknown, and enjoy it because you like it, not because it’s trending.

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