Netflix recently announced that they had analyzed viewing habits to determine which episode of some popular TV series were the ones that got people hooked. There are a couple of ways they could have done this but I’m assuming this analysis looked at the drop off in views from one episode to the next. They probably then looked to see where the percentage in drop in viewership leveled off or decreased the least over the rest of the remaining episodes.
A lot of the results seemed to indicate episode two of a series was usually the episode that got people hooked, which makes sense. A large number will drop off after the first episode cause they don’t like it, so if you decide to watch the second episode it is a safe bet you at least like the show. The second episode also usually is one of the better episodes since everything is still fresh but the episode isn’t restricted by needing to set up an entire Series the way the pilot is.
Outside of the 2nd episode there really wasn’t anything that made a lot of sense to me. It wasn’t like the episodes that according to Netflix “got people hooked” were all that memorable for the most part, at least not to me. The third episode of Orange is the New Black, wasn’t that amazing to me compared to some later ones. Madmen’s episode six had Peggy’s memorable “Basket full of kisses” line, but still seems unremarkable to me. Daredevil episode 5 is good, just like all Daredevil episodes, but the episode before that is the amazing episode where we first meet Fisk, and the 2nd episode is the one with that crazy long tracking shot that was even better.
I think my point is that it is difficult to really pinpoint why one episode might get a large viewership to latch on to a show. I’m thinking that some people probably take a more holistic approach and kind of just settle in once happy with the general direction and feel of a show up to that point. Some people like me may get hooked more based on specific scenes or stories, hoping that similar levels of goodness show up in later episodes. Other people… who knows, who cares. This blog is about me, so lets talk about what got me hooked on some of my favorite TV series. First up I am going to go through the shows that Netflix had on their list to see how mine synchs up with theirs.
Daredevil – Netflix episode 5, me episode 2 – tracking shot fight scene!!!!
Mad Men – Netflix episode 6, me S2 E 5 – We see a flashback to Don and Peggy in the hospital that shed an incredible amount of light on both people and their relationship
House of Cards – Netflix episode 3, me S1 E8 Frank returns to his alma mater, and it was cool to see him change from quasi evil Frank we know in the world of politics and show a brief but genuine human side
Breaking Bad – Netflix episode 2, me S3 E12 – Might seem odd that one of my top 3 favorite shows of all time would take towards the end of season 3 to get me hooked, but up until this episode it was a really good show that could have started to go down hill as it chugged along, but after that episode, and Mike’s speech, The show became great, borderline amazing, and actually got better from there.
Orange is the new Black – Netflix episode 3, me S1 E10, first episode I remember where the show was more than just a dark comedy and allowed itself to be heartbreaking
Dexter Netflix Episode 3, me S4 E 12, season finale that should have been the series finale. It was so good that it let me hold on through the disastrous final two seasons.
Sons of Anarchy – Netflix episode 2, me S3 E13
Better Call Saul – Netflix episode 4, me Episode 1
As I think about this, maybe some of those numbers don’t really show what episode got people hooked, as much as it showed around what episode people gave up. Something like Better Call Saul, someone like me is going to watch every episode no mater what. They have me. Other people might give the first few episodes a try after breaking bad just to see if they like it, but by the time episode 3 has ended they say “meh” not that into it and drop off. Maybe episode doesn’t get people hooked, but instead separates those who like the show for the show itself, from the people who were just checking it out to see if they might like the show.
Something else that I noticed with my notations above is that with shows like Mad Men or Sons of anarchy that have been on a long time, it isn’t so much about an episode that gets me into the show, it is more about an episode that cements my love for the show so much that I know I will follow through to the end even if it starts to hit rough patches. Granted, Mad Men was never not good, but Sons of Anarchy was kind of bad over the last few seasons. It was that last episode of season 3 though that won my loyalty and sustained me through some of the awful episodes in the later years.
A good example of this might be The killing. Netflix had the second episode as the one that got people hooked. For me, while I really liked the killing as a show, never had a standout episode or scene that resonated with me. That is probably a factor in why I gave up a couple episodes into the most recent season that was on Netflix. Just so there is no misunderstanding, these “episodes that got people hooked” doesn’t mean it is the episode produced by Netflix. When Netflix says it was the second episode of the killing that got people hooked, they mean of season 1 that was on AMC originally.
Now I am going to think about some of my other all time favorite shows:
The Shield – Pilot , first show where I remember there being an anti hero that I really rooted for, and then it all got turned on its ear in the last few moments of the episode
The Wire – S1 E3, specifically the Chess scene
ER – Love’s labors lost
Justified – not sure, but this was such a money line
Californication – S2 E 12 – The final episode of this season had a scene with more heart than I thought the show was capable of. in fact most of the episode follow suit and the non ID side of me fell in love with show. Here is the clip, but if you didn’t watch that season it won’t make sense.
True Detective – S1 E1, the ending of that episode, how Rust Cole set up the mystery surrounding the whole rest of the season “Start asking the right fucking questions” got me hooked so fierce I even watched every episode of the underwhelming 2nd season.
Archer – Skytanic – it was the first episode I saw, but on multiple viewings, I hold it up as one of, if not, the best.
There are some other long running shows that I love like Southpark, Quantum Leap, Chuck, The Walking Dead, or Star Trek TNG that I didn’t list an episode that got me hooked, because, honestly I couldn’t think of one that stood out. Some of these episodes, really probably aren’t the episodes that “got me hooked” but they are the episodes that made me loyal and made me appreciate them more than I do most other shows.