With binge-watching becoming the norm as online streaming outlets like Netflix and Amazon release an entire season’s worth of their shows all at once, NBC has decided to follow suit with one of their own new dramas.
After the upcoming series Aquarius makes its TV debut on May 28, NBC will release all 13 episodes of the first season on NBC.com, the NBC app and other video-on-demand platforms.
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NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said in a statement, “With Aquarius, we have the opportunity to push some new boundaries to give our audience something no broadcast network has done before. We are fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion, and we’re excited to offer our viewers this same experience since all 13 episodes of this unique show have been produced and are ready to be seen. I appreciate the enthusiasm we’ve gotten from the producers of the show and our partner Marty Adelstein of Tomorrow Studios to launch this series in a new, forward-thinking way.”
NBC notes that the 13 episodes will be available on digital platforms for four weeks. This won’t affect the TV airings, as each episode will still air on a weekly basis on Thursday nights at 9pm. Also, according to a press release, there will be limited commercial interruption for both the TV and online broadcasts of the show.
Even though the concept of releasing an entire season at once is not new, as this model is standard for Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services, the fact that a broadcast network is doing this while at the same time still airing the show as normal on TV seems unprecedented. It’s obviously not clear yet if the risk NBC is taking will pay off or not. If many viewers decide to binge-watch Aquarius, how much will that affect the TV ratings? Considering there will still be commercials when streaming the show, will lower TV ratings even matter to the network? And if this experiment pays off, it’ll be interesting to see if NBC continues this with any future seasons of Aquarius and any other series in the works, or if other broadcast networks decide to dip their toes in the binge-watching experience as well.
Aquarius stars David Duchovny as Sam Hodiak, a homicide detective in the 1960s who sets out to find a missing teen girl (Emma Dumont) with the help of undercover cop Brian Shafe (Grey Damon). The two find out that the teen, Emma Karn, has joined a cult led by Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). The series begins two years before the infamous 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.
What do you think of NBC releasing all 13 episodes at once? Will the bold move pay off? And if you plan on watching Aquarius, will you be watching it on digital platforms at your own pace or as it airs on TV?
Aquarius premieres Thursday, May 28 at 9pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)