When do you get “hooked” on a TV series? Is it from the very start? A couple of episodes in? And what kinds of shows get you hooked faster than others? Where do we cross the line from “enjoyment” to “fandom”?
You might think the answers would range wildly from person to person — we are individuals, after all — but a recent study from Netflix has revealed we can be quite predicable. Thrilling mysteries, young love, family drama and criminal behaviour bring us together. Also, dogs.
Netflix’s research aimed to pinpoint the episode that took watchers from casual to committed — that is, the episode that kept 70 per cent of viewers watching through a first season’s end. In doing so, Netflix discovered viewing behaviour — and fandom — is quite universal. Regardless of whether they live in Argentina or Japan, people are not only getting hooked on similar episodes, but identifying with similar storylines.
Fear of the unknown turned watchers upside down for Stranger Things (Where’s Will, where’s Barb and what’s a Demogorgon?!; episode 2) and had them bewitched with American Horror Story: Murder House (The dead roam freely on All Hallows’ Eve; episode 4).
The underworld of political corruption, whether it’s Pablo Escobar’s thirst for power in Colombia or Robert Taro’s fight to keep it in France, had us addicted to both Narcos and Marseille by episode 3.
Unsurprisingly, the curiosity of criminality had people arrested to The Fall (Paul Spector proves murder is not a spectator sport; episode 2), Prison Break (Michael finds staying alive in prison is harder than breaking out; episode 3) and Making A Murderer (Brendan Dassey is interrogated; episode 4).
However, not all hooked moments were dark or deadly. Love was the key to get us falling for Gilmore Girls (Rory’s first kiss!; episode 7), Jane the Virgin (Jane rekindles an old flame, episode 7) and Grey’s Anatomy (Meredith gets steamy with McDreamy in an elevator; episode 2).
Relationships of the familial kind had people relating to The Get Down (Mylene’s future hits a high note, but her relationship with her father hits a new low, episode 2), Club de Cuervos (Chava derails plans for the Iglesias soccer dynasty; episode 4) and The Ranch (The only thing bigger than Colt’s ego is Beau’s stubbornness; episode 3). A mix of the two is what worked for Fuller House when puppy Cosmo rounds out the Tanner clan in episode 4.
“We’ve always believed there is a universality to great stories. The Internet allows us to share these stories with a global audience and what we see from the data is how similar our members watch and respond,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix.
According to the research, here are the global episodes where members got hooked: