Every time I open up Netflix on my phone or pull it up on my TV, I see the same sorts of things over and over. There's a new true crime documentary (a genre I hate to love), and Bella Thorne is starring in yet another crazy love story.
I don't understand what makes these things good anymore. Aren't we just watching the same plot time and time again?
A while ago, I wrote an article about how we, as a culture, over-consume entertainment and why that could turn into a problem. Well, it turns out there's also an issue of repetition and fading imagination. Most of the TV shows and movies that come out are based on previous plots from books, plays, and shows that were produced years ago.
"10 Things I Hate About You?" That's just Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" in a modern-day setting. "The Lion King?" A kid's version of "Hamlet."
The more we watch Netflix, the less creative we seem to become.
Now, I have read some studies about how watching TV can make children more imaginative, and I can totally understand their arguments. Sometimes certain shows or movies can get us thinking, give us a different perspective, or prompt us to try a new activity. Other times, we can get into a rut where we simply want to watch more and more and avoid our responsibilities. It can also help us decompress after a long day of school or work. What I think we don't often recognize is that our brains are always working even when we're "just watching TV." We may think it's something that helps us wind down (and it might), but our minds are constantly processing and working to understand the information our eyes are bringing in.
Being a creative person, I feel totally and completely overwhelmed when I watch even just two episodes of a show in a row. Why? Sometimes I'm not sure and don't understand why I can't fit into the binge-watching culture the rest of my generation so easily slips into. But then I remember that it's okay to be different.
All arguments about fried brain cells and violent tendencies aside, too much of a good thing can still be too much.
If I take in so much information without creating some myself, I become overloaded. Maybe this is because I'm a creator, maybe this is just me being weird. Call it what you will - it's still something for us creative people to be aware of. I also want to be sure that I'm adding more imagination and creativity into our world instead of just taking it all in. I want to make something that isn't just another Shakespeare play reimagined but also enjoy the newest story from J.K. Rowling.
We're constantly expecting the next Netflix series or show to be at our fingertips exactly when we want it, but good creative work takes great time and effort by the creator. We must continue to put good into the world and not just consume what's already out there. If we simply consume without creating, what will be left?