I love watching TV. Next to reading, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. Sometimes, I think I binge television shows more than I read. But, as much as I love it, I have a reoccurring habit that I can’t seem to drop: I can’t finish TV shows. I know it sounds crazy. The point of bingeing a show is to sit through it from start to finish. But something always stops me when I’m approaching the final seasons of a show. We’re living in a new age where you hear about finished TV shows constantly. Because of this, I know lots of spoilers going into a show, and typically, it doesn’t bother me. I like knowing what leads up to the big climatic plot twist death, and seeing how it’s foreshadowed before it actually happens. I don’t mind knowing that X leaves the show and his character is replaced by Y.
But I’m starting to this that this well-connected era we’re living in is why I can’t finish TV shows. I almost never watch shows weekly, so if I let a show sit in My List on Netflix for a couple of months (or years), I know that it’ll most likely still be there when I’m in the mood to watch it. I binge-watched the first five seasons of Grey’s Anatomy a couple of years ago, stopped to start another few shows, then went back and binge-watched season 6 through 11 (and then, of course, stopped there for good). It’s a weird, chaotic mess, but it’s a habit I can’t shake. It might be the fact that bingeing shows allows the act of watching to lose its excitement, and I don’t feel inclined to finish them when they are so many other shows I could start (and subsequently, abandon).
I’ve also thought about how I feel when I finish a show. There are a select few TV shows that I actually have finished, and have rewatched countless times. I also used to watch tons of k-dramas, and the commitment to start and finish those were a lot more attainable since they were typically one season long, and had about 16 episodes (see: My Top 3 K-dramas of 2016 and 6 Romantic K-dramas To Watch This February). Though, there are a handful of k-dramas I’ve started and never continued on with. But each time I would finish a really great show, I’d get this weird void, and I’d immediately want to dive into another show that was hopefully very similar to the one I’d just watched. I get super sentimental which the fiction I consume, so it might be that I’m avoiding an anticlimactic ending, and a fear of being unsatisfied.
In the end, the reason I can’t finish TV shows is probably within all of these ideas I’ve mentioned in this post. It’s just the way I go with TV. I guess this makes me more of a casual watcher than I assumed that I was (especially in an age where no one seems to only casually watch things anymore). It’s a weird phenomenon, and one I’ll most likely continue on with after finishing up this post (I just started the first season of New Girl while I’m in-between about five other shows).
I’m not sure if anyone can relate, but if you can, then this one is for you.
Happy binge-watching (or binge-watching-limited in my case).
11 thoughts on “On My Fear of Finishing TV Shows”
i haaaate finishing a series! whether they’re tv shows or books or just movies (coughs marvel’s mcu), it makes me so emo to think that i’m never going to have new stories in that world????? it leads me to turn to fanfictions ahfjudksmdnfh anyways!! i loved this post ❤
ahh I’m so glad you can relate!! I get so attached especially when I love it a lot, it hard to cope with the idea of it just ending and not being all I want it to be??
I’m the same way! I have serious commitment issues with TV shows, I start sooo many and watch at least an episode and then just hop on to the next one. I think maybe I just don’t have the best attention span for long series. If I don’t binge something I generally can’t keep up with it, and if I take a little break then I usually just give it up completely.
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Glad to hear that I’m not alone! I love to watch shows, but after I while I just fall off with them!
I know this is an older post at this point, but I’ve just been Googling to see if I was the only one like this, and knowing I’m not alone is wonderful! The void you mention is exactly what I feel! I hate ending a show and feeling so empty and sad over the fact I won’t see more of that content again, it’s almost like losing an old friend and knowing you won’t cross paths again. Even with shows I watch over and over like The Office, those last few episodes get skipped and I start all over again.
Thanks for the comment, Daniel! Every now and then this post gets some traffic, so it seems like there are others out there who feel the same. It’s true–it is like losing an old friend! You’ve been through so much with the show so it feels weird that there is just a point where it all stops. I couldn’t find a post that captured this feeling either so I wrote one myself. Thanks for reading!
I am the exact same!!! I feel choked up, like literally almost ready to cry, in the last few episodes of a show. Just thinking of the last episode of parks & rec or the office gets me misty, but I’ve rewatched each series at least 4 times.
I found this blog post by searching for the phobia-term. I suppose though it might simply be the fear of things ending. I never used to be like this, perhaps the full availability to binge uninterrupted allows us to be more deeply invested and therefore we feel the loss more deeply when we consider it being gone. Its like someone who has an occasional glass of wine considering never drinking again, versus a serious alcoholic having to stop cold turkey.
MaybeI’ll try limiting my tv to one episode of a show a night, even if that means watching 4 shows simultaneously, so i don’t feel so attached at any one time.
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Thanks for reading! And to your last point: I’m always watching like 3 shows at once just because I kind of forget that I’m going through the seasons. I also watch shows a lot slower this way and it kind of eases the fear of it ending at least a little bit! It makes discussing shows with friends quite interesting because I always have to throw in that I “never finished” the show just because of how extremely slow I watch it. I’m glad you could relate!
i started watching orange is the new black in 2019, i went from season 1 to 6 in just two or three months, but when i was just about to start on season 7 (which is the finale) i just stopped watching it all together, instead i watched a couple of episodes from seasons 1 to 6 from time to time but i cant seem to make myself finish the whole show, until today, which is january 4 2022. it took me three whole years to get myself to watch all of the season finale, and i cried like a baby when i was watching the last episode.
same goes when i first watched Modern Family, i loved every episode but when it came to season 11 i stopped watching and just continued to do so two months after i was done with season 10. I don’t know if this is some kind of a mental issue or something, but whenever i think about a show i’m watching and i’m just about close to the end, i feel anxious, like something is about to go bad.
anyway, i am so glad i found this blog. i am so relieved to know that i’m not the only one who feels this way because all the people i know seem to have no problem in finishing a tv show, in fact they’re even excited at the thought of finishing them. i wish i could learn more about this “habit” of mine. thanks again.
Thanks so much for reading, Gia! When I wrote this, I had no idea it would reach so many people that felt the same way about almost being avoidant of finishing shows. Similar to you, all of my friends love binge-watching shows with the goal of finishing them as quickly as possible, so I felt so out of sorts for being the only one that didn’t enjoy that aspect. I’m so glad that you could relate!