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Shows Like ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Easy’ Don’t Need To Be Watched In Order — But Sometimes They Should Be

Very Good TV Podcast: With access to instant television, viewers can watch any show in any order. Anthology series like “Easy” and “Black Mirror” beg the question: you can, but should you?

Black Mirror

Black Mirror

Laurie Sparham/Netflix

Season 2 of Joe Swanberg’s “Easy” premiered on Netflix with eight episodic episodes, following the format of the previous season. The show features an assortment of characters living in Chicago, each dealing with their own relationships. In the age of infinite television, “Easy” becomes a bit of a luxury simply because the episodes are not serialized, so theoretically, the viewer is allowed to watch the episodes in whatever order they like.

TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers discuss the anarchy of the anthology series in the latest Very Good TV Podcast. Is it against the viewer’s best interest to watch episodes out of order, even though it technically doesn’t matter?

Considering that for the purposes of streaming series like Netflix and Amazon, the creator of the series has ultimately chosen the order of the episodes in a way that is purposeful to the series and those at home watching, skipping around might prove detrimental. With a show like “Easy,” there’s no reason to jump around, the exception being to get to that Marc Maron episode faster. If Swanberg began the series on a lighter note to eventually lead into darker, more complex stories, it can be jarring when watched out of Swanberg’s intended order.

In the cases of shows with particularly squeamish content, like Netflix’s hit “Black Mirror” or Amazon’s “Lore,” the freedom to skip episodes seems favorable. After the third way-too-long ice pick scene, no one is blaming you for moving onto the next episode of Adam Mahnke’s podcast-turned-series.

Find out the best way to watch the “Star Wars” franchise and enjoy nostalgic “Friday Night Lights” banter on this week’s podcast, but don’t forget to subscribe via Soundcloud or iTunes. Make sure to follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all your TV news. Check out Liz and Ben’s twitter feeds for lots more. Plus, check out IndieWire’s other podcasts: Screen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson as well as Michael Schneider’s new podcast, Turn It On, which spotlights the most important TV of each week.

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