Ever needed a more specialized Letterboxd for television junkies that tells you exactly how long it takes to binge a show without commercials, and more? Introducing Bingeclock, the only force on the interwebs willing to quantify the experience of watching entire seasons of TV in one sitting and reward audiences for it.
In an age where streaming is king and episodes are released together, Bingeclock’s primary function is to inform viewers on how much time is needed to finish one season of TV without pausing, so we can plan our schedules down to the last task. Amid a busy work life and various social and personal commitments, such careful prep ensures we have sufficient space for anything we want or need in a day — on top of enjoying our favorite shows. Knowing exactly how long a season is guarantees time is never wasted and we’ll never go overboard, routinely mumbling to ourselves, “One episode more and I’ll go pick up the kids.” That method has never really worked and Bingeclock knows it. Why rely on flawed estimates when you can leave it all up to math?
The website has a growing repository of shows that tells how long each season takes to binge-watch. Users are encouraged to register and sign in to track their progress. Like Letterboxd, Bingeclock allows users to cobble together a to-watch list, a list of shows already seen, and films they’re going to marathon or are about to. That’s right; Bingeclock (rightly) considers movie marathons another form of binge-watching and has a detailed tally of runtimes — reformatted in hours and days — for users to pore over. Television remains its biggest strength, however. Episodes that haven’t aired yet are given special treatment, in the case of shows that follow a weekly schedule or premiere on cable TV.
Bingeclock has a little of everything, and it continues to add more features based on user feedback. Under Tools, it offers a binge-watch suggestion engine — or Bingeidea — that churns out ideas on what to see next based on one’s last seen series and comprehensive watch history. There’s also a premiere anniversary calculator, an invaluable widget for looking up when a show premiered a season and how long it’s been since that date and other successive milestones. And finally, a random episode generator — for audiences stumped on where to start with a series they’ve already seen a hundred times over. It pulls up exact seasons and episode numbers, so binge-watching them could feel like the first time all over again. Members can also share memes in a protected forum, to encourage discussion following particularly enjoyable binges. A stardate calculator is also in the works, for fans of Star Trek hoping to convert Gregorian and Julian calendars into working stardates.
Though Bingeclock certainly has its uses, an outspoken majority has criticized the need for such a website. Runtimes are easily Googleable and converted to hours on a browser. Duration is already listed out by streamers as part of episode descriptions. Watch lists are widely available on places like Letterboxd and IMDB, and unlike Bingeclock, these are accessible on the go via mobile applications. Streamers already offer recommendations and randomizing episodes can be accomplished (easily) without the assistance of an online tool. Social media remains the Internet’s primary purveyor of memes and social discourse, and a show’s premiere date isn’t difficult to look up. Bingeclock is essentially a glorified calculator, redundant and unnecessary. Its general interface isn’t even the most intuitive to rummage through. Well, at least we get points for participating, though the central advantage of which remains to be seen.
Still, Bingeclock may appeal to those with an obsessive-compulsive need for organized schematics and timetable managers with specialized purpose. Some people do require an app to spoonfeed information to them, and this website does exactly that.