A couple years back, my pal Brad Wochomurka was trying to catch up on "24" before the new season started. He had the DVDs and wanted to watch it in "real time." I don't think he made it through, but this kind of "burst watching" is becoming more the norm. With DVDs, Tivo, and Hulu, there's no reason to wait.
(Speaking of waiting, the longer I wait for Obama's announcement, the more I note that his campaign hasn't made a good decision since Iowa.)
The problem is that I *do* have to wait. Heroes (Season 3) won't be done and on DVD until this time next year. Pineapple Express is in theaters, but I want to watch at home on my couch. The concept of "windowing" is as antiquated as a weekly serial. If there's a premium to be had, why not make it available? The Wire kind of did this, releasing an episode a week before normal airtime on HBO On Demand. Why not do this more? Or for the whole season?
NBC is trying to be innovative with a show sponsored by Chevrolet. We've seen 24 debut with limited commercials. There have been a couple others that tried this model. Why not push out a DVD or better, trade a bunch of personal info for a show. Look, I'm not buying a Chevrolet -- I'm not in their market -- but I'm guessing that a Christian Slater spy serial must be in the sweet spot of their demographics.
Burst watching, TVD box sets, a la carte cable, and digital on demand, all to come back to the Texaco Star Theater model? I'd hope that we can do better. Dr. Horrible might be bigger than any show this season when we look back on the entertainment landscape.