Was All That Time I Spent Watching Netflix Worth It, I Must Know

“Recommended for Sam: SciFi/Fantasy Dramedies with a Strong Female Lead”

The first time that Netflix offered this subgenre on my list of recommended television shows, it was a moment of sudden brilliant clarity, an unexpected realization of something I didn’t know I didn’t know. I mean, I love me some Sci Fi/Fantasy Dramedies without a strong female lead (Merlin, Star Trek, Doctor Who) and I’m all over non-Sci Fi/Fantasy shows with kickass ladies (Revenge, Scandal). But that beautiful, concise phrase encapsulated my television passions and desires so perfectly that I couldn’t help but feel that everything in my life had begun to make more sense.

But then I got to thinking: how did Netflix know? How had they pulled this recommendation from the deep corners of my subconscious? I know they have their “algorithms” or whatever, but had I really watched that so many Sci Fi/Fantasy Dramedies with a Strong Female Lead that Netflix could make such an authoritative suggestion?

Yes. Yes, I had. A quick run-through of all the shows I’d recently watched revealed that I had devoted hours upon hours of my life to watching badass ladies kick vampire/demon/monster ass. I had enjoyed myself, obviously, and I can’t wait to get started on Xena or whatever, but I began to ask myself: is this addiction worth it? What have I missed out on? What have I gained?

To answer this question, I added up all of the time I’d spent watching these series (time cost) and multiplied it by my current hourly rate at work (potential pay lost) (I don’t watch at work, but it’s always good to commodify your downtime). Then I spent some time thinking about what I could have done with that time and that money and what I had gained from these shows.

Once Upon a Time
Total Time Spent: 16.5 Hours/$239.25

Opportunity Cost:
• I probably could have read a book in 16.5 hours. Maybe not an Infinite Jest, sure, but something with a little bulk.
• $239.25 would pay for this pair of Ray-Bans I’ve been eying, including shipping.

• Staring at Prince Charming’s face for a substantial number of those hours.
• Telling anyone in earshot how much I love Gennifer Goodwin’s tiny tiny hair.


The Vampire Diaries
Total Time Spent: 49.5 hours (2 days, 1.5 hours)/$717.75

Opportunity Costs:
• 3 hours a week for 16 weeks is an entire semester of ESL classes I could have taught, enriching the lives of others and improving my Spanish.
• A car ride to and from Seattle.

• Fierce Team Damon v. Team Stephen debates
• That moment when Catherine realizes she can totally and convincingly impersonate Elena if she just straightens her hair
• Gratuitous shirtlessness


Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Total Time Spent: 108 hours (4 days, 12 hours)/$1566

Opportunity Costs:
• In 3.5 hours, I could probably bake a cake from scratch. With 108 hours, I could have baked a cake everyday for a month. SO MUCH CAKE.
• $1500 is a pretty solid downpayment for a car, probably.

• The unadulterated campiness of the first season
• The fifth season when suddenly Buffy is a fully developed character and there are so many tears


Total Time Spent: 132 hours (5 days, 12 hours)/$1914

Opportunity Costs:
• $1914 is about the most I’ve ever had in my bank account at one time.
• If I’d spent 132 hours actively applying for grad school, I’d bet I’d be there by now.

• Deciding whether you’re a Pru, a Piper, a Phoebe, or a Paige is a nice break from the typical Carrie/Miranda/Charlotte/Samantha debate.
• You really get a good glimpse into early-2000’s feminism (“As women we may be governed by our feelings, but we can channel that hysteria into secret powers!”)
• So many parallel-universe or old-timey costume episodes.


Conclusion: $4437 in hypothetical lost productivity is a lot, but, hey, it’s hypothetical, so who cares? The wasted 306 hours (almost 13 full days!), though, is a depressing and harrowing figure. I should be more productive! I should get things done! I should change my ways!

I will, too. I swear. Once I get through Fringe.


Sam Blackwell lives in Minneapolis.


50 Comments / Post A Comment

cryptolect (#1,135)

Xena is so worth it, at least until it gets all dark and depressing.

kellyography (#250)

@cryptolect Xena has held up! I re-watched the whole series last year, and was not disappointed. I have re-watched nearly all of Charmed in the past few months. I am not worried about being unproductive, especially because all of my “regular” shows are on summer hiatus, so why not watch an episode or two of Sci Fi with a Strong Female Lead every night?

cryptolect (#1,135)

@kellyography We made our way through Xena over a couple of years by watching it with breakfast on the weekends. Then we tried Hercules, but… there’s a reason why people still talk about Xena much, much more.

bgprincipessa (#699)

Theoretically, giving yourself breaks makes your working hours more productive. (Not just work-work, but any productive time like cleaning or whatever.)
But then there’s the bottomless pit of addiction. There are always more good shows to watch.
TV shows hook me so much more easily than movies do.

Netflix recommended something similar for me – maybe it was Dramas/Musicals with A Strong Female Lead? I don’t have the app on my phone to check but I have no doubt I have spent many, many hours watching exactly what they described.

@polka dots vs stripes And yes, it is totally worth it.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

Team Damon.

megsy (#1,565)

I watched Alias. All of Alias. From season 1 episode 1 to season whatever episode the end. In the span of a week or so. I’m sure I could have been doing more useful things, but what I really took away from Alias was the following:
- it’s ridiculous that Sydney was doing missions while noticeably, hugely pregnant
- even in flats, Sydney walked funny
- the plotting became fairly desperate at the end
- anywhere I travel, I am going to end up dead and it’s all Sydney Bristow’s fault.

I find the themes of the show & its release (in late September 2001) rather interesting and I found that I had to remember what the world was like in those early months and years after 9/11. So, that’s partially how I justified watching Alias. It was a study of pop culture. Or something.

Li'l Sebastian (#3,297)

@megsy Oh, buddy, nothing justifies the time you spent on Season 3, the worst season of television ever maybe. I say as a former diehard Alias fan.

megsy (#1,565)

@Li’l Sebastian season 3 was particularly… special. But season 5? Was season 3 really worse than season 5? Was I extra judgmental while watching season 5, perhaps, because I binge watched and by that point I just wanted it over with?

faceifer (#3,162)

@megsy Season 5 was the worst. I basically stopped watching when Vaughn left, and caught the last few episodes when he came back. Had to see how it all ended at that point. It had been SO GOOD in the beginning…

Blondsak (#2,299)

I like to think of Netflix the same way I think of drinking at home: Yes, I am spending time and money to go out and buy booze, but if I couldn’t do that I would instead be going out to the bar and paying way more per drink + time spent traveling. Thus, drinking at home saves me money and time.

Netflix works the same way: before I had Netflix, I was spending ~$10/wk renting out DVDs of Six Feet Under to binge on, and seeing a movie perhaps every other week ($12). I was still doing the thing I enjoy, but at much greater cost.

Bottom line: if you know you enjoy it (whatever it is), you will probably find a way to do it no matter what. So, might as well bask in the fact that at least you have chosen the cheapest route.

cryptolect (#1,135)

So… any Dollhouse fans here? That show had so much potential! I mean, if you ignore the enormous plot holes inherent to the premise.

Non-anonymous (#1,288)

@cryptolect I like Dollhouse a lot! I’m glad it at least got a second season, into which they crammed two or three year’s worth of plot. Compared to Joss Whedon’s other three TV series (so far), I’d say Dollhouse has less compelling characters, but a much more interesting premise than any of the others.

faceifer (#3,162)

@cryptolect Yes, I loved Dollhouse! Liked it better than Firefly even. But not more than Buffy. Never more than Buffy. <3Joss

Niko Bellic (#311)

I watch Netflix *while* I work. It’s a win-win.

Apocalypstick (#3,987)

Depending on the recipe and size, it takes a little over half an hour to bake a cake from scratch.

selenana (#673)

@Apocalypstick Yeah. Maybe an hour if it’s fiddly and you’re making frosting too. Maybe with cooling times? I dunno. It doesn’t take that long.

Apocalypstick (#3,987)

@selenana Oh yeah, cooling time takes a while, but you can make frosting while the cake’s in the oven, or do cupcakes in two batches to cut wasted time and buy the love of all your friends through baked goods.

lakawak (#4,475)

First off…you are a blogger. Your time is worthless. Second of all, NO ONE’S free time is worth the same as their work time. Otherwise, people would have to value a movie at like $80 in order to want to see it. If you COULDN’T be earning that salary when you are doing something, then your time is not worth that. And the vast majority of people don’t have jobs that they can do any time, and as much as they want for the same hourly rate.

I get paid a stipend, so technically the MORE I watch Netflix instead of doing work, the higher my effective hourly pay.

Although, technically if that were true someone who gets paid a salary but doesn’t work (a “job” at a dude’s company to launder his mistress maybe?) makes infinity dollars per hour.

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! scrap my car

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting green coffee bean weight loss

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. Phoenix Divorce Attorney

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. banff lodging deals

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. Rheumatoid arthritis pain relief

Thank you for the great article I did enjoyed reading it, I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from again. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a good day ATV storage

Interesting. I would agree that focusing on growth vs cost control during the early stages of a business is ideal, however, there will be a point when that shifts. rattanpol-garden.pl

I love the humor your post has offered. I enjoyed this site a lot. Keep posting article like this. It is fun. Nice photography too! katalonia.com.pl

You there, this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information. Quality content is what always gets the visitors coming.. fotoparty.com.pl

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. wydawnictwo-ssl.pl

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. hqprint.pl

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. cms-partner.pl

This is cool post and i enjoy to read this post. your blog is fantastic and you have good staff in your blog. nice sharing keep it up. maneno.pl

Hmmm that’s nice.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site. decofactory.pl

Self storage facility demand is increasing day by day. If you are looking for ways to find cheap storage in San Clemente we are here to help you everytime. San Clemente Self Storage has been the leading provider of storage units in the City of San Clemente since 1999. For more info cheap storage

A wedding is a blend of emotions, rituals and culture where two families and two unknown souls meet and become one. Every couple wants their wedding album to be unique with a touch of innovation. A photographer will capture all the special moments and memories from the day so it can be remembered forever. blueberry-studio.com

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. college dorm life tips

I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. Trash & Junk Haul-Away Services

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Laptop Screen Replacement

peterparker (#5,953)

I am not disappointed watching. I mean it is Sci Fci alright? I love it actually. And the funny thing is that the lead role is done by a female. It is hilarious for me. Some of things she does make me laugh all day. It is worth watching I guess.
operating systems for computers

Finding a good technical translation service is not a very simple task as you would need to check various factors. We are one of the well-known translation in Germany. Within the last 30 years, our company has based its long-standing experience and high quality standards of translation, but also in the task of interpreting field establish successful. Spanisch Deutsch

In today’s world, there is a huge need for translation services, and yet, increasing numbers of people only know one language. That’s why the best agencies are so highly sought after. We are one of the largest translation and interpreting agencies in Germany. Our range also includes the possibility to make technical translations in a given country on the spot. Visit here Russisch Deutsch

Your fabulous information processing system selections a well-favored content and very necessary information that supply province new issue to explore in my project. I found what i actually demanded. Lake Louise Hotels

This is a really great post I found some really good information here I’ve got lots of followers on twitter and I will tell all of them about this as I really think it’s great information that more people should see keep up the good work be back again soon. Daily Grind Bangsar

davidwatson053 (#6,148)

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about information and love learning more on this. If possible,it was extremely helpful for me.
Online Shopping In Pakistan

Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world. But most travellers don’t leave the airport and use Atlanta as a connection hub. Believe me, this city has much more to offer than departure halls and the headquarter of CocaCola. Worldtop7.com features a list of the best hotels in Atlanta and offers also a bunch of great restaurants in the capital of Georgia. Best Hotels Atlanta

BeckyDow (#6,556)

Netflix is doing some good changes.

Michael Watts (#6,839)

This article is well written and very informative. This is such a great resource that you are providing. Nice sharing!
Write my research paper

I just want to extend my gratitude to the person who published this magnificent article. This article really helped me to accomplish a task that I had pending for a long time now. Cheers! Capture His Heart and Make Him Love You Forever Review

Post a Comment