Why are tv series so addictive

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What happens after you watch the first episode?

I am pretty sure you were forced to watch one or two episodes of a series ,that you weren't that interested in, only to find yourself getting addicted to that series.

How many times you got totally addicted to a series just by watching the first few episodes?
I am pretty sure you think you got addicted to a certain series because you thought it was interesting but the important question here is : What makes a series interesting?

Apart from the fact that you might like certain setups or environments there are so many psychological forces that can keep you totally hooked up to a series once you watch the first few episodes.

In this article i will examine some of those powerful forces.

The psychological forces that make a series addictive

The first psychological force in here is curiosity. In my article about the popularity of game of thrones i talked about the powerful effect of curiosity on humans.

Once you are given some facts but not given the rest of the facts you will become curious to know the rest. Ever been told half a story by a friend then found yourself so curious that you kept pushing your friend to continue?

Curiosity is one of the main powerful elemenets that make TV series addictive.

Next comes the force of frustration. Game designers use that force very well to keep you attached to their games. In my article about the popularity of Angry birds i said that the frustration you experience when you see the annoying pigs laughing at you motivates you to keep playing to kill them.

In the first few episodes of a series frustration is usually built up fast. The smart writer usually knows how to grab people's attention fast by allowing them to experience frustration. One famous example of frustration is seeing an evil character doing bad things without getting punished. In such a case you might get motivated to keep watching until you see that person being punished.

When both frustration and curiosity are put together from the first episode the show can become highly addictive.

Anticipating the show

In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i explained how people find needy ones less attractive because they are overly available.

As a general rule the less available something is the more valuable it will seem. After getting frustrated and becoming curious you won't easily see the next episode of the series because you will have to wait for it.

The waiting time between episodes makes the show seem more interesting and valuable thus it becomes more addictive.

Running to a different world

Many TV series help people escape totally from their world. Whether it's the walking dead or game of thrones a person can totally escape from the stress of his world and enjoy a totally new world that has none of his personal problems. See also how people escape from reality.

Whenever people get so stressed they will usually want to escape from the stress. TV series usually provide that healthy escapement environment to so many people.

Put all of those forces together and you won't wonder why TV shows get you hooked up so fast.

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