There’s something about watching television shows over the internet that makes commercials absolutely unbearable. Even though a network like ABC shows far fewer ads online than the ol’ boob tube, these interruptions feel so wrong, so out of place. And because they nicely mark the commercials on the video timeline, you’re left to count down the seconds until the next break. Couple this with the fact that these shows are still filmed and edited with traditional time allowances in mind (doing the well-known “fade to black, fade back in, and repeat the previous scene a little bit” every few minutes), and you get an experience that is odd, to say the least. ABC even makes you click to continue watching the show once the ad has ended. Why? Just in case I left to get a drink and pee during the commercial like I do when I watch your shows in the living room? In that case, thanks, I guess. But it’s still annoying, especially if I am watching the ad. If I want to pee, I know where the pause button is.
Like reading books on computer screens, television on the web doesn’t quite feel right just yet. But I don’t think I can ever go back to 18 minutes of commercials during an hour-long show. Somehow, taking forty-three minutes of my time (versus sixty) seems much, much more reasonable, even if it’s still a little awkward.