The TV box set is a thing. It’s so much a thing that it has now detached itself from its own material: a box set is no longer a TV series collected as a set and presented in a box, it is now simply the thing, collected, and placed in a set completely agnostic to the process of boxing. Here’s an example: Sky TV actively promotes watching “box sets” as part of its online services. So you can watch a box set on a computer without ever seeing a box, because the box doesn’t exist except as a metaphor within the marketing material. When I challenged them as to how a video on the Internet could be described as being in a box, Sky’s social media people seemed confused by the question as though through some Orwellian process a box set had always never been in a box.
But why should a company like Sky be so keen to sell us a TV box set in the first place? Well Sky are a very shrewd and successful media company and so they know about things like supply and demand. They also know about trend-spotting and how to make the most of changes in viewing practices. They’ve spotted that you like box sets of glossy telly – they probably knew you liked TV box sets before you did – and so they want to sell them to you. Continue reading “101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No. 63: TV Box Sets”