Hollywood Headlines: Netflix Knows Exactly When You Get Hooked to a TV Show

Watching a TV show on Netflix is a little like flying a spaceship near a black hole. You can only be casual about it for so long. If you go too far, you’ll eventually encounter a point of no return. Once you cross this threshold, gravity takes hold, and there’s nothing you can do to escape. You should just resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to end up binge-watching the entire series.

But where exactly is this event horizon? How many episodes of a series do you have to watch before you become hopelessly enmeshed in the world of the show, and compelled to finish it? Netflix recently crunched some data to find out.

The sharing service’s analysts were specifically trying to figure how the number of episodes that someone needed to watch to give them a 70 percent chance of finishing the first season. And they discovered that number varies a lot from show to show.

Here’s a chart illustrating Netflix’s findings:

Among the series the team looked at, the ones that hooked viewers the quickest were “Bates Motel” and “Breaking Bad.” It took viewers just two episodes to get on board with these two. The show that took the longest was “How I Met Your Mother” — at a whopping eight episodes.

ABC is reportedly developing yet another show from “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” producer Shonda Rhimes, a drama about a team of military doctors working out of Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The script is being written by longtime “Grey’s Anatomy” producer Zoanne Clark, herself a doctor with expertise in emergency medicine.

That’s in addition to “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” three Shondaland dramas that air back-to-back Thursday on ABC, plus a forthcoming (if slightly troubled) drama about a fraud investigator called “The Catch.”

The only other TV producer working today comparable to Rhimes in terms of prolificness is Chuck Lorre, the creative force behind wildly popular CBS comedies such as “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” who once had four shows on the air at the same time. What makes the comparison even more striking, moreover, is that Lorre has been writing for TV since 1984 — and Rhimes’ first show was “Grey’s Anatomy,” which debuted in 2005.

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