It's safe to say that Netflix popularized binge-watching—the streamer was the first to drop entire new seasons of TV shows at once. After more than a decade of this model, there's still much debate over whether binge-watching or watching weekly is the best way to watch a show. (I'm team binge.) For two of their recent reality shows, The Circle and Too Hot to Handle, Netflix has come up with a schedule that falls somewhere in the middle of the binge-vs-weekly debate.
The Circle season 2, which premiered April 14, follows this hybrid schedule. In case you haven't had a chance to watch, The Circle is a reality competition show where players are isolated in individual apartments and only communicate through a social media platform. The contestants compete to become the most popular member of The Circle and win $100,000, playing either as themselves or catfish the other contestants. In the first four episodes released, there have already been celebrity catfish and epic betrayals, as well as a huge twist that'll make for an epic rest of the season.
So what's the release schedule for The Circle season 2?
- Episodes 1-4 release on April 14.
- Episodes 5-8 release on April 21.
- Episodes 9-12 release on April 28.
- The finale, episode 13, releases on May 5.
This schedule takes the best of both the binge-watching and weekly-drop methods, allowing viewers to watch more than one episode a week but still stretching out the show long enough for people to have a longer discussion on social media. It worked really well last year on Twitter, where reactions on both The Circle and Too Hot to Handle season 1 trended, contributing to great ratings for both shows. The Circle season 2 will actually be more spread out than season 1, with the finale getting its own release, making the show four weeks long instead of three.
Also, each four-episode drop may be the perfect amount of content to binge-watch all at once. According to a 2017 survey, respondents binge-watched an average of five hours of content in one sitting. Plus so much happens in each drop. The first four episodes saw early favorite Savannah become an influencer, get into a feud with fellow influencer Terilisha, fall to the bottom of the rankings and get eliminated. The second four followed Courtney's mission to get Terilisha and Emily eliminated using his Inner Circle power. The third drop was fueled by the latest game-play twist involving Jack and Lisa, not to mention the race towards the finale.
Season 2's jam-packed finale will drop Wednesday, May 5, at 3 a.m. EST/12 a.m. PST, in the season's only one-episode drop. It's set to be full of drama, with finalists Chloe, Courtney, River a.k.a. Lee, Delessa a.k.a. Trevor, and John a.k.a. Jack and Lisa meeting in person for the first time. The finale teaser also shows the return of the blocked players (Savannah and Terilisha meet again!) and the in-person appearance of Michelle Buteau as she announces the winner of the $100,000 grand prize.
If four weeks still isn't enough of The Circle for you, don't worry. Too Hot to Handle is scheduled to drop on with a similar weekly-batch schedule in June, and The Circle is already renewed for a third season.