If you want to instantly befriend someone, anyone in New York at least, from lacquered socialites to lauded artists, just ask them what TV show they can’t stop marathon-watching. Why can’t we get enough of television in fourteen hour form, even in a year when our movie theaters were filled with particularly remarkable films?

There’s something about the binge-watch, something about the glimmer in a person’s eye after they ‘fess up to having finished Breaking Bad in just three weeks that indicates something important about human needs. Upon closer analysis, the TV series binge-watching trend is an important cultural tell for the future of entertainment, as we have great reasons to crave our TV sprees:

1. We desperately needed an excuse to mentally check out.

Talk about another human need that the film industry could have seen coming if they were paying attention… The world got more overwhelming and unfair, banks collapsed, mortgages defaulted, the economy stuttered to a halt in multiple industries. An excuse to check out of society, a gigantic grownup snow day, was the greatest thing anyone could invent post-2008.

Approximately one month ago, while the media anticipated the House of Cards season two release, many of the stories built in the supposition that viewers would consume the 10+ hours of content in one sitting. No surprise when exactly that happened by weekend’s end, as the media seemed to grant us permission to bury ourselves under our own covers for a while. We’ve all always had the right to lie in bed all Sunday, now we have the societally acceptable excuse to do it. It’s the new way to view art. 

Nowadays Hollywood studios aren’t happy until the whole world is watching the same billion dollar picture, and they want to take as few structural and political gambles on these films as is possible.

2. It’s finally cool to save money by cutting cable.

Most financial cutbacks are painful, even embarrassing —  lowering our personal expenses can mean anything from forgoing dinners out to changing neighborhoods. Netflix’s original programming gracefully entered the national conversation at a time when many people were quietly looking for ways to have fun on the cheap. The great thing about Netflix (and to some extent, its competitors) was that it felt like the opposite of scrimping—heck, thanks to the emergence of long-long-long form programming, Netflix even felt indulgent.

3. The Hollywood blockbuster has jumped the shark.

Try and remember the last big summer film that took an interesting risk. Why have our “destination films” gotten so generic; why does it seem like every cinematic conflict is about man battling the end of the earth? Nowadays Hollywood studios aren’t happy until the whole world is watching the same billion dollar picture, and they want to take as few structural and political gambles on these films as is possible, as the above-linked NYT article explains: "The challenge for filmmakers is getting past the Chinese censors, who typically demand that their country is never portrayed negatively. But the villains can no longer be from Russia either. That country has also become a crucial Hollywood growth area.” And let’s not even get into the product placements, visually and audibly transforming America’s movies into adverts whenever possible.

Combine internationally researched, low-risk storytelling with corporate advertising and it’s easy to see why commercial Hollywood is collectively retelling a giant non-story, why our summer movies have become a meth house of Fortune 500 deals and product placements. Emily Nussbaum has written about how television has not escaped the drudgery of the product placement deal either, and she’s right, but at least television is making the leap into modernity while still creating its Hannah Horvaths and Frank Underwoods, characters who would supremely piss off a whole bunch of “key target markets” in monitored focus groups.

Netflix gave us the binge-watch, the filtering algorithm, the end of Blockbuster, the end of the late fee, even end of the by-mail DVD. What’s next?

4. ‘Home’ as a venue rocks (and it will only get better).

Projectors, surround sound, 3-D, all of the state-of-the-art systems are decreasing in price (and in major cities, the rumors of bed bugs came along and sealed the movie-theaters-are-over deal for many, the perfect digestif).

The theater as destination has not only lost its luster, it’s failed to innovate in even the most blazingly obvious ways; why has no chain even bothered to strike up a deal with Panera Bread, serving custom sandwiches and salads? 1800s street food was more sophisticated than the snacks currently available for purchase at your average AMC.

5. Seamless’s IPO is no coincidence.

Not only has the home theater experience transformed from a technological standpoint, soon many more people will soon be able to order their dinner via Seamless and watch their meal arrive on a Food Tracker, all while bunkered in for their Friday night binge. Thoughtful delivery and catering services Blue Apron, Caskers, and Kitchit offer even more excuses to keep us at home, or at the homes of friends. All of these ancillary at-home trends affect the entertainment industry.

6. Netflix is a masterful innovator.

Netflix gave us the binge-watch, the filtering algorithm, the end of Blockbuster, the end of the late fee, even end of the by-mail DVD. What’s next? Who knows.

The great part about Netflix’s inventions is that the company has an ability to ask not what people want, but what people don’t know they want.

In the future, imagine celebrity guests to curate “binges” of movies and YouTube clips. (Ever wanted to listen to a movie star or a director talk about why they love all their favorites? I have a couple of times, and it’s a riveting experience.) Imagine this type of offering in a partnership with Coursera, creating the world’s first free, online film school. Imagine Netflix offering first look deals to the most promising graduates, making its money back that way instead of charging people to learn. 

Jess Kimball Leslie is a trend spotter in New York City.