When I was growing up, a TV show was something you watched gradually. Each week you would wait patiently for a particular time slot, and only then would you get to see the further adventures of your favorite fictional characters.
The arc of any given make-believe universe could take five or even seven years to run its course, during which everyone on the show would slowly get older. For example, actors who started as children would gradually grow up, week after month after year, and end up playing the young adult version of their character.
Eventually producers came up with the brilliant “something for everyone” concept in shows like “The Brady Bunch” and “The Waltons”, casting a boy and a girl on screen for each age range among the audience. This made it much nicer for entire families to watch together. For every child in your family, at least one character in the show was their own (gradually changing) age.
Now, with such a plethora of TV shows available instantly on the Internet, I know almost nobody anymore who watches TV this way. We all find a show we like on sites like NetFlix — often a show that was cancelled some years earlier — and do triage on the entire series. Children become grown-ups, while grown-ups age, right before our eyes. In the course of perhaps several weeks we can watch an entire series of four or five seasons or more.
A representation of life is being played out before our eyes in extreme fast forward. In the long run, I wonder what this will do to our sense of reality.