Falling down a Netflix hole, as we all know, is a perilously easy thing to do.
There you are at 10pm, snuggling down under your duvet with the best intentions in the world. “I’ll just watch one episode of It’s Only Sunny in Philadelphia, then I’ll go to sleep,” you think, flipping open your laptop.
Next thing you know, the clock reads 3.42am and you are, against all the odds, still watching. But don’t worry – it’s not just your total lack of willpower that makes those late-night Netflix sessions so irresistible.
Apparently, most shows have a bingeing tipping point: a certain episode after which resistance is futile. Netflix defines a "hooked episode" as one where 70% of viewers who watch it proceed to cane their way through the rest of season one of the same series – and they’ve just revealed the exact episodes that get us addicted to their most popular shows.
The viewing habits of Netflix members around the world, including the UK, were analysed to identify exactly when people started bingeing. Researchers discovered that shows within the “thriller/horror/crime” genre, such as Winona Ryder’s cult sci-fi thriller Stranger Things, tend to suck viewers in the earliest. The tipping point for Stranger Things is episode two – where Barb disappears from the pool.
It’s episode three that tends to get viewers addicted to Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant 1970s hip-hop drama The Get Down, after they’re introduced to an unexpected new love story.
Making a Murderer, American Horror Story and Prison Break all take slightly longer to entrap viewers, at four episodes each. In cult true-crime documentary Making a Murderer, episode four contains the first major twist in the series – after Brendan Dassey confesses to the murder his uncle was convicted for.
Gilmore Girls fans take more convincing to watch an entire series in one go, with most viewers only binge-watching the first season after episode seven (in which Rory has her first kiss, natch). But when you consider that it would take around 14 hours to watch the entire first season of the cosy American comedy-drama, you can understand why that might seem a bit much.
In potentially depressing news, recent research suggests that getting stuck into a good Netflix session is now the most popular Saturday night activity among young people. Watching a new TV series or film on a service like Netflix was found to be the ideal way of spending a Saturday night for more 30% of people aged 18-30, according to a survey by Freesat – with only 27% saying that they’d rather go out with friends to a bar, pub or club.