Right after the invention of the TV, huge swaths of a population were watching the same shows on what few channels there were. Being exposed to the same stories, the same values on display, there was a shared understanding.
Now, it’s difficult for me to even get my wife to watch the same thing as me. There are multiple TV’s in each house, all with on-demand programming in the form of streaming services. Add in the available media online and the world is significantly fractured in understanding each other.
Don’t get me wrong, watching the same show as someone isn’t the only one way to understand each other, but it offers a way to connect with someone who isn’t present in a certain time and place, but is sharing the same experience. Like a coworker for example watching the same show at his house you are at yours, with the opportunity to talk about it tomorrow.
Perhaps, even though it seems like it’s a waste to not watch exactly the thing you want to watch, watching something someone else recommends is a way to connect or understand. It may not be what you want, or what you think is good, but perhaps being exposed to what others think is different can open up the mind to new possibilities.
P.S. Without a small number of shows on a fixed schedule it is harder than ever to find something in common culturally with people, and instead the world is turning to non-stop political bickering instead as the only source of discussion that is always available.