To Binge or Not To Binge: An Expert’s Guide to Marathon Viewing

Binge Watching has exploded to popularity in recent years due to instant streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. For those who don’t know, binge watching is defined as “the practice of watching television for longer time spans than usual, usually of a single television show.” (Thank You Wikipedia). The question for many this vacation season is, which shows do I watch? Not to fear, nervous reader, I’m here to help.

In a world where almost every show imaginable is available online, the plethora of shows to choose from can be overwhelming. That’s why I’ve made this handy post of what type of show ‘TO BINGE’ and ‘NOT TO BINGE’ this Thanksgiving.

parks and rec

TO BINGE:  SITCOMS

Examples: How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation (Above), The Office (US), The League.

A sitcom is a perfect binge watch show. They are lighthearted, fun, and always entertaining. After hours of viewing, its likely you’ll connect with the sitcom characters more than you’ll connect with your family this Thanksgiving. The best sitcoms last a while too, so you’ll have plenty of content to keep you from human interaction this holiday season.

twd

NOT TO BINGE: THE WALKING DEAD

Example: The Walking Dead (Above) .

Look, I love The Walking Dead as much as the next guy, but I can’t whole-heartedly recommend that show for marathon viewing. It’s too depressing.  The show realistically depicts life in the zombie apocalypse, and life in the apocalypse is no fun at all. These characters go through so much sh*t and barely ever get a happy moment. That depressing nature of the show is what makes it interesting on a weekly basis, but any more than an hour or two a week with the survivors would just make me depressed.

24

TO BINGE: SERIALIZED SHOWS

Examples: 24 (Above), Heroes (Season 1), House of Cards, Arrested Development, Lost.

If a show is serialized, that means it doesn’t tell contained episodic stories, but rather season, or even series long continued storylines.  These are the type of shows made for binge watching. I didn’t even plan on it, but when I watched 24, I would be watching 5 or 6 episodes at a time, just cause I needed to see what happened next. Shows like this are perfect marathon shows, but I should warn you there is a strong possibility they will consume your life for a few days.

IT

NOT TO BINGE: BRITISH TV

Examples: The I.T Crowd (Above), The Office (UK), Luther.

The British have a funny way of making great TV. It’s hard to argue that the TV they make is much better than the TV we make in the US. The problem is there is so little of it. They have limited seasons, which range anywhere for 3 to 10 episodes a season. If you try to binge watch a British show, it will be over before you know it. All of my examples spectacular programs, but the best way to view them is slowly, to make the most out of the limited content available.

pushing_daisies_banner

TO BINGE: FEEL-GOOD DRAMEDIES

Examples: Pushing Daisies (Above), Friday Night Lights, Parenthood.

I personally, prefer happy TV to sad TV. So, I whole-heartedly recommend these 3 shows for binge watching. They are three of the most emotional, charming, well acted and smartly written shows out there. Pushing Daisies is like nothing else on TV. It’s truly indescribable, but if you have Amazon Prime you should definitely check it out. Friday Night Lights is a modern classic, and don’t be scared off by the football, the show is about people, not sports. Parenthood is of the same mold as Friday Night Lights, only it replaces the town of Dillon, Texas with Bravermen family. Parenthood one of the only shows that makes me laugh and brings me close to tears simultaneously.  You can’t go wrong with any of these three shows.

the_newsroom_banner

NOT TO BINGE: AARON SORKIN

Examples: The West Wing, The Newsroom (Above)

I love Aaron Sorkin. I think The West Wing is one of the best-written TV shows I’ve ever seen, and while some hate it, I’ll admit The Newsroom is one of my favorite dramas on TV right now. That being said, you can’t binge watch Sorkin dialogue. The shows are too fast paced and too smart for marathon sessions. An Aaron Sorkin TV episode requires active viewership, something that you may be capable of one your first two episodes, but three or four episodes in the brain power necessary for Sorkin just won’t be there, trust me.

99

TO BINGE:  CATCH UP

Examples: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Above), Archer, Community, Person of Interest, Louie, Sherlock.

Binge Watching is the perfect way to catch up on shows all your friends are talking about. For instance, if you say wanted to know why I freaked out on Wednesday over Person Of Interest, you could marathon all 2.5 seasons this week. I know it’s a lot of work, just so you can have a conversation with me, but it would make me really happy.

In all seriousness though, now’s the time to catch up on excellent returning shows like Sherlock, Archer, Community, and Louie. If you’re looking for a smaller commitment, you could catch up on this year’s new shows that you missed out on.  For my money, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Crazy Ones are the only two shows worth the effort this season.

party

NOT TO BINGE: CANCELLED TOO EARLY

Examples: Firefly, Alphas, Party Down (Above).

A story without a proper ending can ruin a binge watching experience. Shows that were cancelled too early are fun to watch, but if you watch too quickly you’ll be left frantically searching for any updates on movie versions or Netflix revivals. While, all of these shows are good, Firefly and Party Down particularly, they aren’t the best options if you looking to truly binge on a show and not be mad at TV executives after.

Chuck_Banner

TO BINGE: DUMB FUN

Examples: Psych, Suits, Chuck (Above), Archer.

I personally love dumb, fun, entertaining TV and Movies. I recommend these shows becuase their good, fun entertainment. Chuck and Archer are delightfully nerdy takes on the spy genre. Psych’s two leads have the most chemistry of anyone on TV right now. Suits is pure entertainment, it makes very little sense once you think about it, but is exciting none-the-less. In it’s purest form, TV is entertainment, and these shows do it better than anything else on TV.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

The best thing you could probably do this Thanksgiving is spend some time with family and friends. But, if you want to avoid them by engulfing yourself in the world of TV, I hope this post helped you out.

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