The nights are getting longer and the weather is getting colder…so I’m ready to cocoon in my Carolina home and binge. As alarming as that sounds, I assure you that I’m not doing myself any harm other than eyestrain and an ever-widening bottom. I’m referring to binge-watching, the latest television trend. To “binge” on TV is to watch voluminous hours of television in one long sitting. Are you guilty?
My personal demi-god, Bruce Springsteen, recorded a song in the early 1990s called “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).” 20 years later, I have hundreds of channels (and still nothin’ on), but thankfully I also have a DVR, on-demand cable, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Netflix. I have all the technology I need for a gluttonous stint of watching multiple episodes of my favorite shows.
In no particular order, here are my 10 top TV shows worth mainlining:
- Homeland on Showtime on Demand is full of intrigue and plot twists … and Claire Danes! I’ve been told I look a bit like Mandy Patinkin, the “Saul Berenson” character on the show. Here I am (I mean Mandy) with Claire Danes.
- Speaking of Claire Danes (as I do often), Hulu subscribers can binge on My So-Called Life, a terrific but short-lived teen drama with the precocious and charming Danes.
- If I want to feel part of the aristocratic Crawley family, I can gorge on all four seasons of Downton Abbey … one of the most successful TV shows world-wide. And if you don’t like it, then oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper! It’s on Hulu.
- I include Breaking Bad here, if only because I know so many folks were addicted (no pun intended) to that show. Maybe I’ll binge-watch it on Netflix this Holiday season … it sounds cheery. Plus, I love the song that closed the series.
- Oh, how I enjoyed thirtysomething, now available on Amazon Video. I was a baby boomer yuppie in my late 30’s when the show aired, so I was right there with them … whining about the same pathetic stuff.
- House of Cards, an intense political drama set in modern-day Washington, DC, debuted on Netflix this year, and it’ll return in 2014. This is the show that proved that producing TV expressly to stream and binge upon is no longer the future. As director David Fincher said, “The captive audience is gone. If you give people this opportunity to mainline all in one day, there’s reason to believe they will do it.”
- Netflix also has Scandal, an over-the-top melodrama starring the amazing (and gorgeous) Kerry Washington. My wife and daughter are obsessed with this show. Should I be worried?
- Hipsters may miss the obvious ironies in the terrific IFC series Portlandia, available via Netflix. Folkies, feminists, radical vegans, anarchists, and more are all lampooned in this hilarious comedy that stars former SNL standout Fred Armisen and rocker Carrie Brownstein.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO series that’s been around for 8 seasons, and it is absolutely binge-worthy. Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, stars as himself … and his tics, vanities, faults, anxieties and neuroses can provide hours of entertainment for those of us with no tics, vanities, faults, etc.
- Another funny one on HBO on Demand is Veep, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer. The show is about to begin its third season, and Dreyfus’s sophisticated, furiously sharp comedic timing is not to be missed.
I could also mention Mad Men (Netflix), X-Files (Hulu) and the “space western” Firefly (Netflix). And then there’s Lost … complete with the smoke monster and the polar bear. Clearly, binge-watching could replace other critical activities, like bathing and paying bills.
Let’s spread this TV catnip further. What will you be bingeing upon this winter?
By Tom Gongaware (General Sales Manager, Triangle Region)