Binge Watching

Television is consumed much differently now than when I was growing up. In those distant days before pervasive home video recording, if you missed a programme* then you just had to hope for a repeat. You watched one episode at a time, and you often ended up missing episodes because it was not always possible to be in front of the magic glowing box at the same time every week. If you had a video recorder you could time-shift a bit, but watching a film at home involved going to a video rental store – the only realistic way to own a copy of anything was to record it off the telly.

But now? Now it’s not just films you can find on video but entire boxed sets of a series. Programmes are available online after broadcast so you can catch up even if you don’t have a recorder to help with the time shift. Seeing every episode is the norm rather than the domain of the obsessive**.

Now we can binge-watch entire seasons in a weekend.

Here are a few suggestions for the next time you have a weekend to kill.

Doctor Who

I wrote about my long-standing relationship to Doctor Who last year, but in short…

Thanks to a bout of stomach flu last year, I went from having seen almost none of the new Doctor Who episodes to having seen most of them in just a few days. Each episode stands alone (usually), but there are some impressively long-lasting story arcs across this series.

Battlestar Galactica

I am talking here about the recent reboot rather than the 1980s show. I enjoyed the original show when it was broadcast, but this the newer one is incredibly addictive television. I remember borrowing the pilot from a friend and watching the whole three hour presentation in one evening and just not being able to stop.

That addictive quality continues on for a good part of the run. It lost the intensity a bit in the third season, but watching this in a binge is the perfect way to get past the slower parts.

Game of Thrones

We do not have cable and therefore could not watch any of these as they were first shown: we buy the DVD set and then inhale it over a few short nights.

Although this post is about binge-watching, we actually try to limit our consumption to just a couple of episodes at a time so as to spin out the new material for as long as we can. Once they are all done, though, we’ll be watching all of them again in one go.

Daredevil

This is a show original to Netflix, and it’s a doozy.

Forget everything about the Daredevil film. The basic premise of the character is the same, but the way the story is told and the topics that it deals with are so much grittier and more engaging than the glossy story anchored by Ben Affleck’s rather wooden portrayal.

The storytelling is beautiful too. There are origin details scattered throughout this telling, but they are dropped in like seasoning and add to the tension in the now.

What series do you recommend to binge watch?

[*] computer program, but television programme. That’s my usage anyway. Feel free to correct me in your head.

[**] which, in fairness, I was.

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