Id like to think I can stop at just one, but there have been too many nights when Ive overindulged to the point that its suddenly 4 a.m. and Im ready to give up my friends, family and job for another hit.
Im a binge watcher.
Turns out I have company. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article (which ran July 12 in The Journal Gazette), bingeing – devouring multiple episodes of a series in one sitting – is one of the hottest trends in entertainment. TV series, which accounted for 20 percent of Netflixs business in 2009, now make up 60 percent of the companys business, in large part because streaming content makes it easy for viewers to keep watching episodes.
Some critics may argue that this is the worst thing to happen to television since the creation of Wipeout.
TV, like sushi, was meant to be sampled in small doses, they contend, and gorging without taking time to digest makes it impossible to properly savor.
A valid argument, but one that goes against my instincts as a TV lover.
If Ive just watched Jack Bauers condo blow up, why should I have to wait a week – or even a nanosecond – to see how he got out of it?
Binge viewing is also the best way to truly appreciate dense, multicharacter series with plots that would make William Faulkners head spin. When I have to wait a week between episodes of Breaking Bad, I almost require a flow chart to remind myself whats happening. With binge viewing, its easier to follow.
If youre just picking up the sport, start with small portions (three episodes at a time) and the following suggestions. In no time at all, youll find yourself up in the middle of the night, talking yourself into just one more.
Many who claim they watched TVs smartest, most compelling drama during its original run are most likely the offspring of the folks who swore they attended Woodstock. Stop pretending to be one of the cool kids and actually become one by exploring this crime drama.
There are finer sitcoms, but none benefits more from continuous viewing than this multilayered exploration of the Bluth family. The sitcom failed to resonate with a mass audience during its original run because, unlike other comedies, the humor relied heavily on knowing what had happened weeks, even months, before.
Sure, there are nobler, more important projects than this yarn about two aging cowboys, but watching weightier work like Roots or Holocaust in one sitting can feel too much like a homework assignment. Dove offers the perfect combination of romance, action and Robert Duvalls horndog commentary.