TV Marathons

The New York Times recently wrote an interesting story about people “binge-viewing” TV shows—or watching all the episodes of a season in one burst—and how it’s changing the way executives think about programming. It made me laugh to think how many times I’ve done that. Back in my single days, I went on crazy jags with Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Gray’s Anatomy. Alex and I have done it with Mad Men and Homeland. We tried to do it with Breaking Bad, but I started having nightmares and couldn’t handle it.

The funny thing about watching TV shows all in a row is that they get in your head. You start thinking like the characters with the same slang and intonation, and you almost forget it’s not real life. At least, that’s happened to me:)

Which TV shows have you watched like this? Reveal below…

  1. I love binge watching. My boyfriend and I recently did The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, and I just started Reign.

  2. Ha! We totally binge watch and by that I mean a couple episodes a night, most nights, until we finish a series. We’re usually late to the party, so we did this with Mad Men, Breaking Bad and now we’re onto Homeland. I totally get what you mean by the Breaking Bad nightmares. They hit me too/

  3. I wasn’t aware there was a name for what my husband and I have been doing these past few years since we got married…so it’s binge viewing alright..
    here’s our list so far:
    roswell, smallville, heroes, everybody hates chris, arrested development, the office, dexter, true blood, 30 rock, the walking dead, breaking bad, game of thrones, modern family, hannibal, bates motel and currently with Benedict Cumberbatch aka Sherlock. He just made the list of celebrities I’m allowed to sleep with by the way. :p

    • Gosh, I feel bad not mentioning the very show I’m binge watching as of late. Mad Men.. oh and we also did watch American Horror Story. I like being scared and anxious and feeling embarrassed while watching a show (Michael Scott’s awkward situations anyone?).

  4. The same exact thing happened to me with Breaking Bad!! My husband was able to watch it all the way through, but I had to stop in the first season (that episode with the acid and bathtub gave me nightmares for weeks).

    We also started binge watching Mad Men when we first got married and had to stop because it was all about infidelity and it was depressing while we were in newlywed mode. We started up again a couple of years later and were able to handle it better.

    I’m excited that Netflix is doing this with Arrested Development and House of Cards.

  5. My husband and I have been binge watching the Mentalist lately. Guilty pleasure.

  6. House of Cards. Thirteen episodes released on Netflix on the same day. Enough said.

  7. Picking up on the characters’ language – yes! Dexter is dangerous to binge-watch with Deb throwing the f word in every sentence – it’s contagious! Thanks for sharing the article, Joanna!

  8. Spartacus (love!), Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, True Blood, The Walking Dead.

  9. C says...

    Homeland! Newsroom. Downtown Abbey. I love these shows. I don’t have time to watch tv on a weekly basis so when I do have down time, I enjoy binge viewing. But you’re right, the shows get into your head. :-)

  10. I did that with How I Met Your Mother for the first 5 seasons or so, and for some reason I decided to watch all of Frasier (I blame Netflix!)

  11. I love doing that. i know it’s bad, but it’s so much fun.
    I’ve done it with Ugly betty. and i sometimes do it with one specific cooking show(Nigella Lawson, Alton Brown) i don’t know if that counts, but it’s a good time.

  12. We were able to marathon the first three seasons of Breaking Bad, but when we hit season 4, I had to stop after 1 episode. Then I’d need some comedy to watch before bed!

  13. Battlestar Gallactica, The Sopranos and most of the above. Crazy!

  14. I have binged on Alias, Lost, Arrested Development, and most recently, Pretty Little Liars! Oh and Dance Moms…guilty pleasure. :)

  15. I just did that this past weekend while we were snowed in; watched all 13 “chapters” of House of Cards. I am now anxiously awaiting Season 2!

  16. I just did that this past weekend while we were snowed in; watched all 13 “chapters” of House of Cards. I am now anxiously awaiting Season 2!

  17. Thank you Jo for sharing the NYT article on binge-viewing.

    This will be an interesting point to discuss with my broadcasting students :)

  18. Thank you Jo for sharing the NYT article on binge-viewing.

    This shall be an interesting point to discuss with my broadcasting students :)

  19. My fiance and I watched about 14 hours of Downton Abby in two days. It was crazy, we finally got up to get food. I felt like I was literally living in 1920s England by the time Monday rolled around !!!

  20. ha! i just did this with greys anatomy….i remember doing it with greys a few years back when meredith was all dark and twisty and i was so depressed! and they were totally my bffs for a week:)

  21. I watched all 7 seasons of The West Wing in 5 weeks. Ive also done Felicity. And How I Met Your Mother. I always go through a mourning phase of missing the characters. My hubs thinks me pathetic.

  22. House M.D. for sure! I’ve started with Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve noticed that I cry ridiculous amounts so I’ve cut down haha!

  23. Haha. It’s amazing what a phenomenon this has become. We did it with Arrested Development, Friday Night Lights, Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad. My parents had been trying to get us to watch Breaking Bad for a couple of years but I couldn’t get past the third episode. But we gave in and started watching two weeks before our fifth child was born. It got us through the waiting period. We watched the last two episodes in the hospital while our newborn slept. We had to use closed captioning so as not to scare the couple we had to share a room with!

  24. I had never seen Lost, but everybody was getting excited for the final season. So I watched all six seasons in about six months, getting progressively more weirded out by the show. Then just getting angry at how stupid it was, but trying to push through. I couldn’t wait til it was over, but I couldn’t stop. That’s pretty symptomatic of a binge! By the final episode, I was yelling at the TV every few minutes. It wasn’t a great six months.

  25. I’ve done it with pretty much any hit TV show (and manymany others)… yikes! That’s a lot of TV. I’ve been binge-watching TV shows for years now, probably since 2007, it started with Grey’s Anatomy and House. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to do this :D
    Netflix instant has definitely helped this addiction. Right now I’m watching The West Wing! I’m paying much more attention to politics as a consequence. When I was watching Downton Abbey a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t stop thinking in a British accent haha!

  26. True Blood… after watching 3 seasons straight i started to constantly lick my incisor teeth!!

  27. A friend and I did it with the Vampire Diaries over a weekend. That made me very twitchy. I remember going out to Target afterward and warily watching anyone for quick movement… LOL

  28. WEEDS!! And currently doing Mad Men!

  29. Me too! I did that with Game of Thrones (love that show), I went around with an archaic accent, calling my friends wenches and what not.

  30. Me too! I did that with Game of Thrones (love that show), I went around with an archaic accent, calling my friends wenches and what not.

  31. Entourage! Yesterday I was home from work and watched Season 3, and now I’m doing this annoying thing where I want to say ‘Boom!’ at the end of each sentence, ala Ari Gold. Boom!

  32. I can’t believe there is only one mention of the Good Wife. It’s so good (and addictive!). I binge-watched the entire 1st season of Lost in one sitting – not my proudest moment…

  33. Oh Homeland! My family jumped on the Homeland bandwagon when everyone else was watching the final few episodes, but as soon as we started we were completely hooked! We couldn’t wait for the second series to come out of DVD, but managed to buy it online (phew!), and just finished the last episode! I still can’t believe how intense every episode was, as soon as you thought there was a lull in the action someone else would go and get blown up! Completely understand the rise of Tv marathons now!

  34. FRIENDS! Sex and the city, and House MD!!! I’m still obsessed…

  35. Oh my God, yes!! It has happened to me with Sex and the City, many years ago, Mad Men, True blood, The Vampire Diaries, and the list goes on and on. It usually happens in the summer months for me, when I have a little more time to sit back and relax.

  36. This is almost the only way that I watch tv now, Walking Dead and Mad Men are the most recent. But I remember watching Rupauls Drag Race, and I would literally talk like a drag queen for days. It was interesting. :D

  37. I just recently watched all six seasons of LOST (I know, it took me a few weeks) and especially the first two seasons got me hooked up I had to stay almost up all night until ridiculous morning hours. I loved the fact I didn’t have to wait until next week to watch another episode and was savoring it with pleasure. I’ve started thinking about checking MOONLIGHTING now… xx

  38. We’ve binged on Dexter (first 3 seasons,nightmares too), Supernatural (All 7 seasons, definite nightmares there), Bones, Breaking Bad,
    My husband also did Psych.. It’s true, for a while that’s all we thought about, plus then after it was done we’d have this empty feeling, like something was missing in our lives..We’d joke saying we have nothing to do as a couple anymore!

  39. This post is hilarious! I feel like thanks to streaming sites it’s really hard to avoid and everyone does it. I’m guilty of completing the Vampire Diaries 3 seasons in about 2 months, then there’s Dexter, Homeland, Girls, the WALKING DEAD (which I’m so obsessed with, hence the caps) & How I Met Your mother. Tried watching Breaking bad but couldn’t get into it!

  40. A few years ago on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I spent the entire day in our PJs drinking champagne and watching an entire season of How I Met Your Mother. It was legendary.

    We also binge on The Wire. The show is amazing and the characters are fascinating. I can’t watch too many at a time though. It definitely gets in my head and the plotline is utterly heartbreaking at times. It’s a great show and worth checking out if you haven’t already.

  41. Oh lordy! Did it with Friday Night Lights and am now onto marathon madness with Breaking Bad, but the EXACT same thing happened to me! Had to call quits on it about a 1/4 ways through Season 4…the nightmares started to come on! Too funny! Can’t WAIT to get back into it though.

  42. Homeland, Girls and American Horror Story. I couldn’t seem to get enough, but AHS was too creepy for my taste! :)

  43. Lost, Arrested Development, Downton Abbey and Battlestar (I think I prefer to watch my tv this way!)

  44. I’ve been doing this since college! It’s pretty much the only way we watch TV now, considering we don’t have cable.

    We’ve done this with LOST, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Parenthood, Weeds, Boardwalk Empire, Boss… (I swear we’re not TV junkies!)

    Some shows are better than others for marathons…

  45. Game of Thrones, Alias, Weeds, Arrested Development, Girls!

  46. We loved Breaking Bad! But I did have to take breaks from it at times when it got too heavy (like a good month or 2!). I wouldn’t have watched if it wasn’t for my husband, but I’m glad I did. I’d say just take it slow and not right before bed.

  47. Friday Night Lights! I truly cannot recommend this show highly enough. (And no, you don’t need to be into football to love the show.)

  48. My husband got me to watch a Walking Dead marathon last weekend. I’ll admit, I was hooked, but that night I had nightmares of flesh eating zombies and us trying to run for our lives…that ended it for me. :( Great show, well written, but I need to sleep.

  49. Oh my goodness! I watched all FIVE season of Friday Night Lights in like, two weeks. Not only did it get in my head, I began to believe that me and Tim Riggins were in a very serious relationship. I want to be Tammie Taylor, marry coach Taylor. Oh, and I bawled my eyes out when Smash got into college.

  50. Oh my goodness! I watched all FIVE season of Friday Night Lights in like, two weeks. Not only did it get in my head, I began to believe that me and Tim Riggins were in a very serious relationship. I want to be Tammie Taylor, marry coach Taylor. Oh, and I bawled my eyes out when Smash got into college.

  51. My husband and I have done this with Grey’s Anatomy, Six Feet Under, and most recently Freaks and Geeks. That last one especially stuck with us. It’s only 18 episodes and I found myself missing the characters so much when it was over! It’s truly an incredible show.

  52. Downton Abbey! I was so sad, when there was no episode left.

  53. I’ve done with Downton Abbey!

  54. I watched Arrested Development when it was on TV, but since then have watched the series again many times, several episodes at a go.

    But for authentic binge viewing watching a show for my first time I did it with Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Psych, Firefly, I’m Alan Partridge, and Torchwood, amongst others. Currently I am watching the US version of Being Human, with a bit more restraint my usual binge viewing. It is good, but it is so intense that I have to slow it down so I don’t have nightmares! It does totally get in your head! During a huge snowstorm 3 years ago in Pittsburgh that shut down the city for several days I watched Doctor Who so much I completed almost all of the Netflix material, which was considerable. I’m not proud of that one. :)

    Jamie B.

  55. House of Cards and The Wire. Hands down two of the best, well written and acted shows ever. Dangerously addictive. :)

  56. My husband and I did this with Arrested Development, American Horror Story season 1 (I kept up with Season 2) and I’m now watching Sherlock from BBC America in binge sessions. The worst about giving me disturbing nightmares was American Horror Story, but I love the show too much to stop watching.

  57. I have done this with the Danish TV-show “Forbrydelsen” season 1+2 (in English “The Killing”) – I haven’t seen the American version, but I highly recommend the Danish one. Its addictive :)
    – Ida F

  58. homeland is amazing!! BUT i’m from beirut, lebanon, and i hated how they portrayed beirut is season 2. this image is so wrong! it has nothing to do with the real beirut! :)
    white collar is cool. damages too. revenge. nikita. so addictive.

  59. My “worst” tv-marathon was last summer watching all Doctor Who episodes since 2005.
    The other tvseries I watch are weekly but I still watch them on the internet since I live in Austria and I hate the German synchronisations and they are way slower in viewing new episodes =)

  60. This is happening to me RIGHT NOW with New Girl. I’ve started to think of myself as Jess and even sing sometimes when I get awkward.

  61. Geez..lots. Lost, the new adventures of old Christine, teen mom, the office, modern family. I basically do it with all shows..let them pile up then overload online.

  62. I love waiting a week for a new episode – it reminds me of being in Senior school and watching ER with my mum every week, falling hopelessly for George Clooney! My bf Alex however cant wait and so he downloads a full series as soon as he can and we start watching it en-mass. Californication, Good Wife and West Wing have been popular this year :)

  63. I have done this type of “binge viewing” with Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and Gossip Girl. Next up, Homeland.

  64. buffy the vampire slayer (yep, really…and recently, too!), veronica mars (please tell me you’ve seen it?!), x-files…and a few months ago, charmed (yikes). i also really love british mystery shows, like sherlock (benedict = total heartthrob), midsomer murders, and rosemary + thyme. luckily netflix doesn’t get too grumpy with me for over-usage. ;)

  65. Gilmore Girls, definitely. I’m always much wittier and snappier after I’ve watched it, so no guilt here!

  66. Glee, Downton Abbey and Bones!!!! Netflix is a serious problem…in a good way!

  67. p.s. I’m with you on Breaking Bad- except I couldn’t get beyond the pilot, though it was very well done, because I’m such a wuss with violence.

  68. You know you’re in trouble when you refer to your friends as “corner boys” all the time (The Wire).

  69. Love this post!
    When we first got Netflix some years back, I watched only Little House on the Prairie and The Dick Van Dyke show for a month straight, at least (proof that my husband loves me; I’m still married to him even after he had to live through that). I’ll still watch an Arrested Development marathon, over and over. Also “marathoned” Mad Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office, and Flight of the Conchords.
    We don’t often takes breaks from our work to relax, but this is how we do it; late at night, while eating chocolate cake. Dreamy.

  70. My husband and I don’t have a television in our bedroom, so when we were first married, we would blow up our air mattress in our living room and get snuggled up in our pajamas. We would make pizookies loaded with ice cream on top and have Prison Break marathons. It was a fun, free date night!

  71. man, it’s the only way to watch tv shows ! I find it difficult to watch regular programmed shows these days, i’ve become embarrassingly addicted to Netflix
    Shows i’ve watched marathon style : Breaking Bad, Brothers and Sisters, Gossip Girl, The Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood

  72. This exact thing has happened with me while watching Downton Abbey! I watched all three seasons on demand in about 3 days, and started thinking and talking to myself in proper English and with a British accetnt! Ha!

  73. 24 was the first show I ever watched like that and it was awesome!! We’d watch 3 eps, eat, 3 esp, go out, 2 eps, sleep. Great 3 days!

  74. My husband and I are totally doing this right now with Friday Night Lights! And I have done it with Homeland. I think it is so fun to look forward to each night!

  75. Oh goodness, as a college student this is my life exactly. In the last year i would say The Office, Arrested Development, Parks and Rec, HIMYM, Monk, Sister Wives, Doctor Who, 30 Rock, and now I’m currently on Breaking Bad. The comedies are much easier to do this with, especially those that are so short. Breaking Bad really is difficult, it’s almost too heavy of a show to watch in just one sitting. But I’m fitting it in for all of my study breaks, and it’s going much too quickly!

    Binge-watching is nice in a way, because you get the whole story, and it’s almost like a long movie. There are certainly good aspects of weekly shows, but I could see this binge watching phenomenon having a lot of good outcomes to it.


  76. Friday night lights. Hands down the best show you. Think you won’t like but will come to be part of your life and psyche

  77. friday night lights and downton abbey!!

  78. I watched all of Grey’s Anatomy in a few months and then Private Practice recently, too. And a few years back I went on quite a Gilmore Girls spree, too. Love those shows! :)

  79. I watched the Sopranos in a marathon session over spring break when I was in college. I spoke with a New Jersey accent for a week (I’m from Chicago).

  80. Six Feet Under was a total mind trip for me. I binged so hard on it one summer. I would watch as much as I could before going into my job at a hardware store, and the entire rest of the day I would find myself assigning character’s traits to random customers and coworkers. I’d help someone find something and think “oh my god, she’s such a total Brenda” or “he acts JUST like Keith!” I would even find myself thinking from the point of view of Claire or Brenda. So, yeah. Really messed up.

    At the end of the episode where Nate learns who kills Lisa all I could do was restart the episode and watch again because I was in such shock. It’s a good thing there were only as many seasons as there were!

  81. I’m definitely a TV binger – I’ve done Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Parks & Rec, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, The Office, 30 Rock, Archer, and probably more that I don’t remember.


    Kristina does the Internets

  82. Six Feet Under was THE ONE for a long time. But I just got in to Homeland and it’s…. amazing. I’m obsessed. I currently have no groceries because of Homeland.