Ah, winter. The frigid coldness that makes your teeth hurt when you’re forced outside while it’s semi-dark both before and after work in order to scrape all of that ice and snow off of your car windows. There’s nothing that makes me want to spend time indoors snuggled up under a blanket, nursing a cup of tea, in front of the television as possible like winter.
But, when spending all of this time in front of the television, what’s a girl to watch? Sure, there’s network TV. There are movies. There are even television shows made specifically for online streaming (Netflix, I’m looking at you). But, really, this is the perfect time of the year for marathoning through a whole television series.
I do this almost every single winter, and have managed to watch some pretty awesome shows this way. I find it’s a lot more effective to really grasp what’s going on with a television show like this because everything is still fresh in your mind. You don’t have to think back years to the series premier by the time you get to the series finale to see if there were any clues that you missed that could’ve told you how things turned out. And it’s easier to follow along with any season-long arcs in the story-telling.
Plus, it’s a gosh darn good excuse for me to eat all of the popcorn I want. (Speaking of which, I’m going to make a large bowl and smother it with real butter as soon as I’m done writing this.)
What do I look for in a binging show?
I have specific criteria when I’m picking what show I’m going to watch all winter. This is serious business and needs some serious consideration, after all. Here are my tips for picking a binge show to get you through the winter:
- Pick a show that is longer than a whole season. Sorry Firefly. You know I’m not breaking up with you permanently, it’s just that at only 14 episodes, you can’t even get me through half a month.
- Pick a show that’s either been cancelled or was purposely finished. Yes, I love shows like Orange is the New Black, but as soon as I finish a season I spend the next year bemoaning the fact that the next season isn’t out yet. Watching something that you know there’s no more of saves all of this angst.
- Pick a show you and your SO will all enjoy. As much as I would love to spend my winter TV marathoning The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, I am perfectly aware that watching this would drive my boyfriend crazy. Just as he is perfectly aware that for some bizarre reason, I do NOT find Arrested Development funny and would rather get my arm bitten off by a loose seal than binge on it. (See what I did there? I still know all of the inside jokes without having seen a full episode.)
- Pick an hour-long show that’s less than 5 seasons, or a half-hour show that is less than 9 seasons. Seriously. The last time we attempted something longer than this, we had to take a 6-month break from Star Trek: The Next Generation before we could watch the last season. The time before that, I gave up on Lost and haven’t looked back. And even before Lost was Battlestar Galactica, which took me a year to go back to. Save yourself from this.
This year, I’m marathoning through the US version of The Office, which is something I’ve actually never seen before this year. Gasp! I have to say, I am QUITE enjoying it, even if I find the mockumentary style television shows slightly awkward, and spend half of the episodes cringing inwardly.
Still stuck with what you should spend the winter watching?
Here are my recommendations:
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Everyone is at least partially familiar with the Terminator franchise. This show takes place shortly after T2, and has some absolutely amazing talent in it – we’re talking Lena Headey (before Game of Thrones fame), Summer Glau (sigh, Firefly!), Brian Austin Green (I still love you, 90210) and Shirley Manson (lead singer of Garbage, whose acting skills are definitely in-line with the role she’s playing). Watch this if you like shows with awesome kick-ass females.
- The 4400. This show is like Heroes meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I found it highly enjoyable because it takes a whole bunch of people that would never interact with each other, and throws them into a situation that forces them to depend on each other, all the while learning to come to grips with what they have each become themselves. Watch this if you like underrated scifi shows.
- The IT Crowd. Get it? The “I.T.” Crowd? The “IT” Crowd? I crack myself up. This show follows three people and their hijinks in the IT department of a large company. If you’ve ever had to be tech support for someone you know, you’ll be able to empathize with so much going on in this show. Watch this if you’ve ever had to ask someone if they’ve tried turning their computer off and then on again.
- Better off Ted. This comedy takes place at a research and development firm. While it is quite funny, with a phenomenal cast and smart writing, the highlights are two scientists who work for the firm. Watch this if you need to look at corporate politics in a humorous light.