Watch it! Binge-watching TV is a pleasure worth the guilt

FILE - In this undated publicity photo released by Fox shows characters from the animated series, “The Simpsons,” from left, Maggie, Marge, Lisa, Homer and Bart. The FXX network plans a marathon telecast this summer of episodes of “The Simpsons” _ all 552 of them consecutively. The network said Wednesday, April 9, 2014, that the marathon starts on Aug. 21 and will continue into Labor Day. FXX programming chief Chuck Saftler said it coincides with the network’s purchase of rerun rights and the development of an app that gives access to every episode of the long-running animated series. (AP Photo/Fox, File)

This image released by HBO shows Charles Dance in a scene from “Game of Thrones.” The fourth season premieres Sunday at 9p.m. EST on HBO. (AP Photo/HBO, Helen Sloan)

This image released by HBO shows Natalie Dormer, left, and Diana Rigg in a scene from “Game of Thrones.” The fourth season premieres Sunday at 9p.m. EST on HBO. (AP Photo/HBO, Macall B. Polay)

This publicity image released by AMC shows Dean Norris as Hank Schrader, left, and Bryan Cranston as Walter White in “Breaking Bad.”  The series is returning for its eight final episodes starting Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT. The long-awaited showdown places Hank in direct conflict with the villainous hero, Walter White. (AP Photo/AMC, Frank Ockenfels)

Kevin Spacey stars as a congressman Frank Underwood in “House of Cards.”

Zooey Deschanel plays teacher Jessica Day in the series “New Girl.”

NBC/Special to the Sentinel Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in the hit series “Parks and Recreation.”



If none of those series interest your binge-watching taste buds, or you’ve already seen all those shows, here are others, past and present, to choose from. If you can’t stream them online through one of those many sites, don’t forget about the library.

■ PBS’ “Downton Abbey” — This British-period drama’s fifth season is set for fall 2014.

■ HBO’s “Sex and the City” — This estrogen-laced comedy wrapped in 2004 after six seasons.

■ HBO’s “True Detective” — Its first season of eight episodes wrapped March 9 to rave reviews. The first season is expected for mass release June 10.

■ AMC’s “The Walking Dead” — Season 5 of this post-apocalyptic horror series is slated for fall 2014. Seasons 1–3 are available now with Season 4 scheduled for release in August.

■ Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb” — Children are people too, so here’s an animated series with three seasons available on Netflix. Bonus: adults may like it.

■ Animal Planet’s “Too Cute” — This is a show about baby animals available on Netflix.

■ NBC/ABC’s “Scrubs” — NBC carried this medical comedy for the bulk of its nine seasons, which are all on Netflix.

■ Bravo’s “Top Chef” — Rent past seasons from the library. Finding most seasons online can be difficult, but it’s easy to get sucked in.

■ HGTV’s “House Hunters” or “House Hunters International” — Hulu streams select shows for free, as you go on a trip with prospective home buyers both in the United States and abroad.

■ FX’s “The Americans” — Season 2 wraps May 21, but Season 1 is available. This Cold War drama is set during the Reagan presidency.

It’s possible, particularly this time of year, to have this exchange with friends or co-workers.

Go-Getter No. 1: “What did you do this weekend?”

Go-Getter No. 2: “Ohmygosh! We drove to Moab to hike to Delicate Arch. The sun was shining. The temperatures were glorious. We had to get out and enjoy it.

Go-Getter No. 1: “We took our bikes to the Colorado Riverfront Trail. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t get the kids to stop riding. It was great to be outdoors.”

(Go-Getters 1 and 2 look at you.)

You: “I binge-watched the first six seasons of ‘Mad Men,’ all 76 episodes, on Netflix in anticipation of the premiere of the final season Sunday, April 13.”

Truth be told, you were probably not alone.

According to a 2013 survey Harris Interactive conducted for Netflix, an online media service where subscribers can stream TV shows and movies on-demand, 61 percent of the 3,078 U.S. adults contacted said they binge-watch shows regularly.

Binge-watching was defined by the survey as viewing “between 2–6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting,” and 76 percent of survey respondents said binge-watching makes the actual show better.

Sure, you may feel some guilt or shame for avoiding the beautiful outdoors to binge-watch TV, but it’s spring. Sometimes, it’s cold and rainy. Sometimes, your allergies act up or you don’t feel well. And, sometimes, you straight up don’t want to leave the couch.

With a couple popular TV series resuming this month, “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones,” along with the looming summer season when channels often show re-runs instead of new content, now is a good time to re-watch a series between seasons or catch a series you’ve never seen but always wanted to.

Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Google Play, HBO Go and Amazon are popular streaming sites to meet your binge-watching needs, but prospective binge-watchers also can borrow DVDs from the library or catch the occasional TV show marathon that various channels sometimes offer.

For example, FXX, a relatively new channel affiliated with FOX, will show 522 episodes of “The Simpsons,“during a 12-day period from Aug. 21 through Labor Day, according to Dan Snierson’s April 9 article at


If “The Simpsons” isn’t your brand of entertainment, or 522 episodes of the same show seems a bit excessive, no problem. We’ve got you covered with this starter list of series to consider if you ever decided to go on a binge.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

Season 4 of this fantastical drama adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s book series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” started April 6. It recently was renewed for a fifth and sixth season, so investing time in it won’t be a lost cause.

Be warned, however, it contains violence and nudity and an intense number of characters in interwoven story lines.


AMC’s “Mad Men”

It seems like only yesterday Don Draper (Jon Hamm) introduced viewers to advertising agency Sterling Cooper, but the final season of the critically-acclaimed drama premiered April 13.

The final season will be split into two seven-episode installments, so technically the show ends in 2015.

“Mad Men” was the first basic cable series to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.


NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”

If you aren’t a fan of dramas, consider watching this single-camera comedy, starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a perky bureaucrat in love with Pawnee, Ind., city government. Five seasons are available to stream with Season 6 wrapping Thursday, April 24.

The show has been renewed for a seventh season.


Fox’s “New Girl”

Quirky actress Zooey Deschanel plays offbeat teacher Jessica Day, who moves into a loft with three men after her longtime relationship ends. Two seasons are available to stream, and Season 3 wraps May 6. It was renewed for a fourth season.


Netflix’s “House of Cards”

This award-winning series is set in present-day Washington, D.C., and stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, D-S.C., and House Majority Whip. The first two seasons are available to stream on Netflix with a third season set to start production in June.

Fox’s “24”

You’ve got time to watch all eight seasons of the Emmy Award-winning drama “24” before Jack Bauer returns for “24: Live Another Day,” a 12-episode event, starting Monday, May 5. Tick, tick, tick.


AMC’s “Breaking Bad”

Considered one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, consider this an ultimate binge watch because all five seasons are available to stream. The series is about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He produces and sells methamphetamine to ensure his family’s financial future before he dies. Those who watched it pretty much only talked about it, constantly.


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