In the mood for a marathon? Best TV shows for binges

Missing the first run of a TV show has never been so rewarding. Thanks to streaming services from companies like Netflix, along with ever better deals on DVD box sets, consumers can now binge on complete seasons (or the entire series) of all those shows that they never got around to watching, or the ones that they loved and want to watch over and over…and over. Gone are the days of waiting and wishing for networks to play reruns of old episodes; now you decide when to start and stop (or not stop) your personal marathon. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for your next TV bender.

1. Firefly (2002)

This Sci-Fi show only lasted one season, but spawned thousands of devoted fans (Browncoats), multiple comics, and the 2005 film Serenity. Each episode is filled with witty dialogue and thrilling action, and you’ll definitely want to watch more than one to find out what happens to Captain Reynolds and his crew.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 42 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (14 episodes): 10 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 10 hours

2. House of Cards (2013-)

The first season of this 2013 political thriller was released in its entirety on Netflix in February, leading many people with TV-addictive personalities to stream all 13 episodes without much of a break between segments. Major suspense & top-notch acting by actors like Kevin Spacey make for a most satisfying binge.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 50 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (13 episodes): 11 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 11 hours

3. Sherlock (2010-)

With only three episodes per season, this BBC series won’t take too long to marathon, but you might need to watch it more than once to catch all the subtle clues and solve the cases like Sherlock.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 90 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (3 episodes): 4.5 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 9 hours

4. 24 (2001-2010)

Spanning eight seasons, this show feels extremely fast-paced despite covering only 60 minutes of “real time” action per episode. After watching what Jack Bauer deals with on an hourly basis, you’ll be glad that you’re watching from the comfort of your own home (and on your own time).

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 43 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (24 episodes): 17 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 138 hours (139.5 hours if you include the TV movie Redemption)

5. Girls (2012-)

This racy HBO series isn’t for the faint-of-heart, but if you’ve lived through the uncertainty and awkwardness of your early twenties, this is a great series to binge on a season at a time. The episodes are bite-sized at only 30 minutes each, you won’t want to wait to find out what kind of crazy (and yet somehow totally believable) situations Hannah and her friends will find themselves facing next.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 30 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (10 episodes): 5 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 10 hours

6. Downton Abbey (2011-)

This one takes a little more initial patience than the others, but once you get sucked into this early 20th century BBC drama (and you will get sucked in), you’ll have a tough time not pressing “next” when the current episode ends. Packed with romance, tragedy, and the occasional laugh, this series revolving around the upstairs & downstairs inhabitants of an English estate has something for everyone.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 50 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (7 episodes, not including Christmas Specials): 6 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 20.5 hours (including two 90-minute Christmas Specials)

7. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

Another great show that lasted only one season, this ultra-relatable high school series set in 1980 will make you cringe with familiarity at the universally embarrassing problems that plague freaks & geeks, nerds, jocks, and all other teenage cliques. And despite the awkwardness, you won’t be able to stop watching.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 44 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (18 episodes): 13 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 13 hours

I know I’ve only scratched the surface here; when it comes to TV indulgences, there are so many great binge options. Which are your favorite series to marathon? — Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

3 thoughts on “In the mood for a marathon? Best TV shows for binges

  1. Thanks for the great post. I have been visiting your site often and I find it really interesting and informative.

  2. Castle is one of my all time favorite series, and it's still going strong. At 6 seasons and ~43 minutes an episode, a binge is probably health threatening, though.

  3. Broadchurch…a British mystery that MUST be watched in order.Call the MidwifeDoc MartinAs a Time Goes ByYes…I'm a bit of an Anglophle

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