Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Television Marathons: Burn Less Calories, More Brain Cells

Deep in Phase 4 of Television Marathoning

         Watching television shows is no longer a sprint followed by weeks of waiting.  Now days, thanks in huge part to Netflix and Hulu instant streaming along with the occasional box set, we can blissfully marathon through seasons of television in days.  Is it healthy?  Maybe not.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!  Yes, I will warn you there are side effects.  People tend to speak in slightly affected accents and expect footmen after barrelling through three seasons of Downton Abbey.  If you start watching Community you'll find yourself inserting "Troy and Abed in the morning" into inappropriate situations.  Catch vampire fever and cram three seasons of Vampire Diaries then try not to sound you're thirteen when you tell everyone, "No seriously, it's not cheesy.  It's one of the best shows of television."  Speed through Scandal and your sudden overconfidence will cause you to start giving Olivia Pope style speeches about how equipped you are to handle any and everything.  Sure, you'll sound insane when you start ranting to all your friends about the smoke monster, but you'll be blissfully unaware because you'll be deep in Phase 4 obsession of your show.

         That brings me to The Phases of Television Gorging:

Phase 1: Watch episode one of a series with many, many episodes.  The pilot intrigues/amazes/or at least peaks your interest.

Phase 2:  You "accidentally" watch six episodes in a row, only stopping when absolutely necessary.

Phase 3:  You confuse real life with the show.  This means when characters inevitably die/betray each are unreasonably devastated.  Ugly crying and anger soon follow.

Phase 4:  You're beyond saving, so deeply invested in the series your priorities have shifted.  Sleep is overrated, you have to find out what happens to Amy and The Doctor as they battle the Weeping Angels.  You cannot sleep when Sydney Bristow may have finally destroyed SD6.  They need you.

Phase 5:  The show ends.  You cannot move on.  Your life is confusing to you.  The show either completed, was canceled, or there are no new episodes except for on actual television.  Nothing is as it was.  (If said show is Sherlock, you curse the calender and wait, wait, wait.)

Phase 6:  You find a new show to consume in giant bites.  Rinse and repeat, let the phases start again.  Sunlight and real life are overrated anyhow.

           Don't be ashamed.  While we all must live in the real world and venture into the outside world, for those random stay-cations or lazy weekends, give in to the call.  Press play on episode 1.  If you don't like it, just pick another show!

         Looking for a show to marathon through? I'm considering The West Wing for myself, so that I'll start speaking unnaturally fast.  A quick list of shows I'd recommend include:


1.  Lost -It remains one of the most profoundly moving shows on television.  It valued characters even more than its elaborate plot and inspired a new wave of television.

2.  Doctor Who-I am all about spreading this wonderful gem from the U.K. about a clever, silly, and sometimes tragic time traveling alien who saves the earth and shows us what it means to be human.  Don't start at episode 1.  Watch Blink first, then jump in at Season 5 (Trust Me, Doctor Who regenerates and reinvents, it is a good place to start).  When you get hooked, you'll go back and watch Seasons 1-4 of the reboot, and maybe even the old school episodes (Doctor Who turns 50 this year).


3.  Alias-Created by the mastermind of Lost, Alias follows the very lovable, but fierce Syndey Bristow (Jennifer Gardner) as she takes down the organization she thought was the CIA by playing a double agent.  Part spy thriller, part story of friendship and love, Alias is well worth a marathon.  The pilot is genius.  One of the best pilots, period.


4.  Scandal-Just watch it.  The hype is not a joke.


5.  Sherlock- This British show stars Benedict Cumberbatch (the new villain in Star Trek Into Darkness) as Sherlock and Martin Freeman (Bilbo) as John in a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes.  Beyond smart, this show is easy to watch, considering as there are only 6 episodes.  Each one is like a film.  Watch it and then wait in earnest for season 3.

Friday Night Lights

6.  Friday Night Lights- I need to marathon through this one.  I've seen many of the episodes, but never managed to see them all in order.  You don't have to love football to obsess over this very heartfelt show.

The Vampire Diaries

7.  Vampire Diaries- Surprise yourself by how good this show is.  I dare you.


8.  Community- Last summer, I watched all the episodes available and LOVED IT ALL.  A comedy with the chops to have video game , D&D, paintball, and even cartoon themed episode is worth a view.  Without being cloying, it makes you laugh and cry.

Downton Abbey

9.  Downton Abbey- In marathon form, you will become beyond obsessed with the sometimes trivial, but weirdly entertaining world of the wealthy Brits.  If you've already seen the episodes and are going through withdraw, watch Call the Midwife.  I recently watched the 6 episode first season in a few days.

Once Upon a Time

10.  Once Upon a Time- While the second season has been mixed, the first season of the show is very addictive when watched in a few days.

Game of Thrones

11. Game of Thrones- Way better to watch in marathon.

The Pillars of the Earth

12.  The Pillars of the Earth and World at End- Both ten part miniseries which will suck you into royal and church intrigue before you can help yourself.


13. Firefly- Just watch it.  One season of awesomeness.  No excuse.  Do it.  I ended up watching the show in a day and the movie the next.

The IT Crowd

14. The IT Crowd- British comedy at its best.  I can still re-watch this show many times over and love it.

          There's so many more out there.  Everything from Veronica Mars to Cougar Town.  Happy watching!

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