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Binge-watching television shows is a modern cultural phenomenon. It has its roots in the 1990s when DVD boxsets became a thing, but streaming media services Hulu Plus vs. iTunes vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Instant Video: Which Is Best? Hulu Plus vs. iTunes vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Instant Video: Which Is Best? Hulu Plus. iTunes. Netflix. Amazon Instant Video. The lifeblood of online cinema and television. The new wave of home media. The providers of endless entertainment in which pants are not necessarily required. They are the... Read More such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream.

Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. How long will that particular TV show take to watch? Which TV shows are worth binge-watching? What items should you buy in before watching the opening credits?

All of these questions and more are answered in this short guide, which offers a brief overview of the art of binge-watching.

Find The Time With

You want to binge on a TV show you’ve heard people rave about but haven’t ever watched yourself. The problem is knowing how much time you’re going to need to dedicate to watching the entire run of the television show in question.

Fortunately, a website called exists to answer this query. You simply enter the name of the television show you’re interested in binge-watching, and tells you how many days, hours, and minutes of your life you’ll waste spend doing so.

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If you’re too lazy to even do that, Nielsen has created an infographic detailing how long it will take to watch 25 of the most popular and addictive TV shows ever created.

Prepare For The Marathon


Before embarking on any binge-watching TV marathon it’s important to prepare fully for the experience. Here are five absolutely essential tips…

  1. Stock up on food and drink. Whether it be potato chips and energy drinks or pizza and whisky, be sure to get enough in before watching Episode 1.
  2. Inform your friends and family. Because being interrupted is intolerable. Alternatively, disconnect your doorbell and put your phone on silent.
  3. Ensure your energy needs are met. Check that your remote control has new batteries, your tablet is charged up, and you’ve paid your Internet bill in full.
  4. Position a clock in full view. When the curtains are shut and you’re snuggly warm on the sofa it’s easy to lose all track of time. Which is disconcerting.
  5. Remember to sleep. It’s easy to stay up all night binge-watching your new favorite TV show but sleep is a basic human requirement.

Choose Which TV Shows To Binge On


You can, of course, technically binge-watch any television show that has ever existed. Assuming you can source every episode online Yes, You CAN Watch TV Online Legally & For Free Yes, You CAN Watch TV Online Legally & For Free Whether you’re thinking of cutting the cord or just want to watch TV on your own schedule instead of the television network’s, there are more legal ways to watch television online than ever. Even better,... Read More . However, some TV shows are more suitable for binge-watching than others.

Choose television shows which have a narrative structure, with each new episode beginning where the last one left off. Shows such as 24, Lost, and Mad Men are good examples. Game shows and reality television should be avoided at all costs.

Caring about what happens to the characters is key. Watching the same show for a whole weekend isn’t much fun if you’re not emotionally engaged in what’s happening. This is also a good reason for avoiding shows that were cancelled mid-season, as they often end on an unresolved cliffhanger. So it’s best to avoid the likes of Deadwood, Heroes, and Firefly.

Last but not least, choose quality over quantity. Check sites such as, IMDb, and Metacritic (using our guide to Metacritic How To Get The Most Out Of Metacritic How To Get The Most Out Of Metacritic Metacritic is one of a handful of big review aggregation sites. Its motto of, "Keeping score of entertainment" sums up what it does perfectly. Rather than focus on just one aspect of entertainment such as... Read More ), to see what the critics made of a television show before committing to dedicating days of your lives to watching it from beginning to end. Game of Thrones, Sherlock, and Veep all come highly rated.

If you’re more interested in geeky TV shows then check out our list of TV shows all geeks should have watched 8 TV Shows All Geeks Should Have Watched 8 TV Shows All Geeks Should Have Watched Geeks are fairly well represented on television. Sure, some shows - even those listed below - are aimed at the mainstream and therefore represent geeks as being spotty, scruffy ne'er-do-wells that live in their parents'... Read More .

Add Your Own Layer Of Fun


Sitting down and watching hours of television in one sitting can be fun in its own right. But there are ways to make it even more fun…

If you’re binge-watching with friends who are fans of alcohol Booze Calculator: Calculate The Effects Of Drinking Alcohol Booze Calculator: Calculate The Effects Of Drinking Alcohol Read More then drinking games can liven up any TV show you care to mention. Watch a couple of episodes and note down the common sayings or actions, then use them to build a show-specific drinking game.

If you’re binge-watching alone and more interested in health and fitness then exercise games may be more appropriate. Again, watch a couple of episodes and note down the common themes, then you can then use those as cues for when to do a particular set of exercises 7 Best YouTube Workout Channels To Exercise at Home 7 Best YouTube Workout Channels To Exercise at Home Home gyms and personal trainers help the moneyed get up straight from their beds and hit the gym. We lesser mortals have to call on our powers of self-motivation and discipline to trudge the few... Read More .


After reading this short guide to binge-watching you should be better prepared to take on the mammoth undertaking that is tackling all eight seasons of Dexter or all five seasons of Breaking Bad.

We would, however, recommend not bothering with Days Of Our Lives, as not only is it a terrible television show, it will also take you 88 days to sit through all 23 seasons and counting. Surely life is too short for such a harsh punishment.

Image Credit: Poster Boy via Flickr, Kris Krug via Flickr, Thomas Angermann via Flickr, Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr

  1. Robert
    May 12, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I honestly can't tell if this article is intended as humour/sarcasm, or if Dave has FINALLY gone off his trolley, and the result is this wonderfully (albeit utterly crazily) voiced article ingrained with his not-so-subtle sense of humour...

    All jokes aside, this was a fun and quite helpful read. Thanks for your enthusiastic and quality writing, as usual, Dave! :-)

    • Dave P
      May 12, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      I have never been on my trolley! This is exactly what this column is for... the offbeat stuff that is both weird and wonderful, and if you can't tell whether it's serious or sarcastic then I'm happy.

      Thanks for the comment. Compliments are rare in this job, and very much appreciated :)

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