By Jeff Salter
When I saw this week’s topic – watching multiple episodes of favorite shows or films – I first thought I wouldn’t have a lot to say … because I really don’t view much TV these days. Seven years ago, when I began writing seriously and “full-time”, I gave up a long-term TV addiction (of some four hours per evening) to something closer to about six hours per month.
But then I got to thinking — there actually are several examples of shows which I’ve watched in multiples, in a short period… and enjoyed every minute. I wouldn’t call it a binge, by any means, but nonetheless… it’s certainly a concentration.
Before I begin listing, let me offer a word to any youngsters in the room: back in the old days, if a loyal viewer really enjoyed a TV show, you had to wait a full week for the next installment. Same time, same station. We didn’t have the luxury of video tapes, DVR, Hulu, or Netflix to allow us to binge. [And we walked two miles to school each day… uphill both ways… in the snow.]
My Recent Multiples
One was the excellent 10-episode mini-series documentary by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, “The Pacific”.
Another was the terrifically absorbing British series called “Foyle’s War” — set in England during WW2. In this series, you did not have to watch each episode in perfect order, but you DID have to keep all the episodes of a particular season together … because between seasons there were many significant changes.
I also got hooked on a British series set in Scotland called “Monarch of the Glen.” It combined humor, drama, romance, and soap opera … but (after a few seasons) got too irritating for me to continue watching. But those first two or three seasons were quite entertaining. This was a show for which you had to watch every episode in order, because of the twists and turns, old girlfriends showing up, etc. If you tried viewing them out of order, you’d spend the whole show being confused.
There’s one more guilty pleasure I can’t overlook mentioning: while exercising at the ‘Y’ I had seen bits and pieces of the very popular series, “The Walking Dead,” which (if you’ve been living under a rock, is about ZOMBIES. I’d seen enough bits and pieces to be totally confused … but I was sufficiently intrigued that I wanted to comprehend who was who and what was what … and WHY. So my daughter hooked me up with access to that series and I’ve so-far seen the first six or seven episodes of Season One. Finally those bits and pieces I’d seen from my stationary bike are making sense!
Though I have not seen these in my recent seven years of reduced TV exposure, I should mention one of my favorite mini-series, HBO’s “Band of Brothers” — also by Spielberg-Hanks. Powerful, well done, and EXTREMELY important to view each one in order.
Also, let me say that when I did still watch a lot of TV and they’d have a marathon of something like Seinfeld, or Dick Van Dyke, or Andy Griffith… or Combat! – or whatever series I had enjoyed on the first run – I would often get captured. But I can barely tolerate network commercials any more so I tend to stay away from those in my current life.
What about you? Which shows (or movies) do you enjoy watching several in a concentrated period? Do you need to view them sequentially?