by Michael Buffalo Smith
While “binge watching” has become one of the trendy topics of the day in social media and on entertainment talk shows and late night yuk-fests, it is by no means a new thing. Actually, I remember my first “binge” being several years ago with the JJ Abrams classic, LOST. My pal Scott turned me onto the show when it was already deep into season five. Thankfully, our friend Jimmy owned all of the seasons on DVD and loaned them to me. I blazed through the crash course on the mysteries of the island, the interpersonal relationships that formed, the secret backstories that most every character had, and all the rest. One of my all-time favorite shows, when it ended, I started at the beginning and watched the entire run a second time. I’m sure there are things that I still missed. It’s a pretty meaty show, after all. Highly recommended.
Another one I had to catch up with was The Sopranos. I kept hearing great things about the HBO series, but I didn’t have HBO. I started with season one on DVD, and bada bing! I went through the entire bloody run.
If you are hankering for a series to binge upon, please allow me to make a few suggestions. These all come from one who has spent far too many hours sitting in front of the flat-screen. I would not stear you wrong.
If you want to “catch up” with a show that is still going, I recommend THE WALKING DEAD. Once you get past the zombies that want to eat your brain, the show turns out to be a fantastic look at the human condition, how strangers, forced together with a common goal keep alive in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies and even more dangerous living humans wearing eye patches and tossing the heroes into railroad cars. Season five in October promises to be the most intense yet, so binge away! (And then set your DVR to record the series.)
Another JJ Abrams show well worth the binge treatment is FRINGE. It has more twists and turns than the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the characters are intriguing. (In both universes!) Have a Fringe binge!
My roommate got me started on a series that is best classified under “chick flick,” called Brothers & Sisters from about 7 years back. Forget Modern Family, this was the original modern family, with a California wine country family whose patriarch dies at the outset, only to leave behind a line of mysteries and mistresses, a bunch of kids, and a wife who used to play Gidget. There are family fights, reconciliations, almost incest (almost!) gay brothers and uncles; surrogate mothers; Democrats married to Republicans, hook ups, wine, hook ups, wine, hook ups, wine.... The show is an emotional roller coaster, designed to make you laugh one minute, and then jerk your heart out and , as Lewis Grizzard used to say, “stomp that sucker flat.” Addictive? Worse than meth. (Not that I ever did meth. See my final recommendation below for my metheducation.)
Other series worth considering are the single-season Star Wars style Firefly; the X-Files spin-off, Millenium; and of course, The X-Files itself, which you can now watch along with actor/comedian Kumail Nanjiani on his highly enjoyable (free) podcast The X-Files Files (iTunes).
The one show I still can’t shake that I binged on early this year is Breaking Bad. Meth and mayhem. They racked up at the Emmy’s last week, and really deserved them all. Great writing, great acting. As Jessie would say, “Let’s binge, bitch!”