Friday Five: Spring Break Binge without the Hi-Def Hangover

By Peter SM RSS Fri, April 4, 2014

I wrote about the practice of binge-watching in September of last year here on the blog, in relation to the then upcoming fall television season. Nowadays though, the idea of one dominant "TV season" with a beginning, middle, and end is starting to disappear. More and more there are now "mid-season debuts", "spring premieres", and "summer series" (in place of months of re-runs). In our ultra-busy world, full of scheduling snafus and little free time, trying to keep up with your favorite show or checking out a new show can be daunting at times.

Slate recently ran a story that had a great analysis on binge-watching, with some eye-opening statistics illustrating the pros and cons. If graphs and polls aren't your thing, watch the video below for a more casual take on the viewing phenomenon.

Now that spring has sprung, there are a slew of new and returning shows that will be vying for viewers' attention. Head on over to the incomparable TV Guide for complete schedules and coverage.

After you're done over there, check out the below "Friday Five" of returning television series (some for their last seasons) that I'm excited about watching!

Game of Thrones Game of Thrones
  • 3 seasons currently available on DVD
  • New season premieres Sunday, April 6th on HBO

If ever there was a show that lends itself to binge-viewing, it would be Game of Thrones. With an ongoing and evolving story as epic as the A Song of Ice and Fire series is, watching episodes one right after another becomes a much more cohesive, cinematic experience. The series is full of morally ambiguous and amorous characters, social and royal hierarchy, themes of religion, loyalty, corruption, civil war, crime, punishment... oh yeah, and dragons too! If you have been watching from the beginning of the series, some of you may still be recovering from last year's "Red Wedding" but I won't go any further than that for spoilers sake! Needless to say, season four will cover the second half of the third book, A Storm of Swords.

Veep Veep
  • 2 seasons currently available on DVD
  • New season premieres Sunday, April 6th on HBO
The searing and cynical political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President of the United States, Selina Meyer is a dirty window into the Washington world of politics and all the funny-cause-it's-true problems that come with it. Through debate debacles and political gaffes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' gallant yet goofy portrayal of a politician is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and antics. Season 3 sees our fan favorite public servant considering another run for the presidency, with comedic casualties left every step of the way.

Californication Californication
  • 6 seasons currently available on DVD
  • New season premieres Sunday, April 13th on Showtime
Our favorite fictional dysfunctional novelist is back for another descent through all the vices L.A. can serve up. When Hank Moody (played with perfect smarmy charm by David Duchovny) left his literary haunts of New York for sunny SoCal, he thought he'd find fame, fortune, and love. Now his personal life is in shambles, his career is on the brink of self-destruction and his personal demons are aiming to take him out for good. But we wouldn't watch unless there was some chance of redemption for our prickly protagonist and the forthcoming seventh season (will be the series last) should be one hell of a ride into the maelstrom!

Mad Men Mad Men
  • 6 seasons currently available on DVD
  • New season premieres Sunday, April 13th on AMC

What is there left to say about Mad Men that hasn't been said before? The show has been a complete game changer for television series across the board: novel-like dramatic storytelling, complex characters, stylish set design, and innovative cinematography. It's not just a television show at this point but an influential pop culture event. Pretty cool feat for a period show set in the 1960s advertising world. 6 seasons of this show seem to have flown by and the final season of the acclaimed show will be split into two viewing chunks, making the waiting til the finale even more difficult. On the bright side, at least it gives you plenty of time to catch up on the series or if you have been meaning to check out the series, push it to the top of your "to watch" list.

Orphan Black Orphan Black
  • 1 season currently available on DVD
  • New season premieres Saturday, April 19th on BBC America
Last but certainly not least in this list is Orphan Black, my current TV obsession. I cannot get enough of this show! What's not to love about this show? Clones, conspiracy, and copious amounts of action and suspense abound in a paranoid sci-fi tale of a woman whose world is turned upside down when she runs into her own doppelganger, only to fall down a rabbit hole full of more weirdness and suspicions. I highly recommend this show to anyone who has not watched it yet, and with the first season only being 10 episodes, you can binge-watch it easily in a weekend. Season 2 looks like it is going to up the ante, can't wait!

You can enjoy all of the above television series for free with your library card, so get comfy and binge out!

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