Devouring whole seasons at a time: a healthy habit? Blogger John Cooper crawls out into the light after another heavy telly binge
It's increasingly popular as a way of catching up on quality telly. I'll bet you've been in the situation, you're either down the pub or at a convention and someone says "Have you been watching...?" then everyone trades their loyal viewing habits. It can get passionate with the odd disagreement of what's hot what's not, but you still feel like there's a show you're missing out on.
At the time of writing my diet is five regular shows, doing catch-up with two more and three non-genre shows for desert. This still leaves my recently purchased Doctor Who: Creature From The Pit and Martian Chronicles DVDs to make room for and an unfulfilled menu of Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, V and True Blood. I recently had Heroes removed surgically to make more room.
It was Lost that got me hooked on binges. Having dumped it in season two for stories that teased less and told more, I'd been sniffing around it like a lover on the rebound since season five and resolved to catch up before the end. Last month I succeeded, having consumed three and half seasons over a couple of weeks, and now I'm addicted to boxed sets. Reading SFX recommendations, I've just done the same with season one of Fringe in five days, and blimey it's good. (If you've not seen it please do, I've got it earmarked as my placebo drug of choice when Doctor Who finishes, mainly for the sublime performance by John Noble as mad professor Walter Bishop.) So what's next?
I've just completed a non-genre - season one of The Wire. But now I'm torn. I missed out on Battlestar Galactica (I know, I'm shamed... don't look at me like that, but it's so bleak). And this is the rub: not all shows make good "marathoning". Unquestionably the modern ability to have it all - any time you like is a big pull, as is seeing big story arcs play out with greater clarity. And don't worry if there's a bum episode, there'll be another on along in a minute. Though the cracks do start showing. Anything with a reset button doesn't have the same effect, and shows referencing their own timeline look a bit odd.
Decision time - I'm definitely doing Battlestar, maybe just in smaller portions? Oh but it's pricey online! Maybe I could borrow it? That would mean leaving the house though. Tough one.
This is a personal article by John Cooper, one of our site contributors. Are you hooked on box set bingeing? Your thoughts welcome as always, in the comment thread below or on our forum .