There’s a fairly new trend out there for those of us who watch television the traditional way – traditional with a DVR anyway. Marathon series runs. Shows you wouldn’t watch on a weekly basis take on a whole new aspect when you can devour a season on your own schedule.
Watch television on your own time
In the old days, you had to choose one show at a time. Then along came the VCR which allowed you to watch a taped show and tape another, or vice versa. It wasn’t really a problem when it first arrived on the market.
Then the networks grew and then they put out more shows and even more shows. So the DVR came along to allow us to record more shows. Then Netflix and Hulu and so on and so on.
The thing is, regardless of how you watch, you only have so much time. The choice of what you’ll record and what you’ll miss is hard. You’ve committed to a series and the long storyline is engaging, and you watch television in short bursts. You can’t commit to another series without getting some assurance that the time will be entertaining or informative.
The season marathon
The magic about a season marathon is that they run on the days when the only other shows you can watch are reruns or sports. Settling in for a whole season of Justified, or The Walking Dead, or The Almighty Johnsons, is less of a problem. You can watch television for a couple of hours and decide if you are going to enjoy the series without committing to a weekly choice.
I just watched the final season of Leverage as a marathon. Up here in America’s hat, the series was always a bit hit and miss. The shows would be out of order, or shown on an irregular schedule so it was hard to engage. The final season as one long series of hours (ok, 45 minuteses), made it so much easier to follow the long story arc of the good bye.
The long story line, the real benefit of the marathon
Not all television series have a long arc. Most of your episodic shows do, and I find that often it’s hard to find it in the schedule of episodes and season breaks and ‘off for Super Bowl, or the Olympics, or Christmas’. That’s not including when they are off because they are preempted.
Watching television series as a marathon makes it hard to miss the long arc. With Leverage, the long arc was beautiful. It encompassed the end of the series – you knew that, right? and the heart of it in a con.
For me, I like getting the first season as a marathon. I will often stick with shows I’ve watched for a long time and, unless they totally turn me off, I get engaged with the characters and the recurring stories. To bring another story into my life is hard and that marathon is the way I can catch up with the story and get to know the characters.
What shows have you enjoyed as a marathon? Were you surprised? Do you watch television in marathon form?