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My Experience with Marathon Television Watching

by Patricia Campbell


It all started when I decided to buy the DVDs of the old 70’s-80’s television series, Dallas.  Back in the day before we were married, I saw several years of it and so did my husband, but I never saw the final five or six seasons and didn’t know how it ended, and my husband never saw the first five or six seasons to know how it started.  So we were both excited about watching it.  Seasons one, two, and three were released on DVD as a boxed set so we started with those. We watched each season which had 22-24, hour-long episodes by viewing as many as we could over weekends and week nights.  When we finished the three seasons, we clamored for more.  Little did we know what we were starting as we bought the subsequent seasons. Yep, all 14 of  ’em! It took quite a few years to collect them all, but we looked forward to them like a kid waiting for Santa. 

It didn’t become an addiction until more and more television series were released on DVD.  We could rent them from a local video store but also found many to buy used on Amazon.  We also subscribed to Netflix and received discs through the mail. This availability created a monster called “marathoning” wherein we could get through an entire television season in a weekend by staying in our p.j.’s, with a pillow and a blankie, food and drink, and hit pause only to go to the bathroom!  

Our marathoning started one Christmas when my husband gave me the complete five seasons of HBO’s Sex and the City.  I had heard so much about it and really wanted to see it, but we do not have cable, so we don’t get HBO programs.  We get 13 channels by antenna that include ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS and any of their secondary channels.  Since we prefer not to deal with commercials, we would rather watch a DVD or Blue Ray anyway. And besides, we get plenty with the old tv shows, movies, and programs on the secondary channels as well as whatever is aired on the regular networks.

So my husband and I watched Sex and the City on DVD.  We both got so hooked we watched at least 4-5 episodes a night and dozens on weekends until we completed the full five seasons.   It was such a high, we started searching for other series to watch.   We continued in this pattern through the first decade of the new millennium by buying boxed sets or renting mini-series or seasons of television shows from Netflix or video stores.  We watched such shows as North and South, The Thornbirds, Dynasty, and Monarch of the Glen and borrowed my sister’s DVDs of Gilmore Girls.  On into the second decade, we marathoned Duck Dynasty, Downton Abbey, and movie trilogies we missed in the theaters like the Twilight series.  Then we got the mother-load when we discovered “streaming” which made it possible to download television series we had missed through our WiFi right to our home’s big screen! 

Our first guilty pleasure was Breaking Bad. OMG!!  That one nearly killed us.  It was so addictive that we couldn’t quit watching it, but some of the episodes were so intense and draining, it exhausted us and we had to take a break for a day.  When we finally finished that series, our next choice was Nip-Tuck, and that one was just as interesting and addictive as Breaking Bad.  Our son even got into the action because we can stream all the old Star Trek series now.  So we are watching one episode a day of the original Star Trek with him, and when we finish that we will start on Star Trek Next Generation

Unfortunately Netflix streaming doesn’t have everything and since we still don’t have cable, some studios like HBO will not stream to us.  So we still rent at video stores or buy boxed sets of shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire

The downside of all this marathoning is the reality that we are becoming couch potatoes.  Sigh!  We have a nice double recliner to sit back and get comfy in, but sedentary sitting causes our backs and necks to get stiff and certainly is not good for our weight control as we tend to want to snack a lot.   So after we do a marathon, we agree not to start a new one for a week to get ourselves moving again.  Nevertheless, I know we will be back to marathoning (and I don’t mean jogging) as long as they don’t shut off the power!