The What’s and Why’s of “Binge-Watching”

These days, lots of folks enjoy binge-watching their favorite television shows. Watching multiple episodes of a favorite television show in a row can be very entertaining.

Watching old favorites from the past can bring back some cherished memories. Plus, it gives you a chance to see episodes you may have missed the first time around.

Binge-watching current popular shows makes it possible to quickly catch up on those you may be behind on or discovered after they’d already been on for a few seasons. It can give you something to talk about with family and friends who are fans of the same show.

So what exactly is “binge watching?” Simply put, it’s watching one television show episode after episode in rather quick succession. The pastime wasn’t possible in the days when we had to wait a week to find out what would happen next on our favorite shows.

Today, binge-watching is easy and convenient. We have access to whole seasons – even multiple seasons – of television shows, thanks to Internet streaming services. Full seasons of television shows are also available in boxed DVD sets.  Most public libraries loan television shows as well.

In the extreme, binge-watching might involve watching lots of episodes of a show in one sitting. But the pastime doesn’t have to be quite so dramatic or all-consuming.

Binge-watching could simply mean watching a couple episodes on Friday night… maybe another episode on Saturday night… perhaps one or two more on Sunday afternoon… and so on. Or it might simply mean watching one episode every night for as long as it takes to finish the seasons available to you.

A few binge-worthy older TV shows you might enjoy…

There are plenty of television shows worthy of binge-watching, especially for those of us who enjoy “oldies but goodies” from the past. Some less obvious shows can be entertaining to revisit, although they might not be the first to pop in your mind. Here are a few older shows you may want to consider binge-watching. Some you may not have thought about in years or even decades.

Moonlighting

Moonlighting was a huge hit in the 1980s. It paired Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives, and the show made Bruce Willis a bona fide star. The premise of the show was that Cybill’s character former model Maddie Hayes was left bankrupt after her accountant took off with all her money.

Desperate for an income, Maddie’s only option was to work at the Blue Moon Detective Agency, a former investment she owned only as a tax write-off. As a result, she was forced to partner with a fast-talking, charismatic detective named David Addison, played by Willis.

The two clashed from the start but there was also an undeniable romantic chemistry between the two. Together, the two cracked challenging cases while constantly throwing verbal barbs at each other.

Bruce was spot-on as he dished out the “bad boy” charm and sarcastic one-liners. Actress Allyce Beasley was also great as Agnes DiPesto, the agency’s quirky receptionist who answered every phone call with a rhyme.

Moonlighting is entertaining and funny, with plenty of mystery and a touch of romance and sexual tension that always keeps you guessing.

The Rifleman

Moonlighting was a huge hit in the 1980s. It paired Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives, and the show made Bruce Willis a bona fide star. The premise of the show was that Cybill’s character former model Maddie Hayes was left bankrupt after her accountant took off with all her money.

Desperate for an income, Maddie’s only option was to work at the Blue Moon Detective Agency, a former investment she owned only as a tax write-off. As a result, she was forced to partner with a fast-talking, charismatic detective named David Addison, played by Willis.

The two clashed from the start but there was also an undeniable romantic chemistry between the two. Together, the two cracked challenging cases while constantly throwing verbal barbs at each other.

Bruce was spot-on as he dished out the “bad boy” charm and sarcastic one-liners. Actress Allyce Beasley was also great as Agnes DiPesto, the agency’s quirky receptionist who answered every phone call with a rhyme.

Moonlighting is entertaining and funny, with plenty of mystery and a touch of romance and sexual tension that always keeps you guessing.

The Rockford Files

In “The Rockford Files,” James Garner played an ex-con turned small time private investigator named Jim Rockford who lived in a trailer in Malibu. Rockford was not a roaring success as a PI, but he managed to get by and usually solved the cases he tackles. Of course, it seemed like he only got cases no other detective would touch with a ten-foot pole.

Rockford tended to be on the cynical and pessimistic side about most things, but there was a wit about his sarcastic nature that most viewers found charming and even endearing at times. His wisecracks were both funny and relatable. And the jams he got himself in and out of were usually amusing as well.

Unlike a lot of TV detectives, Rockford often ended up on the losing end of physical brawls and financial disputes. His relationship with his father semi-retired truck driver Rocky was one of the most entertaining aspects of the show.

Rocky sometimes got involved in Rockford’s business dealings in ways he shouldn’t have, which caused tension and laughs. The opening segment of the show always began with an intriguing and usually humorous message on Rockford’s telephone.

Thirtysomething

“Thirtysomething” centered on a circle of female and male friends all in their 30s, some married and some single. It focused on a time of life that is momentous for most people, the years when we realize we have become adults.

The show appealed to a demographic beyond just thirtysomethings. Folks older than the characters on the show liked it because they had “been there, done that” and were able to personally relate to what was going on. The show also attracted younger viewers who saw their thirties looming ahead of them.

The show’s appeal was based largely on the fact that it reflected real life in a real way. It was about people leading imperfect, relatable lives. Unfortunately, the show was lacking in diversity.

“Thirtysomething” is about friendship. It’s about family. It’s about aging and maturing. It’s about life.

Homicide: Life on the Street

Although underappreciated when it was on, “Homicide: Life on the Street” has a large fan base today. And the series deserves some attention. It was a great police drama with plenty of grit along with some humorous moments as well.

The show was about a homicide squad played by an ensemble cast of terrific actors. At the top of the list has to be Andre Braugher along with Melissa Leo. Andre played Detective Frank Pembleton, a somewhat stiff and arrogant man. He was a great interrogator in “the box,” but never bothered with niceties in his daily life… not even with his fellow detectives. Melissa Leo played Detective Kay Howard, a dedicated detective who was intensely private about her personal life. Kay’s desire for privacy inspired plenty of interest from her coworkers.

There were other multilayered characters on the show, including Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch played by Richard Belzer. The character of Detective Munch has appeared on many different shows and various networks over the years, and became a regular on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

If you like a good police show with great character development, don’t miss “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

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