Saturday, November 25, 2017

Binge watching began at Thanksgiving

Why do I say that? Because one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions was always the TV marathons. One station would show TWILIGHT EPISODES all day long. Another would air THE HONEYMOONERS (happily, WPIX in New York still does!). And depending on your local market, stations might trot out I LOVE LUCY marathons or DICK VAN DYKE SHOW marathons or ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW marathons. I kept hoping one station in Los Angeles would show an I’M DICKENS/HE’S FENSTER marathon but alas it was not to be.

Personally, I had no trouble watching six TWILIGHT ZONES in a row. And neither did a lot of people because these marathons were repeated year after year.

Now of course, with Netflix and Hulu and the others, you can have Thanksgiving every day. You can create your own GILLIGAN’S ISLAND marathon if you want to (although why would you?)

TV pundits wondered whether viewers would take to binging. Well, gee, we’ve been doing it for twenty-five years.

The only problem is, why watch the Thanksgiving marathons at all now? Now you can watch the same TWILIGHT ZONE episodes without the annoying Kohl’s commercials.

But it’s sad to see a tradition die. Oh well. Now I must get back. I just started season three of THE EQUALIZER.


Brad Apling said...

Odd thought came to mind about binge watching TV shows: why not past sports events? If we've watched shows ad infinitum, we know how certain episodes will turn out. It's the same for games. Of course, I don't know of any network or streaming channel that re-runs an entire season of baseball, basketball or football or "The Best World Series of the 90's". But would people tune in if there was a marathon of the games just to 'relive the thrill and suspense'?

Craig Gustafson said...

I'm still waiting for the revival of "McKeever and the Colonel."

tavm said...

You forgot to mention the one TV marathon I loved watching on Thanksgiving, or Turkey Day as they called it, that of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on Comedy Central during the '90s!

Mister Charlie said...

I'm Dickens, He's Fenster ...the first half of their only season was released on DVD about 2 years ago, the second half of the season was not released, given the low sales of the first DVD. I own it though, and shall binge in honor of your column.

Peter said...

The Equalizer was a great show. Edward Woodward was a wonderful actor. The Denzel Washington film, while entertaining, bore no similarity to the series. Entirely different protagonist with a different backstory and they didn't even use the iconic theme tune. Why did they even bother calling it The Equalizer?

Unknown said...

Hey, Ken -

You wanna binge?

You wanna marathon?

A few weeks back I requested that you watch one episode of The Edge Of Night, dated October 21, 1983; I thought you might get a kick out of what (and who) was in it.

I'll make the educated guess that you didn't take me up on this.

That said, I'd like to take this opportunity to double down, so to speak.
(Any and all others who read this, feel free to join in.)

My proposed marathon comprises a string of Edge episodes running between October 31 and November 14, 1983 - eleven half-hour episodes total (most if not all have had the commercials edited out, so the run time is about 22 minutes each, give or take).
Most of the shows from November 1st on begin with the notation "Monticello - The Day/Night Before The Election" - so we're talking about something taking place over a single day/night.
All one story, though, which moves pretty fast when you watch it in one fell swoop.
(Imagine what it was like having to see it one day at a time over a two-week period ...)
In real time, it comes to the equivalent of two features, back-to-back, which most of us can live with, I think.
Ken: I had a specific reason for asking you to watch that single episode back then. That still applies here - it was based on my having read your columns for some while now, and beyond that I won't spoil anything; you have to see for yourself.
Just go to YouTube and follow the dates, remembering that Nov.5-6 and 12-13 are weekends.
Seriously (?), I still believe you (and anybody else who reads this) might actually enjoy all this, on its own merits.

Think about it anyway ...

Andy Rose said...

@Brad Apling: ESPN Classic tried to do that sort of thing. It didn’t get them very far.

One problem is that those old broadcasts are actually owned by the sports leagues, not the networks. So, for instance, NBC Sports Network could not reair the old MLB Games of the Week with Vin Scully because those broadcasts are owned by Major League Baseball. NBC would have the pay MLB for the rights to air them again.

Sometimes the league-owned cable nets do air old games, but only irregularly. Those networks ultimately exist to promote the league as it is now, and airing old games doesn’t do much to that end.

blinky said...

I loved the Twilight Zone as a kid but now the pacing is so slow that they are hard to sit through. I find this true of old movies as well. The story telling is glacial in old movies that I thought were awesome.
New movies seem to have taken the pacing and put it on hyperspeed. The newest Borne movie was basically a 2 hour chase scene.

Mike Bloodworth said...

That's actually not a bad idea. May I suggest roller derby. The L.A. T-birds vs the N.Y. Bombers with the call by Dick Lane.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I'd choose Gilligan's Island over Arrested Development. Besides, over-the-air T.V. is FREE!

Mike Barer said...

Ironically, the two surviving characters on Gilligan's Island are Ginger and Mary Ann.

Cheryl Marks said...

Ken, Maybe you have some insight (possibly a Friday question?) Recently I've watched several one-day marathons on a cable station that covered the first few seasons of a now defunct series. When I tried to watch the following season, "on demand," I discovered the remaining episodes were only available on Netflix (a bummer if you DON'T have Netfix). Just wondering if these "free" marathons are simply a marketing ploy by Netflix who paid the cable station to run the marathon?

VP81955 said...

Brad: I understand that in the 1959-60 off-season, MLB did something along those lines, airing assorted games from the '59 season. YouTube has a Cardinals-Dodgers broadcast from that July as part of that package. It's not the original telecast, since Chicago's Jack Brickhouse calls the game (and he certainly wasn't there that night), not the Cards' Harry Caray or LA's Vin Scully. (In those days, the only Dodgers game televised were from San Francisco; no home games were carried -- O'Malley surely recalled how televising home games hurt Brooklyn attendance -- and line fees, not to mention two- or three-hour time differences, precluded airing games from the other six NL cities.) Nevertheless, it's fascinating to see a baseball game from the venerable Coliseum, arguably one of the weirdest stadiums in the sport's history. (Ever see a Dodgers game there, Ken?) I have no idea if any other '59 games are available, as I'd love to see action from long-vanished venues such as Griffith Stadium, Crosley Field or Kansas City's Municipal Stadium.

Speaking of the Dodgers, they're holding a weekend "pop-up" museum at the left-field area of Chavez Ravine through the start of March, commemorating their six decades in Los Angeles. Might be fun to check out.

Stephen Robinson said...

Nostalgia has me "recreating"through Netflix the marathons of my youth -- MST3K on Thanksgiving and TWILIGHT ZONE on New Year's.

Cap'n Bob said...

Football in 60 shows Pac-12 games with all the huddles and between-play b.s. edited out. Just action and occasional replays. The games can go back a week or years.

My Thanksgiving marathon was The Three Stooges, until they started repeating them.

Ralph C. said...

I’m waiting for the marathon of the t.v. show “Turn-On”.

Ralph C. said...

MST3K, season 11 available on Netflix, has been having Turkey Day marathons since 2014, courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Anonymous said...

Re Mike Barer:
"Ginger or Mary Ann?" used to be a sexual question, now it's an existential one.

Diane D said...

Speaking of binge watching---this wasn't old sitcoms, but I binge watched GODLESS (7 episodes) on Netflix, and it was wonderful. The Cinematography was absolutely breathtaking! One scene of a group of horses running in the shallows of a river in slow motion was so unbelievably gorgeous!

Michelle Dockery in an 1884 Western, I thought! But she mastered it, accent and all. The rest of the cast was equally as impressive, and it made for a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day.

Of course every holiday has to end with a few of my favorite episodes of CHEERS. To top things off, CNN aired the 1980s again this weekend and I got to see our esteemed blog host, Ken Levine and Shelley Long sharing their wisdom about that amazing show.