You’re on Spring Break. You’re home with the flu. You’re having a lazy Sunday of epic proportions. Chances are, you’re also either in the midst of binge-watching something, or searching for your next victim. You cruise Netflix and hit up Hulu+ & Amazon Prime. You make a mental note to ask your friend for her Hulu+ password (she promised!), then head over to Google to type that age-old question into the search bar: “What should I binge-watch next?”
At this point, Google’s going to lead you to about a thousand different lists that will almost certainly tell you to watch Breaking Bad, Seinfeld, and The Sopranos. Cheers might appear on some lists. Frasier, too. And while these lists are helpful (surely you needed even more people telling you to watch The Wire, right?), what they won’t tell you is just how hard it is to get through some of these series at five, six, seven episodes at a time.
Some shows are made for mass consumption — that is one, right after the other. Others are inherently difficult to consume in large chunks. They might be scary or gross, too heavy, or too sad. Well, we’re here to tell you that binge-watching is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. With a little help from Reddit, we’ve created a list of TV shows you might just want to watch the old-fashioned way.
1. Mad Men
Mad Men is a divisive one when it comes to binge-watching. You either love it and can’t get enough, or need a significant break between episodes. Well, consider Redditor deightk’s thoughts when choosing yay or nay on Don Draper: “Mad Men demands to be savored in small chunks. Each episode is so rich in texture and thought-provoking moments, and it doesn’t extensively utilize the narrative conventions that most television shows use to encourage binge-watching.” Noted.
NBC’s Hannibal is as intense as they come. It also has a rabid following, so you know it’s good. But join the “Fannibals” at your own risk — As Reddit user Tobby00 puts it, “I’m afraid for my mental health.”
3. The Americans
Having just renewed The Americans for Season 4, FX is clearly aware at how beloved their 1980s-set spy thriller has become over the last few years. Fans tune in for the constant twists and turns (and Keri Russell’s legendary wigs), but perhaps it’s too deep for its own good. As redditor RelativeisRelative points out, “It’s a little bit too dense to just blissfully watch for hours on end.”
4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia concluded it’s 10th season—yes, TENTH season—last month and surprisingly enough, the writers were able to keep the crazy at an all-time high. But how long can the shtick realistically continue? “It’s a brilliant, funny show — but I can’t watch more than a few episodes before I lose all faith in humanity,” wrote Nabbit. “All the main characters are just such terrible human beings.” And yet, we still love them.
5. Black Mirror
It’s hard to describe Black Mirror, the massively popular Twilight Zone-esque show from across the pond, so we’re better off leaving it to this wordsmith: “It warps your world view a little bit and makes you see things slightly differently,” PissyPerfectionist wrote. “You need a day or so to get back to reality.”
6. The West Wing
Call it the Sorkin Effect: “I do enjoy it,” wrote kookoo_bandit of The West Wing. “But if I watch more than 2 episodes in a row then I find myself trying to walk and talk with all of my colleagues. They are not impressed.”
“Hoarders. I really like it but I always have to stop to go on a cleaning spree after a few episodes. :)” Think we can all relate to schueaj on this one.
What show has been hardest for you to binge-watch? Share in the comments!
For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!