I’m not one to binge-watch a show. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve tried to watch more than a couple of episodes of a show in rapid succession. On the rare occasion I do it, it’s something like Stranger Things where it’s a mixture of complete surrender and intrigue. I ended up finishing that show over a single weekend. Afterward, the feeling of no more episodes and of being lost in a familiar place overtook me. It was the same feeling I get when I finish a really good book or experience a film I wish would never end. I have to find a way back to that feeling. You know, like the Nexus in Star Trek: Generations.
TV shows are hit and miss with me. Regularly, I hear encouragement from those around me to watch x amount of episodes before judging a show. I’m not much for patience in that manner. I’ll give a show one or two episodes to connect. If it doesn’t, I move on. In today’s age of such high quality television, subscribing to every show out there would be impossible. Perhaps the binge mentality is a way to absorb more content in a quicker manner, but like alcohol, I’ve found it best to enjoy it one drink at a time.
When I joined the Air Force after high school, I found a lot of time to create hobbies. I aimed to read as much as I could, but I also felt drawn a bit towards my childhood. It was likely the loneliness and lack of social interaction that prompted me to dive into entertainment from my youth. Sure, some cartoons were a must, but the first show I latched on to was The West Wing. It was still on the air and I had fond memories of watching the earlier seasons. Since this predates Netflix, I bought each season and watched them all the way through twice. It would take me around a month to get through a season, so I managed to get through all seven seasons twice in a little over a year.
After that I decided I wanted to tackle more, popular shows from the nineties. I wanted to watch all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, and ER. Ten years ago, I started in on each show, one to more degrees than others. Seinfeld was another show I loved watching before dinner every night as a child, but unlike those dramas, I would willingly purchase the box set and rewatch it constantly. It took no effort at all to watch what I considered the greatest sitcom of the nineties, arguably of all time.
When I graduated college four years ago, I realized my goal from almost a decade prior was incomplete. I started back in with TNG first. By now, two of the three shows were on Netflix Instant, so access to the episodes was easy. I powered through the remainder of the first 3 seasons so that I could experience the landmark two-part The Best of Both Worlds 1 & 2 on the big screen. I slowed a bit after the screening, but I eventually finished the show and movies featuring the TNG cast.
I tried to devote my energy to Mulder and Scully after the dust had settled more heavily. I would watch an episode on occasion, but progress was snail speed at best. I even started running on the treadmill while watching episodes as a means to get through it faster. I’m not of a fan of procedural dramas, so it was hard. I ended up making it a few episodes into season six before I gave it the boot.
The way I approached ER was similar to The West Wing. I’d purchase a season, watch it through a few times and then grab the next one. Unlike the Bartlett Administration, I found the stories of the men and women of Cook County General Hospital to be less engaging and immediate to me. Sometimes I’d go several months before finishing one season and getting the next one. I’m sure I had a yearlong break at some point. 15 seasons was a tall order. My speed of watching was almost non-committal, though not nearly as slow as me trying to get into The X-Files.
I remembered the early seasons when they first aired on NBC in 1994. The show was a huge hit and I enjoyed watching it each Thursday night with my mom. I’ll always remember the episode of Doug Ross (a then newcomer to stardom George Clooney) rescuing a young boy from a drain.
When I picked up the need to really finish the show, I started with the third season since it was the earliest one I hadn’t seen completely. This was in 2005-2006. The show was airing its 11th season and I was eight seasons behind. Last night, I finally finished the last episode. It took me a hell of a long time to do it, but man was it worth it.
**Part 2 will be coming tomorrow. It’ll be about my reflections on ER as a whole. (click here)**