Binge-Watching: Tips, Tricks, and Recommendations

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I have a confession to make: I’m an extreme binge-watcher. Netflix defines “binging” as finishing “at least one season of a show within 7 days of starting.” For me, that’s child’s play. If I start a show I like, chances are I’ll have the entire series finished in 24 hours. I’ve pulled all-nighters to finish TV shows, watched episodes at 4x the speed just to finish them before my 8AM class, and many other things I wouldn’t care to admit. While I haven’t been binging as many shows recently, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Do NOT binge-watch if you have work to do! I don’t always follow this tip, but I’ve found that watching shows is much more enjoyable when you don’t feel any guilt.
  2. Use the Chrome extension Video Speed Controller. This extension quite literally changed my life. As the name suggests it allows you to change the speed of videos to up to 16x the original speed, and while I’ve never actually gone above 5x the original speed, this extension has been life-changing. It allows me to finish entire seasons of shows in less than 2 hours, and watch a 40-minute episode in only 10 minutes. After using this extension, watching a show at the original speed will seem impossible.
  3. Track your viewing history with TraktThis website allows you to keep track of the TV shows you watch, and it’ll compile charts and statistics of your TV and movie viewing history. Plus, there’s a discover feature to help you find new and popular TV shows (or movies).
  4. Watch with a friend. Watching an entire series alone in your room in the dark can be isolating, and watching with friends is a good way to bond and share your favorite shows with others!
  5. Use Binge ClockThis website will tell you how long it’ll take to finish a series if you were to watch it in one sitting, and it’s also got a feature that will allow you to plan your watching in advance.
  6. Don’t binge-watch too often! In all seriousness, binge-watching is probably definitely not good for you. Make sure you let your eyes take a break (I wish I had known this before I let my eyesight worsen), try not to watch Netflix after 10PM, and make sure to balance your binge-watching with other activities.

In addition to sharing my tips and tricks, I also have a few show recommendations! I love watching shows like “The Office” and “Friends” as much as the next person, but watching these shows for the umpteenth time can get a little repetitive. So here are 8 shows that are currently available on Netflix, that you *hopefully* haven’t watched yet. These shows are all under 10 hours so you can watch the entire series in one sitting, and I’ve done you the favor of ordering these from least to most time commitment so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you get too addicted ;^).

1. American Vandal: Season 2

8 episodes, around 30 minutes each. Estimated Total: 4 hours

This mockumentary is a parody of true-crime documentaries, and while both seasons on Netflix are equally entertaining, I personally found Season 2 to be more enjoyable. The season revolves around an anonymous “Turd Burglar” who spikes the cafeteria lemonade of a private high school with laxatives and then commits numerous other turd-related crimes. While the premise of the crime is slightly ridiculous, each episode is filled with twists and drama, to ensure you keep pressing that “Next Episode” button.

2. Carmen Sandiego

9 episodes, around 30 minutes each. Estimated Total: 4 hours 30 minutes.

Although this show’s target audience may be significantly younger than most of the people reading this article, I’d still recommend this show if you’re looking for an adventure series that isn’t too serious. The first two episodes cover Carmen Sandiego’s origin story, while the rest focus on her adventures stealing stolen artifacts from an evil organization known as VILE.

3. Hilda

13 episodes, around 24 minutes each. Estimated Total: 5 hours 12 minutes

I watched this entire show in one sitting and then proceeded to show it to all my friends. The show revolves around a young girl named Hilda and her whimsical adventures, from befriending giants to fighting spirits. “Hilda” is easily my favorite animated TV show (sorry Carmen Sandiego!) on Netflix, and if you’re in the mood to watch something light-hearted, I highly recommend this show.

4. The Sinner

8 episodes, around 42 minutes each. Estimated Total: 5 hours 36 minutes

In the first episode, the main character, Cora, stabs a man to death in broad daylight while at a beach with her family. However, she’s unsure what made her do so. Unlike most crime dramas, it’s not the culprit they are searching for, but the motive. The show is dark, disturbing, and intriguing, and the plot only thickens with every episode.

5. You

10 episodes, around 45 minutes each. Estimated Total: 7 hours 30 minutes

“You” revolves around the relationship between a bookstore owner and one of his customers, who he becomes deeply obsessed with. The show is filled with drama, and every episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes you keep watching.

6. Dark

10 episodes, around 50 minutes each. Estimated Total: 8 hours 20 minutes

I get distracted easily, and I often have a hard time watching shows where I have to read subtitles, but “Dark” is so engrossing I found myself watching it at 1x the speed AND watching it without an English dub. This German series is about a small town where strange things are happening. Children begin to go missing and entire fields of animals start dying, and it’s up to a teenager named Jonas to discover what’s going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you can only watch one show on this list, I’d recommend “Dark”.

7. The Good Place

25 episodes, around 22 minutes each. Estimated Total: 9 hours 10 minutes

The show takes place in the afterlife, in a utopia-like world known as “The Good Place”. The main character, Eleanor Shellstrop, is mistakenly sent there, and the show revolves around her struggle to fit in and become a better person. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this show has one of the biggest plot twists of any show I’ve seen before. If you’re a fan of comedies like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Office”, you’ll love this show (Thanks Michael Schur!).

8. The Final Table

10 episodes, around 1 hour each. Estimated Total: 10 hours

This is the most intense cooking show I’ve ever watched, and one of the most entertaining. “The Final Table” begins with 12 pairs of world-renowned chefs, and in every episode they are tasked with cooking a dish from a different country until only one chef remains. While the main focus of the show is the dishes they prepare, I found myself intrigued by the backstories of each of the chefs. If you’re into cooking shows or reality TV, this is the show for you!

While all my aforementioned recommendations are under 10 hours, here are a few other binge-worthy shows available on Netflix (Although, I would not recommend binge-watching these shows in one sitting because it will take upwards of 24 hours):

  1. GLOW (A comedy-drama about female wrestling in the 80s)
  2. Arrested Development (Comedy sitcom about a dysfunctional family)
  3. Queer Eye (Reality TV show where the “Fab Five” makeover people who desperately need it)
  4. A Series of Unfortunate Events (Drama/Dark Comedy about 3 orphans and their adventures escaping Count Olaf)
  5. Bojack Horseman (Adult Animation/Dark Comedy about a talking horse that’s surprisingly thought-provoking)

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