We asked thought leaders what shows they can't get enough of and why.
On bingeing: My last successful binge was "Game of Thrones," when I watched all 40 episodes in under six days while also cooking complex recipes every night, hand remodeling my kitchen and rehearsing arias for my performance of "Don Giovanni." An attempted binge of "Orange Is the New Black" sputtered when I decided that a women's prison show needed much more sex.
On making time to binge: Generally, in order to support my bingeing, I give up reading the backs of cereal boxes. Binges also impact my intensive study of random Yelp reviews and my consumption of RedFin sales data in Silicon Valley (OK, I actually don't give up the RedFin). I also spend less time with my wife—who, for some reason, really doesn't mind.
How I binge: I binge exclusively on TiVo.
On bingeing: I rarely am able to watch TV shows when they are actually on, and I've missed a lot of the shows that everyone raves about. So now I'm watching "Glee"—it is certainly not a new show, now in Season 6, but my kids recently discovered it, so we are catching up on all the seasons—and "La Selección," a Colombian TV series about the Colombian soccer team from the '90s. My husband is from Colombia, and we've really enjoyed this production.
"Orange Is the New Black" and "Breaking Bad" have been highly recommended by my friends, so I'm going to tackle those next! I also still have a bunch of old episodes of "Mad Men" to catch up on.
What I'm giving up to binge: Sleep! But I'm really enjoying the time with my family, taking time out to just relax and spend time with them.
How I binge: Netflix for most; DVRs for "La Selección."
Chief Research Officer
Kantar Media Audiences North America
On bingeing: Balancing work and family time doesn't leave much room for my TV viewing in the traditional sense. Despite today's TV reality show wasteland (yes, Marshal McLuhan was partially right), there a few "investment" programs I enjoy, albeit not necessarily when the networks schedule them. Top shows on my binge list include "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad" (note: both on AMC), "Pawn Stars," David Letterman's Top 10 lists, Turner Classic Movies and "How It's Made" on the Science Channel.
My primary reason for bingeing is time—between meetings, travel, family time, commuting, there is precious little time to watch either regularly scheduled or live events.
What I'm giving up to binge: Besides reading and sleeping, nothing—which explains why my limited bingeing works. The optimum time is late evening when the family retires for the night and I can multitask while viewing. Importantly, technology is enabling me to receive, capture and time-shift any interesting content for my convenience.
How I binge: My TV service provider (cable) is the primary source as it offers DVR, on demand, online streaming services and TV to Go. The DVR is clearly one of the best devices ever created as it has completely eliminated the stress of appointment viewing. Another game-changing device is the smart phone (the iPhone in my case), which enables the portability of most content while keeping me connected on the road. My usage with Amazon Prime and Hulu is limited, but I'm currently experimenting with Google Chromecast.
Senior Director, Digital Services
On bingeing: I binge-watched "Breaking Bad" and "The Mindy Project." For "Breaking Bad," I resisted the subject matter (meth dealers?) for years, but when "Mad Men" ended its sixth season, I was so starved for a high-quality program that I decided to try "Breaking Bad." I loved all 62 episodes in one bite! "The Mindy Project" appealed to me because I was intrigued by her character's fierce personality and humorous juggle between her professional and dating lives.
On making time to binge: To do this, I've given up reading (nonfiction, New York Times Sunday Magazine and other current events reading) and sleep.
How I binge: I binge-watch "Breaking Bad" via iTunes, so I can watch Vince Gilligan and team's commentary immediately after I watch the episode—to get a full understanding of what the cast and crew meant to convey with each episode. I wanted to own the series and have it accessible whenever I get the urge for reimmersion into Walter White and his world. It's like eating a really tasty meal that you haven't had in a long time.
I watched "The Mindy Project" on Comcast On Demand during a two-week period—usually as a little 30-minute treat as I wound down for bed.
On bingeing: The truth is, I don't binge-watch—at least not for pleasure. As the TV critic at USA TODAY, I have too much television to watch on a daily basis to make time for a seven-season "Mary Tyler Moore Show" marathon, much as I might like to.
On what to binge: What would I tell people to binge-watch? It's hard to beat spending an evening with a great comedy, watching characters develop and running gags form, and seeing shows work their way from sometimes inauspicious beginnings to full-blown classic status.
Still, for my money, a binge is best applied to two dramas that actually benefit from being watched in prolonged bursts: "The Wire" and "Deadwood." Arguably the best show ever written about life in urban America, "The Wire" is a complex series about a difficult subject that viewers sometimes had trouble following, or gearing themselves up to follow, on a weekly basis. The show works better if you immerse yourself in its world and familiarize yourself with its characters and its subject matter.
The same can be said for "Deadwood." With "Deadwood," though, the barrier to casual viewing isn't the western setting or the violence—it's an idiosyncratic use of language that turns profanity into a form of poetry and, like much of poetry, can be hard to fathom to the uninitiated. Spend a few hours straight, and you'll be cursing with the best of them.
Just make sure you only do so in the privacy of your own TV room.