Before You Can Binge Watch, You Have to Binge Wait

2015-09-22-1442950974-7054942-Untitled.jpg

Following the series finale montage broadcast during the Emmys Sunday night, there was an online backlash at all the spoilers revealed.

Poo-pooers correctly noted that these shows ended their runs months ago and the endings were long-ago revealed - is it too soon to tell that Ted was the only WJM newsroom employee not fired in the finale of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"? These poo-pooers then excused the Emmy spoiler reel by assuming incorrectly that if you wanted to watch these series, you would have already.

Wrong, because before you can binge watch, you have to binge wait. Then you have to binge schedule. Binge watching takes time and vacant days and nights, which are hard to come by. The point is, I can binge watch when I want - even a few years from now - and shouldn't have to worry that my binge watching will be ruined by those who insist on watching shows when they actually air. Luddites.

I, like many TV viewers, have been spoiled by Netflix and modern DVR technology. Over one lazy weekend and I can share the estrogen-filled prison claustrophobia with Piper, Alex and Crazy Eyes, or plot politicide alongside President Underwood. I don't have to wait a whole week to watch the next chapter. If I want to watch the next episode and the next one after that and even the next one after that, grab a snack, then one or two or three more episodes - that is now my right.

Despite our modern viewing habits, networks adhere to the antiquated once-a-week episode paradigm, in which it takes months to collect a binge-watchable-worthy batch of one series. When I decide to catch up, without sequestering myself in a bathroom-less bunker like Andy Samberg did, is up to me.

For instance, I haven't seen all the episodes of shows from last spring, such as "Texas Rising" yet. Nor have I watched "The Honorable Woman," "American Odyssey," "Humans," "Mr. Robot" or the second season of "True Detective" (so I didn't get the guitar girl gag at the Emmys). I've only watched the first episodes of season 2 of "Outlander" and "Turn," and still have five season two "Bates Motel" episodes to work through. I just finished binge-recording "Show Me A Hero" and I'm currently binge-saving "Public Morals." I'll DVR and watch the first episode of "Blindspot" before deciding whether to binge wait the rest of the season.

All these shows and more are patiently waiting for me on the hard drive of the fabulous TiVo Roamio Pro, which thankfully stores 3,000 hours of HD content.

Then there shows I can only get by streaming. I haven't seen a single episode of "The Americans" or "Transparent" yet and am through two seasons of "Foyle's War" - but, some day, I might want to indulge via Netflix, iTunes and/or Amazon. So don't tell me - or show me - what happens in any of these shows.

I Know Nothing, Jon Snow

Binge waiting is toughest for cultural must-sees. Once "Homeland" starts up again, for instance, it'll be tough to wait for the end of the season to find out what another fine mess Carrie and Saul have gotten themselves into, especially since my "Homeland" fan wife, because of her own hectic work schedule, is only an accidental binge waiter. And I'll be in a complete binge-waiting quandary when "Downton Abbey" and especially "Game of Thrones" resume. The temptation to discover if Jon Snow is rightly dead and not wight-ly dead may be too great to wait.

As a pop culture purveyor, binge waiting is made even more difficult when one is constantly confronted with the epidemic of hours-after-the-episode-aired recaps. Apparently I'm so stupid that I need to have what I just watched explained to me by multiple other viewers.

Fortunately, I watch a lot of recorded sporting events so know how to avoid live results, and I work at home, so I don't have to avoid all the at-work water cooler recaps and discussions.

Lest you think all I do is binge wait (I do manage to squeeze in some writing work once in a while), we're nearly done binge watching the last season of "Mad Men" (really, Emmy voters, you couldn't throw Matthew Weiner a last-season Best Drama bone?) and we already binge watched the last season of "Boardwalk Empire" so I know that SEMI SPOILER ALERT somebody shot what's-his-name.

But I may soon have to binge watch some of the other aforementioned binged waited recordings since my massive TiVo Roamio hard drive is 91 percent full. Alongside all the aforementioned binge-recorded semi-current TV series, I've binge waited to binge re-watch (and sometimes re-re-watch) the entire runs of "The Wire," "Deadwood," Ken Burns' "The Civil War," "Band of Brothers," the first five seasons of "Perry Mason" (like Donald Trump and Charlie Sheen, I like winning) and PBS' "Abraham and Mary: A House Divided" and "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," along with a bunch of this year's movies I didn't catch in the theaters - and even some I have.

Not only am I a binge waiter, it turns out that, like Jim on "Blunt Talk," I'm also a binge hoarder. How do I know about Jim's hoarding on "Blunt Talk"? You don't binge wait comedies. That'd be over-the-top.