Streaming television service providers and on-demand services offered by cable and satellite companies have opened the door for television fans to engage in marathon viewing sessions of their favorite shows.
Such sessions are now routinely characterized as ‘binge watching,’ in which people spend hours on end watching popular series such as ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Stranger Things,’ often watching multiple episodes in a single session.
The concept of marathon television programming is, perhaps surprisingly, not all that new. Television marathons have been broadcast on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for decades. Many people include television marathons as part of their plans for the New Year, perhaps as a way to unwind after all of the festivities.
‘The Twilight Zone’ is perhaps the show most instantly associated with New Year’s marathons. The revered series, which ran from 1959 to 1964, was written and produced by creator Rod Serling. ‘Twilight Zone’ popularized the sci-fi genre while helping to launch the careers of performers such as Peter Falk, Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford, among others. Each year, the Syfy channel airs a ‘Twilight Zone’ marathon on New Year’s Day.
Another popular television marathon each New Year’s Day is ‘The Honeymooners.’ New York City’s PIX11 channel runs classic episodes beginning at 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and continuing through the next day. ‘The Honeymooners’ follows Ralph Kramden, a short-tempered bus driver played by Jackie Gleason who lives in a small Brooklyn apartment with his wife, Alice. The first episode aired in 1955.
New Year’s Day television viewers are bound to find a marathon sometime between Dec. 31 and Jan. 3. Many stations put together their own marathons for this time of year. Otherwise, TV lovers can catch up by streaming their favorite series as they relax at the end of the holiday season.