It’s the day after Christmas. You made it through, y’all. Well done. But now comes the long, dark teatime of the holidays: those few days after Christmas but before New Year’s. No more parties. No more presents. No more feasts. Only leftover-combination sandwiches and hangovers and piles and piles and piles of fudge. Which is all well and good (and frankly I wish I were having one of those days right now), but it offers a unique opportunity for the marketing imps of Satan that doesn’t really exist any other time of year: the television marathon.
Oh, yes, my friends. The television marathon is a time honored tradition of exhausted, pajama-clad Christmas revelers who at this point just need a day off to loll about. How better to spend time with your family without actually having to expend any energy? Watch thirty episodes of the same show, all in a row, and get zombified together. You’ll have something to talk about over your mess of a turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich later (protip: mix the cranberry sauce in with the mayo and your bread won’t get as soggy). You’ll have something in common. You might even learn something about each other, like that your dad’s really into an obscure scifi show, or that your mom loves the episodes with awesome explosions the most.
The Husband’s family is really into old television and movies. They’re the most wholesome people I’ve ever met in my life. They watch Andy Griffith and still get utterly tickled at those corny jokes, even though I know for a fact they’ve seen that episode like fifty times. Adorable. But I’ve watched a lot of weird old stuff with them that I didn’t know existed, curled up in my corner of the couch, slowly switching from coffee to cocktails, asking endless and stupid questions about the logic of the show or the character. A lot of those shows are ones I would never watch on my own, and even if I didn’t particularly enjoy them I got to have them explained to me by someone who does and who gets a kick out of my being so completely lost. (That sounds mean, but I assure you the delight comes from being able to teach me something. They’re marvelous people and I love them dearly.)
So, because you guys are tired and I’m on my way to a turkey sandwich and some rummy eggnog as fast as my little legs will carry me, I give you my top five favorite television marathon experiences. In no particular order:
The Twilight Zone – this is the marathon to end all marathons. This is the marathon that I would choose, every time, if given the choice. The show itself is hit or miss, which is extra handy in a marathon because you can take a break to take a shower or call your mom or whatever you need to do, and you don’t feel like you’ve missed anything. Also, I’ve been watching The Twilight Zone all my life and I still don’t think I’ve seen them all. It’s awesome. (Favorite episode: Time Enough At Last)
Star Trek – I watched all of season one of the Original Series over Christmas a couple of years ago with my then-roommate who had never watched any Trek. It was completely fascinating to see her see it for the first time. We got very drunk and very deep and very philosophical about the ins and outs of Starfleet, alien cultures, and whether or not Captain Kirk is a sexist pig (and if he is, does it matter?). So, while I wouldn’t recommend it for a marathon if you’re not already a fan, that particular marathon made my not being able to go home for Christmas completely okay. (Favorite episode: Arena)
The Outer Limits – I know it’s a controversial opinion, but I feel like The Outer Limits is the Kmart to The Twilight Zone. Having said that, I also think it’s the Perfect Circle to Twilight Zone’s Tool (just go Google that absurd reference). They get away with stuff that TZ can’t do. Some of the episodes almost border on horror, even. And they don’t seem to have that heavy-handed moralistic thing that TZ has, which is made hammy by Serling having to explain it to your face at the end of every episode. Outer Limits just seems a little more…what? Trusting of its audience, maybe? Something like that. Mind you, I’m talking about the original and not the remake they did in the 90s. Which is fine, but a completely different animal. (Favorite episode: Wolf 359)
Ancient Aliens – I know, I know. It’s the most absurd show on television. Which is probably why I love it. I’m firmly of the mindset that anything is possible, and if there’s no way to prove a thing didn’t happen a certain way, then there’s no reason not to entertain the most illogical or bizarre possibilities. Therefore, aliens mucking around in our primitive business works for me. I totally believe in aliens anyway, so why limit their involvement to modern times? That doesn’t make any sense at all. We might actually be someone’s science fair experiment. That’s cool. It would explain a lot. And Tsoukalos cracks me up, I love that guy. (Favorite episode: Aliens and the Third Reich)
Stargate: SG-1 – Okay, so this one isn’t actually one of my favorite marathons because of holiday television. This one made the list because I have a story. I love Stargate, as you well know, and I have every season of every version of the show and all three movies on dvd. A few years ago, The Husband and I were so stoked to be able to have a post-Christmas marathon. We got all snuggly on the sofa and turned on the tv, hoping against hope that it was something awesome. And lo! It was fucking SG-1. We were crushed by our own nerdism! Dammit, SyFy! As if you changing your name to something stupid weren’t bad enough! But seriously, if you don’t have every line of this show memorized, I’m sure it would make for a worthy marathon. (Favorite episode: Window of Opportunity)
And there you have it. If you, like me, don’t have cable, I hope this helps you narrow down your internetting marathon options. If not, at least you didn’t have to read my babble for too awfully long this week. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s some hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps screaming my name. Peace.