As a term, "binge" hasn't always had the most positive connotations. But that negativity is all in the past, now that streaming services have made marathoning full seasons of TV shows as easy as pressing a button and keeping your eyes open. Binge-watching is now a badge of honor -- something to brag about at the office or over drinks. And with so much great content out there, locking out the world and plugging into a series for several hours a week (or a night) is really the only way to keep up.
But here's a fact many fledgling binge-watchers don't realize. A great show isn't necessarily a binge-able one. There are shows like the dark British anthology "Black Mirror," with individual chapters so peculiar and haunting that they demand some contemplation to really land. And there are shows like the gruesomely beautiful "Hannibal," which requires a stomach of iron just to get through one episode per sitting.
But never fear. There are plenty of well-made series that satisfy the need for a good TV bender. So silence your phone and pop the popcorn. These five shows are ideal material for a good, long binge-watch.
1. 'Friday Night Lights'
If you're a football fan, you'll appreciate this much-adored drama for its scenes of gridiron glory and defeat in pigskin-obsessed Texas. If you're not a football fan, you'll still fall in love with the show's vibrant, heartbreaking characters and its often idyllic but never naive vision of the American family. A perfect indie-rock/modern-country soundtrack, intimate camerawork, and a photogenic cast contribute to the binge-ableness of "Friday Night Lights."
2. 'The West Wing'
It's an election year, so it's pretty much required of registered voters to embark on a first-time binge or an umpteenth rewatch of The West Wing." You'll be hooked on the breakneck pace of the show's signature rhythmic dialogue and on the personal and professional lives of the idealistic staff who support the most iconic of fictional U.S. presidents, Jed Bartlet.
3. 'Broad City'
Hilarious life partners Abbi and Ilana are your tour guides through this comedy's fun-house mirror version of New York City. In "Broad City," watch them deal with lost cell phones, drugged-up recovery from wisdom tooth surgery, impossibly disgusting roommates, and more annoyances of pseudo-adult life. The girls' friendship is the glue that holds the whole crude mess together and will keep you hitting that "next episode" button until there are no episodes left.
4. 'Doctor Who'
The long-running British science fiction series, "Doctor Who," is a dream to marathon, because it's actually several different shows in one. The basic premise -- a near-immortal humanoid alien picks up companions and makes trouble throughout time and space -- gives the series boundless freedom to bounce between high comedy, life-and-death action, historical fiction, and hard sci-fi, from episode to episode. Start with the first episode of the 2005 reboot, though there's lots of fun, great performances, and goofy rubber masks to be found in the original 1963 series.
5. 'The Great British Baking Show'
A warning: You may want to hide your keys from yourself so you don't proceed immediately to the bakery after the final bake-off is complete. The reality competition show, "The Great British Baking Show," is scrumptious and charming, pitting amateur bakers of all ages and backgrounds -- a construction worker versus a grandmother versus a high school student -- in challenges both sweet and savory.