9 TV Shows You Should Savor, Not Binge

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In the age of Netflix and instant gratification, it’s tempting to gallop through TV shows as quickly as possible. But is streaming always the right choice? While some shows, like Parks and Recreation, were practically designed to be binge-watched, others don’t go down so easy.
In fact, after watching too many episodes of Louie in a row, you may crawl under the covers for a week and only emerge for ice cream breaks. Other shows, like Six Feet Under and Lost, were designed before anything like Netflix Instant came out. Their packed, heavy episodes were meant to be digested on a week-by-week basis, not all at once.
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So, let’s head back to the early aughts, when TV was a slow burn. Watch as slowly as your schedule allows, because back in the day, TV wasn’t a race — even if it is now.
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Lost (2004-2010)

In Lost, plot twists don’t happen in the course of an episode. They happen slowly, over multiple seasons, with clues fitting into place over time. All of the show’s seemingly unnecessary details act as keys for understanding later episodes.

So, with 121 episodes in total, you’ll need your mental capacity fully intact when trying to decipher the rules of the island where these plane crash survivors find themselves.
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Louie (2010-present)

Watching comedian Louie C.K. mope around New York and wallow through cringe-worthy twists of fate is tremendously entertaining — for an hour or two, max. Since Louie’s episodes are only loosely related, there are no cliffhangers to resolve or plot threads to finish. Instead of watching for plot, you can enjoy each standalone episode whenever you’re hungry for a dose of C.K.'s uniquely morbid sensibility.
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Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

Think of it this way: The longer it takes you to watch Six Feet Under, the longer it'll last. And you'll want to spend as much time with the Fisher family as you can.

Laden with heavy topics like death, grief, and the burden of personality and family, this show about a family who owns a funeral home is best digested, and appreciated, slowly. But it’s all worth it: You’re watching for the series’ finale, one of the best episodes of TV, ever.
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The Leftovers (2014-present)

This show is dark, man. After 2% of the world’s population inexplicably disappears, a group of New Yorkers’ lives spiral in the aftermath of such unexplained (and unfair) loss. The Leftovers uses the science-fiction genre to explore grief, the senselessness of tragedy, and the difficulty of everyday life after loss. Proceed with caution, because this is not the kind of show you want to overdose on.
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Black Mirror (2011-present)

You may be tempted to hurtle through Black Mirror like a Netflix cheetah. After all, each imaginative new chapter in this anthology series offers its own brilliant take on technology’s role in the future. But the sad truth is, there are only 12 of these chilling, suspenseful, hourlong episodes. The more quickly you watch them, the more quickly you'll find yourself back in a Black Mirror-less existence.
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Game Of Thrones (2011-present)

Be wary of hurtling through this highly addictive show too quickly, even if you're trying to catch up for season 7. Not only is it difficult to keep track of Game of Thrones’ giant ensemble cast and intricate plot, it’s tough to stomach the show’s rapid series of deaths.
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The Wire (2002-2008)

Ah, the famous crime show that turned the entire genre on its head. Each season of The Wire explores a different issue relevant to the Baltimore police department, from the illegal drug trade to the school system. Characters from the large ensemble cast are retained from season to season.

Without exposition or hand-holding, The Wire plunges viewers into the inner workings of a Baltimore police department. You’ll have to figure out who each character is without any of the usual TV show techniques, so it requires more concentration to watch.
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Mad Men (2007-2015)

Mad Men fans are divided over the binge-watching debate. One thing’s for sure: Each episode of this slow-moving period piece is jam-packed with meaning and references. By spacing out episodes, you can appreciate (and understand) the show's details more fully.
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Bloodline (2015-present)

There’s nothing like deep-seeded sibling tension to fuel a TV show. In Bloodline, an inn-keeping family in the Florida Keys is shaken up when the prodigal son, Danny, returns, for his father’s funeral. In slow increments, Danny's three adult siblings are pushed to their limits for a solution to the Danny problem.
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