Binge watching TV: To binge or not to binge

Blog > What to watch
21 Oct • 7 min read

In some ways, we’re defined by our binge watching habits. With autumn finally here, and colder nights on the horizon, it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to cosy nights in front of the TV.

Popular dramas are beginning to tease their Christmas storylines, favourites such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice are back on our screens, not to mention an abundance of sports available both live and on catch up, including next month’s FIFA World Cup. There really is something for everyone whether you enjoy marathon watching or not.

We all have different habits when it comes to how we enjoy our favourite TV shows, whether that’s waiting until a series has finished, bingeing it all in one go, or patiently tuning in to follow the storyline week in week out. We wanted to get to the heart of what makes the nation tick when they’re sitting watching television and our research showed some interesting results…

To binge

For many of us, streaming services have now become the go-to for getting our TV fix. This has brought a certain level of immediacy to how we watch our favourite shows with most platforms releasing all the episodes from a series at once, perfect for those series bingers among us.

This can be a slippery slope however, if you decide you just can’t wait, as 14% of us admit to being most annoyed when a partner watches an episode of their favourite show without us. After all, enjoying funny moments, or suspense-filled endings to a drama are always that bit more satisfying when experiencing them with someone else for the first time. So binge at your own risk!

Whilst you may not be able to wait to find out what happens in the next episode, due to those moreish cliffhangers, perhaps there is something rather wonderful about the anticipation and build up to a weekly instalment, rather than spending hours sat on the sofa, ploughing through episode after episode. Besides, the fact is - most of us don’t have the attention span for it anyway.

Not to binge

More than 60% of us go on our phones whilst sitting in front of the telly. Whilst some people might be pro’s at multitasking and watching two screens at once, for the majority, how much attention can we really pay to either?

Our stints sitting in front of the box might be getting longer, our phone and tablet usage is soaring, and our attention spans are shorter than ever. We’d say that’s a solid argument for dedicating an hour with no other distractions to enjoy watching your favourite shows.

It doesn’t just end with multi-tasking either. As well as scrolling through our phones, nearly a third of Brits (28%) have said they’re prone to dozing off in front of the TV.

Perhaps a single tantalising serving of our favourite episode is what keeps us in-tune, awake and coming back for more.

That said, here’s a rundown of some of the best shows so far this year. All of which are available on catch-up. So it’s entirely up to you whether you take your time through the series, or binge all in one go!

The Responder - We loved this gritty cop drama starring Martin Freeman. It’s funny, honest and hard-hitting in equal measure. With talks for a second series already underway, now is the perfect time to join the action.

Doc Martin - This one’s bittersweet, as the hugely popular fan-favourite returns for its 10th and final series. Martin Clunes will be reprising his role as the much-loved doctor, while fans can expect a few old faces returning for the show’s swansong.

Marriage - Talk about a showcase of Britain’s finest actors. Nicola Walker and Sean Bean star in one of the best shows of the year so far. The bittersweet reality of married life is portrayed brilliantly by these two legends - it’s honestly unmissable.

The Tourist - This one might have slipped under the radar due to limited fanfare at the time, but we loved this dark comedy. What would you do if you woke up in an Australian hospital with no idea of how or when you got there?

Big Boys - A curveball, but a brilliant bit of telly nonetheless. Big Boys tells the story of a pair of unlikely friends at university and all the trials and tribulations that come with balancing adult life with education.

What do Manhattan TV customers think?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of us would opt against bingeing. With 73% of Brits saying they’d rather not steam through their favourite series’ - it seems as though taking our time to enjoy a show is the ultimate preference.

Are there any exceptions that would make you bend the rules though?