Bingeing Keeps me Sane by
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I’m not talking about binge eating, although there’s a bit of that going on in our household when we deserve a treat for making it through another day. I wish I were talking about binge reading and writing, but as the days melt into one another, my ability to concentrate diminishes. No, I fear I’m talking about what we find on television to pass the time as we head into our ninth month of the pandemic.

I fear I’m talking about what we find on television to pass the time as we head into our ninth month of the pandemic.

My husband and I are so eager to find good stuff that we actually spent hours figuring out how to get our free year of Apple+ on our new, smart, but highly reluctant Sony television. Seems it likes Android and we use Apple computers and phones. But we persisted, highly motivated to watch Hamilton (totally worth it). Also fun/interesting as long as we were there, The Morning Show, Ted Lasso, Little America, and Defending Jacob (a movie).

But why stop there? We also added HBO Max, which I guess as HBO subscribers, we were entitled to for free. This also took hours to set up, twice, but we were rewarded with an amusing adaptation of The Flight Attendant and a rather dark version of Perry Mason.  There are an endless number of old television series and movies, which we have thus far avoided.

In no particular order, we have enjoyed the following binges:

Rake (Australian)

The Crown

The Queen’s Gambit

The Undoing

Virgin River

Schitt’s Creek (passed on it the first time, but grew to love it)

The Office (never saw it before, quite addictive)

The Last Dance (a treat for 1990s Bull’s fans)



Small Axe

Borgen (a Danish House of Cards)



Russian Doll

Modern Love

Never Have I Ever (a plug for Suzy’s son’s show that got a 5-star review from three generations of my family)

Only saw the first episode, which was very interesting, so couldn’t put it on the list

Your challenge is to figure out what streaming services offer these shows. Google is pretty helpful with this. Much to our dismay (or maybe this is a good thing?), we can’t access many shows our friends are bingeing on different streaming services (i.e., Britbox and Hulu), and have vowed not to pay for more.

It will be a cold and dark winter, so we binge and wait for the vaccine and warm weather. Hopefully, we can stop bingeing and start living again.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real and join my Facebook community.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    LAURIE! It took us WAY too long to set up HBO Max also! Thank you for the affirmation! I wanted to see the staged version of West Wing, just before the election, but Dan was on the Vineyard, and he assured me it was simple (NOT). I gave up. When he tried recently, he gave up the first time, the second time it must have taken 10 or 15 minutes, countless password resets (that I would not have been able to do) etc, before we finally got into the damn channel. Thank you for the affirmation.

    We watched many similar programs. I forgot about Modern Love, which we ADORED! I would add it my list, but then I’d have to drop two words somewhere, as this is my first RetroFlash. Good list there. I couldn’t convince Dan to watch The Last Dance or Fleabag (!), and I don’t have as much free time as he does, so I’ll just have to suffice. He likes film noir and WWII movies. What can I say.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      We did end up watching all episodes of the Israeli series Valley of Tears since I posted my story. It was hard to watch and I could easily have stopped part-way through. Great job on your first RetroFlash, BTW.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Great title, Laurie (and true for many of us). And, for me, an excellent list: reaffirms my prior good judgment and offers a few promising newbies. And relieved to hear that both you and Betsy also had such a difficult time setting up HBO Max. You would think that, with their years of experience, they would have been the most user-friendly. But no.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      John, we attempt to go there (HBO Max) with great trepidation. Did the typical Christmas thing of ordering Chinese food and watching a movie. We saw Wonder Woman last night on HBO Max, which received a 4-star review here. Meh. But since we were on that station and feared we might lose it, we watched Let Them All Talk. Much better. Gal Gadot is beautiful but give me Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergan any day.

  3. I wonder, Laurie, about “when the pandemic is over,” and how our lives may have changed for good (or bad). Will we binge less? Will we dine out more often? Will we socialize the way we used to? Or have we grown used to or even comfortable with “the new normal”? I know I’ve grown VERY fond of ordering groceries online…not sure I’ll go back to the old ways.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I never thought I would say this, Barb, but I look forward to shopping for my own groceries. I’m not organized enough to keep good lists and was always inspired to buy what I saw in person. Hope I’m not bingeing as much when I get get out of here!

  4. Marian says:

    We have Amazon Prime Video, which was thankfully easy to set up, and can watch shows on demand through Xfinity (great for the occasional NCIS). I’m with you about paying for additional services, which is what these folks want. I love the few episodes of The Office that I’ve seen and should explore that more. Speaking of reading, I just counted 28 books I’ve read since February! Not too bad considering how hard it is to concentrate now.

  5. Suzy says:

    Since you’ve got Apple+, you might want to check out my son’s earlier show Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. It’s a little weird but you might enjoy it. It’s a comedy about the team that has created the biggest multiplayer video game of all-time. If you have any video game players in your family, they would definitely like it.

  6. Thanx for the tips Laurie, it will be a cold, dark winter indeed!

    But as you say, hopefully at the other end we can stop bingeing and start living again!

  7. This is an impressive “compilation tape!” Many of them I’ve never heard of, but I don’t watch much TV besides news and sports and SNL (and you’ll see that my “binging” story will not be about TV at all).
    . BTW no need to be a Bulls fan to love “the last Dance.” It’s for anyone who’s any kind of sports fan at all, IMHO. BTW the director is a Williams College alum (home town reference for me).

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