Marathon Viewing, A New Year’s Tradition

January 1, 2018 GMT

While streaming television popularized “binge watching,” the concept of marathon television programming is, perhaps surprisingly, not all that new.

These days, people might spend hours on end watching popular series such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Stranger Things,” but television marathons have been broadcast on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for decades. Many people include television marathons as part of their plans for the New Year, perhaps as a way to unwind after all of the festivities.

“The Twilight Zone” is perhaps the show most instantly associated with New Year’s marathons. The revered series, which ran from 1959 to 1964, was written and produced by creator Rod Serling. “Twilight Zone” popularized the sci-fi genre while helping to launch the careers of performers such as Peter Falk, Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford, among others. Each year, the Syfy channel airs a “Twilight Zone” marathon on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


A new marathon this year comes to HBO. The network will be airing all eight “Harry Potter” movies back to back starting at 9 a.m. Monday on HBO Go and HBO Now. For those who prefer comedy, “Parks and Recreation” will be on E! and TruTV will have an “Impractical Jokers” marathon.

New Year’s Day television viewers are bound to find a marathon sometime between Dec, 31 and Jan. 3 — and beyond. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Emmy Award-winning series Breaking Bad, AMC is hosting a complete series marathon that began on Sunday. Every episode of the critically acclaimed series will air in chronological order on Saturdays and Sundays through January.

Otherwise, TV-lovers can catch up by streaming their favorite series as they relax at the end of the holiday season.