Please give my TV watching some structure.
August 13, 2022 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I like challenges like the Seattle Public Library's summer book bingo, or re-reading all the Discworld books in a logical order. What's something I could do along those lines, but for TV? Not necessarily "Watch every episode of (this particular series)" but something more complex?

I'm in the US and have or can get all the usual streaming services. Any language is fine so long as it has English subtitles, but the preference is English or Japanese. At the end I'd like to feel like I accomplished or learned something, but being entertained along the way is the most important aspect.
posted by The corpse in the library to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Watch every Dr. Who episode in chronological order of when they travel to
posted by ananci at 8:22 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]

Watch all of the Up Series, in order, back to back.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 8:32 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]

Follow an actor for a few years: watch everything they were in, in chronological order. Probably more interesting if it's someone who tends to play supporting roles. Or do the same for a director.

Watch everything starring the AN/FSQ-7.
posted by offog at 8:51 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]

Watch every Dr. Who episode in chronological order of when they travel to

In a similar vein, watch the River Song stories in River Song's order.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:53 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]

Watch everything in the Tommy Westphall universe?

Or, if that's a little much, maybe every show that's featured an appearance from Detective John Munch?
posted by box at 9:11 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I tend to pick a director or actor and try to watch everything they were involved in. You really get a sense of their preoccupations. I'm doing Taika Waititi this summer and it's been fascinating.
posted by potrzebie at 10:48 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

Watch all of the Arrowverse crossovers in order--or at least the big event ones.
posted by sardonyx at 10:49 AM on August 13

Criterion Channel puts together interesting themed collections of films that might provide inspiration.

Films discussed in seasons of You Must Remember This podcast.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:05 PM on August 13

My library did a small Winter Watching bonus challenge this year to go along with Reading Bingo. The categories were:

Directed by a woman
Released the year you were born
International film (non-English language)
Interlibrary loan request
Featured at
50+ years old
posted by lizard music at 1:35 PM on August 13

Response by poster: A clarification: I'm looking for TV shows, not movies. Things that can be watched, say, one hour an evening.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:48 PM on August 13

I love bottle episodes — it could be fun to pick & choose bottle episodes from a bunch of sitcoms/comedies and watch them all in a row!

They could be from shows you've watched already, or, even, from shows you haven't; sometimes bottle episodes of unfamiliar shows can be a good way to get a taste of the show's flavour. If I Google "bottle episodes" a bunch of best-of lists come up right away.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 8:33 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

Watch all the Star Trek episodes featuring X alien species in in-universe chronological order. E.g. all the Klingon episodes, all the Romulan episodes, etc.
You could do the same thing for Dr Who, with more convoluted timelines.
posted by threecheesetrees at 11:04 PM on August 13

I was also thinking something in the crossover vein: I just rewatched the first 20 seasons of Law & Order and had to chase down a few crossover eps; I would suggest watching the Law & Order franchise, just the crossover two-parters, both within the L&O Universe as well as with Homicide:LotS, and you could extend that to the many many places Richard Belzer has played his Homicide/L&O character John Munch, as suggested above.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:23 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]

Another approach might be episodes that set-up spin-offs (backdoor pilots) and the pilot for the new show. For example, to pick a procedural you could go JAG to NCIS to NCIS:LA (I'm not sure if the others came out of backdoor pilots). This could be done with almost all genres from sci-fi (ST:TNG to ST:DS-9) and fantasy (Hercules to Xena), comedy (Barney Miller to Fish), etc. Failed (or never realized) backdoor pilots is another category you can mine.

Similar to the John Munch approach, you can do this with characters from other shows across a variety of genres--think along the lines of Star Trek (as they cross into different series), or Mary Tyler Moore.
posted by sardonyx at 9:44 PM on August 15

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