The top binge-watched shows and what to watch after that

‘Breaking Bad’

Bryan Cranston in the eminently binge-able AMC series “Breaking Bad.”

(Ursula Coyote / AMC)

Binge-watching is on the rise, as evidenced by the results of Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey of 2,000 content consumers ages 14 and older. But with all those options at our fingertips, where do you begin? The latest prestige cable drama? Full seasons of that guilty pleasure you watched on and off in your childhood?

Last summer, TiVo released a survey of the top binge-watched series among its users, and the list serves as the perfect entry point into the limitless world of streamable, binge-able, series TV designed to keep you on your couch for as long as possible.

Though one of these shows has now ended, there’s already a follow-up ready to accept your tired eyeballs.

1. “Breaking Bad”: Vince Gilligan’s tense Mr. Chips-to-Scarface saga only grew in estimation and binge-ability as it progressed through its five-season arc. Just try to get up to go to the bathroom during the final eight episodes. 


Binge commitment: 62 episodes

What next?: AMC has already greenlit two seasons of a spinoff prequel series, “Better Call Saul,” starring Bob Odenkirk as the shady criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. One season (10 episodes) has already aired for a mini-binge follow-up.

2. “House of Cards”: Netflix got a lot of attention for its original programming by snagging David Fincher and Kevin Spacey for this American remake of the British political drama. Three seasons are out now, with a fourth on the way. Just don’t try to multitask -- Frank Underwood is watching you.

Binge commitment: 39 episodes


What next?: Netflix has rapidly expanded its original programming with “Orange Is the New Black,” “Bloodline” and “Daredevil,” among others. But after long sessions with the poisonous politics of the Underwoods, the soul may crave 156 episodes with the aspirational politics of “The West Wing.”

3. “Game of Thrones”: HBO’s lavish, complex fantasy saga takes a few episodes just to solidify who is who and what is where, but once the setup is clear, the twisty narrative will keep viewers hooked. 

Binge commitment: 42 episodes (The fifth season is currently airing.)

What next?: If the plots and counterplots and lineages of Westeros aren’t filling your head already, the nuances of Baltimore politics should fill the unused nooks and crannies. HBO’s “The Wire” (60 episodes) is available. But if it’s “what happens next” storytelling you’re looking for, “Lost” (121 episodes) is still hard to beat.

4. “The Walking Dead”: The survivors of a zombie apocalypse struggle to retain their humanity in both the literal and philosphical sense in AMC’s emotional and sometimes stomach-churning saga. Binge on the show, but not on your dinner. 

Binge commitment: 67 episodes

What next?: Issues of humanity and identity among survivors cropped up before in Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica” remake (75 episodes).

5. “Downton Abbey”: The lives of Britain’s upper-crust and servant classes gets examined in soapy, yet sophisticated style in this series. 


Binge commitment: 43 episodes

What next?: This isn’t the first time that England’s class issues have been examined on screen. If you crave more, go back to “Upstairs, Downstairs,” which examines the same time period with a family and their servants living in London. There are 68 episodes in the original 1971 series and just nine in the 2010 sequel series.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday