I stopped watching Castle some time in the middle of season 4. Looking back now, I can barely remember why. I know that I stopped watching after “Cuffed,” which was a ludicrously awful episode, but one terrible installment isn’t enough to turn me off a show for good. Maybe I had an immature “this show has jumped the shark!” moment, or maybe Castle had dropped in quality and “Cuffed” was just the nail in the coffin. Without rewatching, I guess I’ll never know.

In any case, when I was feeling sick last week, unable to do anything other than passively absorbing images on a screen, I suddenly got a whim to catch up on Castle. So I binge-watched it, catching up on just over a season’s worth of episodes to where it is now. And surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. Like, a lot.

That got me thinking: does marathoning a TV show make you more likely to enjoy it? It’s possible that blazing through episodes one after another gives you less time to reflect on a show’s flaws. But it’s also possible that doing so prevents you from reflecting on and appreciating some of the subtler things that a show can do. Unfortunately, I can’t go back in time and experience the counterfactual situation of never having given up on Castle in the first place, so there’s no way of telling whether Castle actually improved in quality post-“Cuffed” or if my enjoyment merely came from watching the episodes in quick succession.

The other important point about marathoning a TV show is that it’s addictive. Now that I’m done with my binge-watch, I want to watch more Castle. Obviously, I’m now stuck on the same weekly schedule as the show, so I have a strange urge to go back and rewatch the old episodes just to satisfy my Castle craving. I have no idea why marathoning is so addictive. Maybe one starts to feel comforted by the sense of familiarity a show – especially a procedural – can afford after watching 5 or 6 episodes in a row. Or maybe I’m just weird like that.

In any case, Castle is back in my weekly viewing rotation now, which is nice, because I’m thinking of dropping Bones now that it has fallen to nearly unwatchable lows. I need a light, quirky procedural in my life, and I’d rather it be an entertaining show than one that just reminds me of how good it used to be. Over the next few weeks, I’ll get a sense of whether I was silly to drop Castle in the first place or if the positive feelings I’m having for it right now are just a result of the post-binge honeymoon phase.

What are your experiences with marathoning shows? Good? Bad? Confusing? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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