15 Shows To Devour During Comcast’s Watchathon

This week, Comcast is freeing up a ton of its on-demand content, like the entireties of Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Homeland, and Game of Thrones. It’s a lot! Here’s a guide.

HBO

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons (with dragon). On Game of Thrones.

Starting Monday, and until March 31, Comcast cable customers can watch more than 3,500 TV episodes on demand for no extra charge — they’re calling it the “Watchathon.” Regardless of what cable package you have, if you are a Comcast Xfinity customer, all the premium channels’ content (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.) will be available to you through VOD, tablet, mobile, and web. Same with basic cable such as AMC, FX, and more. Here is the full list of shows.

As I have complained previously, I am a Time Warner Cable subscriber. But here’s what I would watch, rewatch, or dabble in if I had Comcast. Oh, and I’m not even including the very obvious shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Oz, Dexter, and Battlestar Galactica, all of which are there in their entireties. But those (and many more things that would cost you DVD or streaming money) are available too.

3. 1) Game of Thrones

HBO

Lena Headey as meanie Cersei Lannister.

As much as I’ve loved watching Game of Thrones week by week, the fantasy drama is so sprawling — and sometimes so confusing — that it is the ideal show to marathon. Season 3 begins on HBO Sunday, March 31; watching the two 10-episode seasons that precede it sounds like heaven to me.

5. 2) Enlightened

HBO

Laura Dern and Luke Wilson. Weep!

I’ve been literally sad since Enlightened was canceled by HBO last week. It was a beautiful show that yes, very few people watched — but there was a movement growing around it. If Enlightened had caught on in a bigger way, I feel like it not only would have been good for television/art, but (I really mean this) good for the world. It had values and politics that would be nice to spread through people’s minds. It was not to be, and that is devastating. It would take a total of nine hours to watch both seasons of Enlightened: Do it.

7. 3) The Americans

FX

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

This new FX drama about early ’80s Soviet spies (played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) posing as average Americans is fantastic. If you hurry, you can be caught up and start watching it live; its finale isn’t until May 1. You will not be sorry. So good.

9. 4) Mad Men

AMC

Jon Hamm.

In plain terms, Mad Men is simply one of the best shows ever in the history of television, and it has been watched by relatively few people. That won’t be true as years go by and more people decide to dive into the story of Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) work and life. Season 6 begins April 7 on AMC, and it’s going to be great too. What are you waiting for?

11. 5) Web Therapy

Showtime

Lisa Kudrow.

This Lisa Kudrow comedy, which she created with Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos, started out as a web-only series but is now also on Showtime. That’s a little confusing. But who cares: This show — Kudrow plays a terrible online therapist — is hilarious. A zillion guest stars too: Minnie Driver, Alan Cumming, Molly Shannon, and for god’s sake, Meryl Streep. Among others!

13. 6) Grimm

NBC

Bitsie Tulloch (left) with David Giuntoli.

After finding the pilot episode idiotic, I did not watch Grimm during its first season. Then enough people told me they liked it that I gave it another chance; I watched all of Season 1 last summer, and it was really fun. Particularly in binge form. And strangely — relaxing? The show has only gotten better during its second season, which I wrote about here.

15. 7) Deadliest Catch

Discovery

I got on a cross-country JetBlue flight once and there was a Deadliest Catch marathon on Discovery. And then I landed. It was a bit disturbing! The point is, this show about fishermen is addictive and easy to watch. Perhaps a palate cleanser in between Mad Men and Game of Thrones.

17. 8) Homeland

Showtime

Claire Danes.

I loved the first season of Showtime’s Homeland and did not love the second. But this show — about terrorism and war and patriotism and complicated people — is important, and it’s here to stay, so if you haven’t watched it, and you’re a television fan, you really should.

19. 9) Downton Abbey

PBS

If you are somewhere rainy, I think all three seasons of Downton, despite its unevenness, has got to be your No. 1 choice. You might die of the cozy feeling. But it will have been worth it. (Don’t blame me for the finale of Season 3, though!)

21. 10) Veep

HBO

Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The first season of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ HBO comedy is only eight half-hour episodes! Child’s play. Except if you let your child near Veep, which has a lot of cursing and borderline bad people on it, I’m calling the police on you. So don’t do that. Season 2 starts April 14. Catch up now.

23. 11) Parenthood

NBC

I honestly don’t know if people should binge-watch NBC’s Parenthood. It could be sort of dangerous because of all the crying involved. But if you want to watch the best family show on television right now and also need an emotional catharsis, Parenthood’s four seasons are here for you.

24. 12) Shameless

Showtime

Emmy Rossum.

This Showtime drama/comedy is on the list because I am among those who desperately want to get into it, and feel like I just never have it available to me in some accessible form. Everyone who watches it loves it.

26. 13) The Walking Dead

AMC

This show has had its creative ups and downs, and that probably won’t change (there will be yet another new showrunner next season). But its massive popularity is rewriting the business of television. If that’s not a reason to watch, there are also scary zombies! (Except for the stretches of episodes when there are not scary zombies.)

28. 14) Duck Dynasty

A&E

As with The Walking Dead, Duck Dynasty’s popularity is part of a wave of cable shows getting ratings the broadcast networks envy. Another good palate cleanser.

30. 15) Revolution

NBC

I don’t get the popularity of this show, to be honest — and we’ll see how long it lasts. (For NBC’s sake, I truly hope it does.) It’s here to check out, though, and maybe it’s awesome and I’m just wrong! It would not be the first time.

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