You probably know the feeling. You’re caught up in a TV show—it could be an old favorite, or one that’s totally new to you—and suddenly you want more. And because you’re watching over the Internet, you have entire seasons at your fingertips. Just one episode, you tell yourself. Before you know it, fifteen hours have passed, you haven’t showered, and your lap is littered with crumbs.
But some shows are more addictive than others. A recent study by the NPD Group found that a few particular series lead to “binge-watching” behavior on subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix. Top among them for 2012 was Prison Break, the 2005–2009 Wentworth Miller drama. Rounding out the top 10: Charmed, That ’70s Show, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, Scrubs, Heroes, 24 and One Tree Hill.
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The study divides the habit into two types of watching: the “marathon binge” (most commonly done with shows that are off the air), and the “catch-up binge” (in which viewers want to be up-to-date with their favorite still-airing shows). Most catch-up binging happens with buzz-worthy shows and often occurs around a season premiere.
If the top-ten list still looks a little weird to you—when was the last time you heard about someone staying home for a week to watch the entire run of Charmed?—there’s one more factor that the researchers acknowledge: not every show you might want to watch is available on the VOD services included in the study, and the more services on which a show is available make it more likely to climb the list.
Okay, we’ll let you get back to Gossip Girl now.
(MORE: James Poniewozik reviews Prison Break)