As much as we love Thanksgiving for the opportune family time and the smorgasbord of comfort food, the holiday really earns some major bonus points for the cornucopia of old-fashioned television marathons it offers. It appears the need for all day TV marathons has declined in the age of online binge-watching, and while you can absolutely spend this holiday weekend cozying up with Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime or Netflix, why not hibernate on the couch or recuperate from Thursday’s food coma with some old-school TV event programming instead? A great television marathon can surprise the hell out of you by airing some beloved episodes you’ve long forgotten, and this weekend multiple networks are offering the very best in TV marathons. Whether you love dramas, comedies, reality shows or blockbuster movies, there’s bound to be something that’ll keep you glued to the screen for hours on end. Below is Indiewire’s full Thanksgiving Weekend Television Guide, including our own personal picks on what to tune in for:
Thursday, November 27
Indiewire Pick: “Adventure Time” 9am – Cartoon Network
It really is a thankful time to be a fan of Cartoon Network’s hilariously surreal “Adventure Time.” Not only is the network airing a new episode of the current sixth season every night this week at 7pm, but they’re also devoting the entirety of Turkey Day to Finn and his adoptive magical dog/brother Jake. “Adventure Time” may be a cartoon on a kid-friendly channel, but it’s dark, hypnotic undertones actually make it even more of a delight for adults who can pick up on those sort of things. Combining the spirituality of Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest works with the absurd slapstick Cartoon Network is known for, “Adventure Time” is sure to please all ages this holiday weekend.
Indiewire Pick: “Portlandia” 9am – IFC
Before IFC premieres the fifth season of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s satirical sketch comedy show in January, the network is giving fans and newbies alike a crash course in hipster-isms with an 11-episode Thanksgiving Day marathon. You don’t need to be a skinny-jeans wearing, guitar-strumming artist to appreciate the clever parodies of this dynamic comedy duo, so there’s no reason not to get comfy with your favorite Starbucks coffee and vegan snack and check out this Peabody Award-winning series.
Indiewire Pick: “Friday Night Lights” 10am – Pivot
Not everyone’s television sets carry Pivot TV, but those who have the satellite cable network will get an extra holiday treat in the form of a “Friday Night Lights” marathon. If Thanksgiving is all about family, than there’s no television drama more apprioraite to watch than the Emmy-winning “FNL.” On one level you have the nuanced, grounded relationship between Eric and Tami Taylor (played by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in career-best performances), and on another, much-deeper one you have the family bonds that form among teammates, classmates and entire communities. “FNL” ends up creating a family that extends on and off the field, making it the perfect marathon for Thanksgiving—whether you’re into football or not.
Indiewire Pick: “Jurassic Park” 10am – AMC
The marketing train for Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World,” starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, has already begun with the recently-released trailer providing a tantalizing look at the June 2015 action/adventure reboot, but why wait all those months when AMC is giving out free tickets to the infamous park on Thanksgiving Day? The cable network will be airing the original trilogy in rotation all Thursday, giving fans and first-timers numerous chances to catch up on the groundbreaking blockbuster franchise. If you can’t make time for the entire trilogy, than be sure to check out Steven Spielberg’s original. It’s a landmark of visual effects and limitless imagination.
“Friends” 10am / “Seinfeld” 5pm – TBS
“Modern Family” 10am – USA
“Transporter: The Series” 11am – TNT
“Alaska: The Last Frontier” 12pm – Discovery Channel
“My Dirty Little Secret” 12pm – Investigation Discovery
“Millionaire Matchmaker” 3pm – Bravo
“The Simpsons” 4pm – FXX
“The Brady Bunch” 5:30pm – TV Land
Friday, November 26
Indiewire Pick: “Buffy: the Vampire Slayer” 9am – Pivot
There’s probably no better way to recover from a day’s worth of eating than spending it with an ass-kicking Sarah Michele Gellar. Long before “Twilight” brought vampires back into the zeitgeist, before female action heroines became all the rage and before a certain superhero team catapulted creator Joss Whedon into superstardom, there was “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” a genre redefining classic that inspired countless novels, comics, video games and more for a reason. Certain special effects may not hold up as well as they used to, but anyone craving a shot of supernatural adrenaline shouldn’t miss this marathon for the world.
“Deadly Women” 6am – Investigation Discovery
“Helix” 6am – Syfy
“Rambo” 11am – AMC
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” 12pm – BBC America
“American Pickers” 1pm – History
“Tanked” 2pm – Animal Planet
“Gilligan’s Island” 3pm – TV Land
“Gold Rush” 3pm – Discovery Channel
“Mysteries” 3pm – Travel Channel
Saturday, November 29
Indiewire Pick: “The Leftovers” 8:45am – HBO Signature
These definitely aren’t your grandma’s leftovers! Considering Thanksgiving Day is devoted to spending time with loved ones, it’s probably a smart idea HBO is saving “The Leftovers” marathon for Saturday, November 29. This incredibly bleak drama about the survivors of a worldwide rapture straps an emotional anchor to your ankles and drags you down with it. But while it may not be ideal holiday weekend viewing, it is unquestionably one of the year’s strongest new shows, making a marathon the perfect opportunity to play catch up before you start seeing it on a multitude of year-end lists. Bolstered by a roster of astute directors and an ensemble you won’t soon forget, “The Leftovers” will have you thinking long after the marathon ends.
Indiewire Pick: “Homeland” 3pm – Showtime
Yeah, we know, practically everyone gave up on “Homeland” during the political thriller’s wildly uneven Season 3, but fans who have stuck with the show through the current season are getting a seriously good reason to be thankful for staying with Carrie, Saul and Quinn. While nowhere near the dizzying highs of Season 1, “Homeland’s” current string of episodes has been very, very good, and with a totally new plot line and location, fans who fell off the bandwagon are encouraged to get back on with this all-day Season 4 marathon. Just don’t be surprised when you find yourself unexpectedly addicted to the show again.
“House” 6am – Cloo TV
“Manzo’d with Children” 6am – Bravo
“NCIS” 11am – USA
“The Matrix” 11am – AMC
“Veronica Mars” 12pm – Pivot
“Vikings” 3pm – History
“Z Nation” 11pm – Syfy
Sunday, November 30
Indiewire Pick: “The Affair” 4pm – Showtime
If Saturday”s “Homeland” marathon didn’t completely tire you out from Showtime, than the premium cable network is offering up another worthy marathon with Season 1 of their latest breakout hit, “The Affair.” Numerous critics have been hailing this adult drama as the best new show of the fall season, and now newcomers can check it out from the very beginning to see what all the fuss is about. While watching a marital affair develop may not sound all too investment-worthy, the way in which the show plays with memory by telling the same events from both the male and female perspective make it a unique television experience, one that deepens with every episode as the lies and mysteries of the character’s stories conflict.
“NCIS” 6 a.m. – Cloo TV
“Ax Men” 7am – History
“Law & Order: SVU” 9am – USA
“Roseanne” 10am – weTV / 12 p.m. – TV Land
“Man v. Food Nation” 2pm – Travel Channel
“The Walking Dead” 2pm – AMC
“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” 3pm – Bravo
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Indiewire!
READ MORE: The Top Grossing Thanksgiving Related Films