Memorial Day is one of the busiest weekends for back-to-back-to-back airings of some of TV’s most legendary shows. With so many networks choosing to program entire blocks with some of their most treasured reruns and originals, we’ve picked our 15 favorite marathons, complete with info on where and when to watch them.
(And if these aren’t enough to whet your TV appetite, we have the full list of all the other non-stop holiday binge possibilities here.)
Monday, 5:00 p.m. – Tuesday, 1:00 a.m.
While we would have gone with a binge of “United Shades of America,” CNN’s multi-part look at the biggest stories and movements of a pivotal cultural decade isn’t a bad runner-up decision.
Monday, 3:00 a.m. – Tuesday, 3:00 a.m.
Another outside-the-box programming choice, given the bevy of originals that the network has in its stable. Regardless, if “Star Trek” isn’t your geekery domain of choice, there is also a Hannibal Lecter triple bill on Sunday night.
Monday, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The newest jewel in the CMT crown may have recently lost Connie Britton, but far be it from anyone to keep audiences from reliving the good ol’ days, in all its country music drama glory.
Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. – midnight
In what’s becoming a go-to holiday move for Freeform, the network’s returning to the standby of “Harry Potter” movies, splitting up one half of the mammoth franchise for each weekend night. Though, you can probably just tune into Sunday, which will have the best book (“Goblet of Fire”) and the best movie (“Order of the Phoenix”). All opinions final and accurate.
Monday, 5:00 a.m. – Tuesday, 1:00 a.m.
Sometimes, there’s a simple satisfaction in watching a basic cable show that delivers on the promise of its title. Perhaps this collection will include an Andrew Zimmern tussle with a giant sea squirm.
Monday, 2:00 p.m. – Tuesday, 3:00 a.m.
OWN isn’t overthinking it: when you have a captive audience, why not run every episode of your network’s best show? All 13 installments from Ava DuVernay’s TV adaptation of the Natalie Baszile novel, back to back is an ideal way to extend the holiday well into the early hours of the morning.
Monday, 5:00 p.m. – Tuesday, 12:50 a.m.
Monday is normally “Better Call Saul” night for AMC, so it makes sense for a few extra episodes to pull double duty as both catch-up and lead-in. With Saul Goodman lurking around the corner, the time is right to hook any lingering “Breaking Bad” fans.
Monday, 6:00 p.m. – midnight
“Simpsons” marathons on FXX are no great surprise, but if you’re going to watch one show on a holiday, you could do much worse than Homer, Marge and the gang.
Monday, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
It’s one of TV’s purest reality competition formats. Ted Allen is the platonic ideal of a reality host, facilitating culinary triumphs and shortfalls with equal aplomb. (Plus, every once in a while you get this.)
Monday, 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
If you’re spending the day with family, odds are good that someone will probably bring up the “NAKED GRANDMA!” clip anyway. Might as well catch a few other episodes while they’re at it.
Monday, 9:00 a.m. – Tuesday, 4:40 a.m.
A collection of the medical comedy’s greatest hits, starting with a breakfast-timed showing of the premiere, all the way through the finale in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Excellent work slotting the musical episode in a prime 9:30 p.m. window.
Between “Where Eagles Dare,” “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Enemy Below,” that’s quite a testosterone-fueled lineup. A solid mixture of films made in the wake of the conflict and ones produced with decades of perspective.
Friday, 6:00 p.m. – Monday, 3:00 a.m.
Any time that this network airs “Winning Time” — twice in one weekend! — it is making the absolute best programming decision possible. Kudos for a double dose of “Muhammad and Larry” and “Doc & Darryl,” too.
Sunday, 6:00 a.m. – Tuesday, 6:00 a.m.
With over 250 episodes to pick from, Sundance could have week-and-a-half-long marathon without any repeats. A slice of TV history is a fitting way to spend the holiday.
Monday, 2:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Let’s acknowledge that any day off is best spent with Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia. TVLand, we salute your Betty White-guided instincts.
Image: Jaap Buitendijk
Image: Michele K.Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television