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Long-running TV shows to binge-watch while in lockdown

By Kara Santos Published Mar 31, 2021 5:00 am Updated Mar 31, 2021 10:16 am

Looking for a series to watch (or rewatch) while in lockdown? While there’s something satisfying about finishing a short new series or film, it’s also great to have longer series where you have more time to get attached to characters and you can easily binge-watch knowing you still have lots of episodes to look forward to.

With the latest IATF restrictions causing people to stay home during the Holy Week break, we could all use something with a long runtime to watch and spend a day with.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best TV shows with 10 or more seasons, so you’ll have plenty of episodes to keep you company through this latest quarantine period (and beyond). 

Friends (10 seasons, 236 eps)

In case you haven’t watched the classic sitcom Friends yet, why the heck not? Or even if you have watched episodes over and over again, binge-watching the entire series again is something you can put on your must-watch list during this latest lockdown. 

The comedy series follows the adventure of six friends—Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe—as they navigate life in New York City. Seeing the gang all together as they grow over a decade is always fun.

The series, which originally premiered in 1994, concluded its ten-season run in 2004, with a total of 236 episodes. A Friends reunion special is currently in the works at HBO Max.

Friends is currently streaming on Netflix.

Smallville (10 seasons, 217 eps)

Was Zack Snyder’s Justice League not long enough for you? You might want to check out Smallville, which covers the trials and tribulations of a teenage Superman.

The American television series based on the DC Comics character Superman follows Clark Kent (Tom Welling) in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, before he becomes the Man of Steel. 

The first four seasons focused on Clark and his friends in high school and his love story with Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk). After season five Smallville ventured into adult settings, eventually focusing on Clark's career alongside Lois Lane (Erica Durance) at the Daily Planet and introduced a slew of other DC comic-book superheroes and villains.

The superhero series started airing on October 2001 and finished its ten-year run on May 2011 with 217 episodes. Somebody save me!

Smallville is currently streaming on Hulu, which is only available in the US. However, it's still possible to watch Hulu in the Philippines if you're using a VPN.

The Walking Dead (11 seasons, 152 eps)

The American post-apocalyptic horror television series—based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard—feels like it has gone on much longer than it should (not to mention the numerous spin-off projects and series), which makes it perfect for zombie lovers who fear running out of things to watch.

The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse, trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies, known as "walkers." However, with the fall of humanity, these survivors also face conflict from other living survivors who have formed groups and communities with their own sets of laws and morals, often leading to hostile conflict between them. 

The series, which premiered on October 2010, has been renewed for an eleventh and final season and will conclude in 2022. As of March 28, 2021, 152 episodes of The Walking Dead have aired.

The Walking Dead was previously available on Netflix, but is now available via AMC+.

The X-Files (11 seasons, 218 eps)

The truth is out there in the classic '90s science-fiction supernatural television series that centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called the X-Files.

Mulder, an FBI profiler, is a believer in the paranormal, and the skeptical Scully, a medical doctor, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries which could ultimately be used to discredit his work. Throughout the series the two develop a close friendship. 

The series originally aired on Fox for nine seasons from September 1993 to May 2002 and was revived for an additional two seasons from 2016 to 2018. The X-Files concluded its eleventh season with 218 episodes.

The X-Files is streaming all 11 seasons on Hulu.

Modern Family (11 seasons, 250 eps)

The long-running sitcom Modern Family series focuses on the lives of three families—Jay and his wife Gloria, Jay’s son, Mitchell and his husband, Cameron, and Jay’s daughter Claire and her husband, Phil—as they face the hurdles that come with modern-day family life, from rebellious teenagers to struggles at work. 

During the course of the series, 250 episodes of Modern Family aired over 11 seasons, between September 2009 to April 2020.

Modern Family is currently streaming on Netflix.

The Big Bang Theory (12 seasons, 279 eps)

For those looking for a light and enjoyable comedy led by a likeable cast of quirky characters, and episodes chock full of pop culture and geeky references, be sure to check out The Big Bang Theory.

Often compared to Friends, this long-running comedy series follows the lives of four socially awkward scientists—Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj—whose lives change when they meet Penny, an energetic waitress and aspiring actress. 

The show premiered on September 2007 and concluded on May 2019 with a total of 279 episodes aired over twelve seasons.

The Big Bang Theory is currently streaming on Netflix.

Supernatural (15 seasons, 327 eps)

There have been a new wave of shows dealing with supernatural elements and mythical creatures on Netflix these days, but it’s always fun to rewatch early editions of shows with the same themes.

The American supernatural drama television series follows brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) as they travel throughout the United States hunting supernatural creatures. The series borrows heavily from folklore and urban legends, and explores mythology and Christian theology, and their main adversaries throughout the series are demons.

During the course of the series, 327 episodes of Supernatural aired over 15 seasons, between September 13, 2005, and November 19, 2020.

Supernatural is streaming on Hulu.

ER (15 seasons, 331 eps)

ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC. ER follows the inner life of the emergency room (ER) of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and various critical issues faced by the room's physicians and staff. 

During its run, 331 episodes of ER aired over 15 seasons, between September 1994 and April 2009. The show was considered the longest running primetime medical drama until Grey’s Anatomy surpassed it in 2019. 

You can buy episodes of ER from iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.

Grey’s Anatomy (17 seasons, 372 eps)

Grey’s Anatomy follows the personal and professional lives of the doctors at Seattle’s Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital starring the likes of Sandra Oh, Patrick Dempsey, and Ellen Pompeo.

As ABC’s longest-running scripted primetime show, Grey’s Anatomy has attracted a large fanbase since it first aired back in 2005. ABC has renewed the show for a sixteenth and seventeenth season, the latest of which has not yet even aired.

As of March 25, 2021, 372 episodes of Grey's Anatomy have aired, including five specials.

Grey’s Anatomy is currently streaming on Netflix.

Law & Order Special Victims Unit (22 seasons, 486 eps)

For those in the mood for some good old-fashioned crime drama, there's always Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Centred around the NYPD’s new elite "Special Victims Unit"—a force set up to investigate and prosecute sexually-oriented crimes—the show follows its detectives as they work to uncover the truth behind some of New York City’s most heinous crimes.

The fact that the show has been running for over 22 seasons is a testament to its ensemble cast and gripping plotlines. The series originally premiered on NBC on September 1999 while its 22nd season premiered on November 2020.

As of February 25, 2021, 486 episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit have aired.

You can stream all 22 Seasons of Law & Order Special Victims Unit on Peacock.

South Park (26 seasons, 309 eps)

Did you know that the award-winning American animated television sitcom South Park created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for Comedy Central has been running for almost 25 years?

The series revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town. The cartoon designed for mature adiences is infamous for its profanity, and dark, surreal humor that satirizes a wide range of topics. Despite stirring controversies over the years, South Park has been critically-acclaimed.

The first episode of South Park aired on Comedy Central on August 1997 and the show has been renewed up to the 26th season.

As of March 2021, 309 episodes of South Park have aired.

Seasons 17 to 23 of South Park are currently streaming on Netflix, but you can watch full episodes of all the seasons online here:

The Simpsons (32 seasons, 701 eps)

The animated sitcom created by Matt Groening is a satirical depiction of a dysfunctional middle-class American lifestyle starring the eponymous family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Set in the town of  Springfield, the show lampoons both American culture and the human condition.

The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States.

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast a whopping 701 episodes, as of March 28, 2021. 

All episodes of The Simpsons are currently streaming on Disney Plus. We're really hoping the Philippines gets Disney Plus in the country soon, but in the meantime, there are VPN options to access the streaming site.

Doctor Who (38 seasons, 862 eps)

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television program produced by the BBC which currently holds the world record for the highest number of episodes of a science-fiction program.

The series depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called “The Doctor” an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-traveling space ship called the TARDIS which has an exterior that appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. With various companions, the Doctor combats foes, works to save civilizations and help people in need.

Though Doctor Who ceased production in 1989, it was revived in 2005. The original series (1963–1989), generally consists of multi-episode serials. The 2005 revival trades the earlier serial format for a run of self-contained episodes, interspersed with occasional multi-part stories and structured into loose story arcs.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, 862 episodes of Doctor Who have aired. This includes one television movie and multiple specials, and encompasses 296 stories over 38 seasons. Additionally, four charity specials and two animated serials have also been aired.

The BBC iPlayer has all 12 seasons of Doctor Who since the revival of the show in 2005. If you want to really wind back the clocks though, a new streaming service, BritBox, has all the classic episodes starting in the 1960s. However, those residing outside the UK may need to turn on their VPN to get around any geo-restrictions involved.

Happy binge-watching!

(Images via BBC and CBS)