08.24.10

The Best TV Shows to Rent

Which shows improve when watched marathon-style from the comfort of your couch? Jace Lacob offers a guide for which series you should catch up with next and which to watch again online or on DVD.

While you would be hard-pressed to find a Lost fan who didn’t watch the series until the flash-sideways came to an end in May, far fewer watched the series from the on-set. Instead, many devotees got hooked via DVD, watching hours of the series in epically long sessions and then struggling to remain patient until the newest season returned.

Gallery: Best TV Shows to Rent on DVD

Clearly, whoever said patience is a virtue wasn’t living in the digital age.

Those of us who have missed out on a new show have often bemoaned that it was too late to catch up and see what all of the fuss was about. But thanks to a proliferation of platforms from which to view television programming—everything from iTunes to Netflix to Amazon to iPad apps—it’s now easier than ever to watch True Blood, Mad Men, or any other series your friends and co-workers are talking about if you didn’t tune in from the beginning.

View our complete coverage of the 2010 Emmy AwardsIn fact, many of these shows are just as enjoyable—if not more so—to watch in marathon form, speeding through episodes without the hassle of having to wait a week in between installments. We’ve rounded up 12 current and past dramas that actually improve when watched in a continuous stream over a short period. Here are the top 12, for your consideration and for your rental queue.

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Jace Lacob is the writer/editor of Televisionary, a website devoted to television news, criticism, and interviews. Jace resides in Los Angeles. He is a contributor to several entertainment websites and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.