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I stared at my screen as it filled with a grid of recommendations, a curated sampling from Netflix based on what I just watched.

But I don’t want to watch anything else, I thought. I want to keep watching!

I leaned back and put my head in my hands. I sighed. It was over. Something started to autoplay. I hit pause before my laptop emitted more sounds. I stood up and started walking around, my mind still occupied.

If the above or anything similar has happened to you, you might be suffering from the Post TV Binge Blues, known as PTBB.

This is an all-too-common occurrence in the age of peak TV. Unlimited samplings on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, and other streaming services have allowed us to be consumed by binge-watch after binge-watch, leading to more and more bouts of emptiness. Ironic, isn’t it, that the things we consume eventually consume us.

What do you do once you finish a TV show that invaded your mind, body, and soul? How do you move on?

The feeling is not heartbreak. It’s almost worse: nothingness. Emptiness. A chasm created and occupied by premium content now totally gone. What will replace the void? How will I ever fill the hole in my heart with a show like this? Well, it’s taken years of development, but I have crafted a routine for that post-binge spiral. It’s not perfect, and it’s certainly not the best course of action, but it has helped to combat that post-marathon sadness.

STEP ONE: Read every available review, recap, and thinkpiece about said show.

When I watched all of True Blood in six weeks, I was also reading recaps of each episode every day, since I was so into it. After I finished The Haunting of Hill House, I was constantly searching the show’s title in Google News, hungry for more show content. This step allows you to still remain in the world of said show, interact with other people who have had the same experience, and gradually confront the reality that you have nothing left to watch.

STEP TWO: Try and talk to every person you know about said show.

Being able to talk through a loss makes it easier. Turn to those you love to break down every plot detail, character flaw, or twist you never saw coming, and the personal lives of the actors/creators. This step is vital to being able to move on after finishing a show. Plus, once you’ve talked about the show enough, it will be out of your brain: clearing up valuable real estate (to be taken over by a new show).

STEP THREE: Fall asleep to episodes of The Office.

After you’ve watched an entire show, you’ve gotten into a routine. For me, that routine includes putting said show on before bed. So now that I don’t have a show to look forward to at the end of the day, what do you put on as you lay your head down to sleep? For me, it’s The Office. I’ve seen it approximately one gazillion times. The humor still hits for me, the characters are familiar, and the show itself is relatively low impact. This is a nice base to bring yourself back to after you’ve lived in the world of a different show for awhile.

STEP FOUR: Test out several different British procedurals to see if anything sticks.

This actually never works for me. I always want to be the person with a weirdly specific recommendation, and I always want to get into niche British detective shows, but I haven’t been hooked yet. I will keep trying and report back.

STEP FIVE: Consult premiere dates and times for when your favorite shows might be returning.

This was just a stroke of luck, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel dropped its second season a day early. I was able to dive back into the comedy world of 1950s New York with ease. Thank you, Amazon! If this hadn’t have happened, I would have continually checked Twitter to see when the show would be back. It’s important to be informed!

STEP SIX: Finally, try to start a new show.

You’ve watched. You’ve read. You’ve talked. You’ve mourned. And now you’re ready for something new in your life. Maybe it’s a show you’ve had recommended to you dozens of times. Maybe it’s a show you’ve never heard of. Maybe it’s a show that’s got some buzz at the moment. Whatever the reason is, you’re ready to press “play” on that special program. So do it! It might not click at first, but don’t give up! The first episode is the hardest, but you can do it. If at first the show doesn’t stick, try and try again!

STEP SEVEN: Accept the new show as a part of your life.

Allow your body to absorb this new show, steam it into your pores, and inject it into your eyeballs. Bask in the glory of a new fling while it lasts.

Seven baby steps, and you’ll be fine. It’s not going to ever be easy. Moving on is hard to do. But there is so much TV out there to watch and obsess over.

If you’ve recently finished The Haunting of Hill House, season 3 of Man in the High Castle, you are caught up on Riverdale, Maniac, or any number of shows I have tweeted about, please feel free to contact me. I’m still working through some emotions about these shows (and that’s okay!).

Erin Vail

Erin is the 2003 West Reading Elementary Geography Bee champion, a TV obsessive, and never not thinking about Buffalo sports.

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