When all the champagne is gone and the decorations are being swept off the floor, and the Christmas trees start lining up the curb, and the inevitable churn of real life sets in again, I have the perfect remedy: The Twilight Zone. This is a tradition that I partake in twice a year, but it began solely as a New Year’s Eve/Day event and then slowly became biannual January/July tradition.

My dad introduced me to the show when I was ten and my first thought was “gross, a black and white TV show? Borrring.” But instead I was instantly fascinated by it, and completely engrossed as each episode blended into the next and my parents were yelling at me to go to bed. Don’t be turned off by the fact that this show was produced and filmed so many years ago, it still holds up as interesting, bizarre and mostly captivating. Lots of shows have attempted to do a Twilight Zone-esque episode. But seriously. it’s an incredible show to watch and here are all the reasons why the marathon is my favorite thing to do to kick off the new year.

It’s a nice slow break

This is the easiest reason of all. December is a crazy month with family get-togethers, parties, holidays, shopping, work deadlines and by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, most of us are wiped out by all of it. You need more than the weekend to recover—you probably need a whole week. What better way to rebuild your resources than a couch and a bunch of mysteries?

Two words: Rod Serling

A host who is at once handsome, yet a little eerie, Rod Serling is the ideal watching companion. He’s sometimes welcoming, yet not too much, so you don’t completely trust him. That’s the essence of The Twilight Zone. Even when you think you know where a plotline might be headed, it’s usually the complete opposite or nothing at all like what you originally predicted. And the added knowledge that Serling penned most of the scripts, adds to his all knowing mysterious persona. Just the way he does the opening of every episode feels like the beginning of a roller coaster slowly going up up up a step incline and culminating in the rush of him saying “welcome to the Twilight Zone.”

Marathons are the original Netflix binge

Before we had On Demand and Netlix at our fingertips, we had to wait and hope for a network to re-air shows we wanted to see if we didn’t own them on VHS or DVD. The marathon of any show is the original binge watch. Thank you, networks!

You’d be surprised at how many people you recognize

So many well known actors and actresses starred in episodes of The Twilight Zone, and no matter how many times I have watched, I always forget a face or two and get excited to spot the familiar faces. Or when an episode begins I try to guess if I know who the famous star is in this particular one. And many of them appear in several. Actors like Burgess Meredith, Ann Blyth, William Shatner, Robert Duvall, Carol Burnett, Cloris Leachman, Robert Redford and countless others. I believe IMDB has the cast list at over a thousand actors for the show’s entire original run which spanned from 1959-1964.

Oh, and the show itself is amazing

Each episode is like a miniature study in human nature with the added twist of a fantasy element thrown in. You’re watching ordinary people navigate extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s chilling, sometimes you have to cover your eyes and other times you’re just aghast at how it turned out because you had no idea what was coming.

So go ahead, relax, and turn on The Twilight Zone.

[Image via CBS]