The Essential Guide to Binge-Watching Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy has been on a long time.

In fact, the show is currently churning through its 15th season. With over 300 episodes, there's plenty of Grey'to fulfill your binge-watching needs. Plus, it's genuinely a good show that's certain to tug at your heart strings, so it deserves some of your attention.

Grey's Anatomy: Meredith and Derek

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)

But what if you want to be in the Grey's Anatomy loop without committing the rest of your life to watching this one show? Thankfully, 15 seasons of content also means that you don't have to watch every single episode to get the major points of the series.

If you're ready to take on Grey's Anatomy, but you want to watch smarter, keep scrolling for the essential guide to binge-watching this series.

Season 1

Season 1 provides some crucial information about the characters. It sets up storylines and personalities that carry through the entire series, and it gives you important insight into the hierarchy of the hospital and where our main characters exist in the chain of command. It's only nine episodes, so it should be easy to watch the entire thing. Trust us—there's nothing in this season worth skipping.

What to skip: None.

Grey's Anatomy: Meredith Grey

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 2

Much like Season 1, Season 2 still works hard to set up the characters and the comings and goings of the hospital. It provides important insight into Meredith's family history, and it includes some of the more iconic moments from the entire series. With 25 episodes, it's definitely a bigger time commitment, but it's still worth watching the whole thing. Skipping minor parts might cause you to miss out on important information that recurs throughout the next 13 seasons.

What to skip: None. 


Season 3

Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy builds onto storylines from Season 2, explaining a bit more of the backstory behind some big relationships. It also deals with the fallout of Season 2 and how the characters cope with a few important losses. Since it's still an early season, it's worth it to watch the whole thing. But if you're trying to cut down on time, focus on Episodes 1-5, 9-12, 15-18, 21 and 24-25.

What to skip: Any scene involving Izzie and George—trust us, you'll thank us later. You can also skip episodes 22 and 23, as they set up a spinoff show for Addison and don't really play into what's happening elsewhere on the show.

Greys' Anatomy: Meredith drowing scene

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 4

In truth, Season 4 isn't all that important. There are a few interesting moments, but very little of it remains relevant for the rest of the series. If you wanted to skip it entirely, you probably could, but we recommend tuning in for a few crucial episodes. Those include episodes 1, 11 and 17. Other than that, this season focuses on a lot of back and forth between Meredith and Derek, as well as other romantic relationships that made us feel more uncomfortable than anything else.

What to skip: Any scene with George and Izzie (yes, that's still happening). You can also scroll through the scenes with Alex and Ava, as they can be a little uncomfortable to watch.


Season 5

Season 5 features some important advancements for Derek and Meredith, as well as the introduction of Arizona Robbins, who's one of the main characters of the series from this point on. However, it also includes some of the strangest storylines that don't really seem to fit into the rest of the series. Important episodes include 1-6, 14 and 16-24.

What to skip: Episodes 8-13 focus on a very outlandish storyline involving Izzie, as well as a few odd decisions from the interns. Arizona arrives in Episode 11, but other than that nothing that crucial occurs. In addition, Episode 7 is a bit of a random inclusion and can be skipped without missing anything important.

arizona robbins

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 6

This season is one of the best in the entire series, so there's plenty of great content to keep you entertained. We recommend watching the whole thing, but episodes that absolutely can't be missed include 1, 4-6, 9, 12-13 and 23-34.

What to skip: You can likely skip episode 7. Although dramatic, the story doesn't factor into the rest of the series. Episode 15 is also slightly irrelevant, though it does feature Callie, giving us a little more insight into her personality. Other than that, every episode in this season is pretty important to understanding the overall plot that carries into future storylines.


Season 7

Season 7, particularly at the beginning, follows the characters in the aftermath of major traumas that took place at the tail end of Season 6.  Their successes and failures at coping with their losses are important to see.  Therefore, episodes 1-7 cannot be missed. In addition, episodes 10-12 and 17-22 focus on incredibly important storylines that affect the lives and careers of the doctors tremendously.

What to skip: Episode 18. Unless you like musical episodes, this one is simply painful to watch. It'll be tempting to stay tuned in, considering what's happening at the time, but picking up at Episode 19 will provide you with all the info you need to understand what's going on and move forward without subjecting yourself to 45 minutes of subpar singing.

Cristina and Meredith on Grey's Anatomy

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 8

Season 8 is an odd mix of filler episodes and really crucial information. Annoyingly, we're put through more of Meredith and Derek's relationship woes. If it wasn't relevant in Season 4, it's definitely not relevant now. However, amid their issues, they're also working on expanding their family, which is crucial to the rest of the series. Episodes to focus on include 1-3, 9-11 and 19-24.

What to skip: Episodes 4 and 7 contain minor plot details, but they're primarily focused on specific patient cases, so you won't miss anything too important from skipping those. In episode 13, Meredith dreams about what her life might have been like, had things gone differently. It's interesting, but not all that important to watch, and it definitely won't be missed if you skip over it.


Season 9

Minus the first few episodes, the rest of Season 9 is pretty "meh." It focuses on the legal and business side of the hospital, which just isn't entertaining enough to support an entire season. We recommend reading a recap and skipping to Season 10 if you want to save time. However, you should definitely watch episodes 1-3 before you forge ahead.

What to skip: Basically, episodes 4-22 just aren't that relevant. There are various plots developing, but nothing you can't pick up on by watching the first and last episodes of the season.

grey's anatomy - meredith and derek

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 10

In truth, the magic of Grey'starts to fall apart at Season 9. However, Season 10 contains a lot of relevant information for the more current installments, including major changes to the lives and careers of Meredith, Derek and Cristina. Watching it in its entirety is probably the best idea, especially if you want to soak up some majorly iconic scenes with your fave doctors.

What to skip: If you simply must skip something, Episode 9 is definitely a little random. It follows Callie as she deals with a lawsuit, although her legal struggles aren't mentioned before or after this episode.


Season 11

Much like Season 10, Season 11 carries a lot of weight for the main characters. In particular, this season comes with many changes in Meredith and Derek's relationship, not all of which are positive. Trust us when we say you'll want to soak up all their problems this time around. Don't let their constant bickering annoy you—stick it out and watch this season all the way through.

What to skip: None.

April and Jackson Hugging

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 12

After Season 11, Grey'takes another sharp turn downhill. The show is still worth watching, but the storylines definitely lose some of their significance. Skipping more of these episodes won't harm your ability to understand the current happenings at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. In Season 12, we recommend focusing on episode 1-2, 8, 11, 18-19 and 24.

What to skip: Most of the non-essential episodes in this season can be skipped. If you want to narrow it down a bit, episodes 9 and 10 are particularly dramatic for no real reason.


Season 13

Season 13 features more unnecessary drama from the Grey Sloan doctors. You'd think after so many disasters, they would have made smarter decisions by now, but apparently that isn't the case. The only really relevant episodes in this season are 1, 17-18 and 23-24.

What to skip: The rest of the season, minus the essential episodes stated above. The storylines throughout the season primarily have the doctors jumping through hoops, only for them to end up right where they were before all the drama took place.

greys anatomy - stephanie edwards

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)


Season 14

Once again, Season 14 features a lot of unnecessary drama for the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The storylines are intricate and complex, but once they're resolved all the characters are basically in the exact same place. The only episodes that need to be seen before you start on Season 15 are 20-24. Otherwise, this season is all about the doctors dealing with new patients and old drama.

What to skip: Episodes 1-5. They focus on Owen Hunt's sister, Megan, who eventually leaves the series without producing any lasting impact at Grey Sloan.


Wondering why we keep watching Grey's Anatomy if the later seasons aren't that good? Click HERE to see why we just can't give up on this show.