With a string of wonderful Television shows either being rebooted or given a new lease of life thanks to streaming platforms, I have a confession to make. When it comes to the end of the day the shows I turn to not what you may expect.
For some reason when people ask me what I am watching that evening or over the weekend, I sheepishly say I am going to spend my time watching the last season of Greys Anatomy, Gilmore Girls or more recently, The West Wing, but then I realised something. Those moments I spent rewatching Rory Gilmore’s move to Yale for the hundredth time or see THAT episode of Greys gave me something we are all seeking in this time of uncertainty and chaos: comfort. Comfort and warmth and quite frankly, there isn’t anything wrong with that.
Even before the pandemic, this year started with a shaky start. I was already in a mentally exhausting place, cut to November and many others are collectively feeling this exhaustion day after day. At the end of the day when you are ready to relax preparing to go to bed, ready to recharge and wake up to do it all again and you see the Netflix or Amazon catalogue flashing before your eyes, you become overwhelmed with choice when all you want to do is sit down with a cup of tea. So naturally, you gravitate towards a show which makes you warm and fuzzy. Something where you know exactly what you are going to get when you click play. It is with this knowledge, that a sense of peace overcomes you. You can sink a bit deeper into the sofa or bed, sip on your cup of tea and empty your mind from the world’s woes.
The few new shows I have watched this year sit in the comfort of the known. They follow the same format as the procedurals I know and love. After feeling a bit sheepish about the whole thing I started to ask around. I realised I am not the only one who has retreated to this way of entertainment during the most uncertain year of our existence. On social media, many shared my enthusiasm for rewatching classic TV shows from yesteryear. One said, ‘Yes, I find it helps with my anxiety to rewatch familiar shows, especially if they are lighthearted or comedy.’ While another said, ‘I love re-watching shows. When I feel lonely, I tend to turn to Once Upon a Time or Gilmore Girls (the original series not that crappy Netflix special…yuck). When I need my family, I’ll rewatch Supernatural. If I’m feeling super nostalgic for my younger days, then I watch Angel.’ I get it, there is something special about hearing words coming out of your favourite character’s mouth and reliving iconic moments such as CJ doing The Jackal.
The feeling of nostalgia we all speak of is real. It is why Netflix has added Sister Sister, Moesha and Dawsons Creek to its catalogue. As this person tweeted to me, ‘Oh absolutely, it’s for the nostalgia, and yeah it tends to be something light like a comedy series especially now when so many of us need something comforting and well, laughter.’
Working from home also means we like to watch things that do not need our complete attention. One person on Instagram told me, ‘Yes, I like having things on in the background sometimes that don’t require my full attention.’
We also have to acknowledge that some shows are just that darn good and deserve a second and third viewing. ‘Because sometimes, they were especially good, well filmed/good plot etc’ They have a point. There is a reason such as the ones I have mentioned have stood the test of the time. They are brilliantly written, acted and produced therefore deserve more than one viewing no.
Regardless of why we rewatch a TV show, it isn’t the time-wasting activity society can lead us to believe it is. It can be an integral part of our healing process, a way to rejuvenate our empty cup at the end of the day. So this is my confession, my name is Nafisah and I am a serial rewatcher and that is quite alright with me. Are you with me?