I wanted to address a phenomenon I’ve noticed with myself & that perhaps some of you have experienced as well. There are some favorite TV shows that “age well” for me, and that I can pick up again at any time—and then there are others that “had their shot” but now time has passed and I can’t get into them anymore.
Case in point Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Love-love-loved this show when it was first-run, was totally obsessed with it. Bought all this BTVS merch, read the fan-fiction, kept Buffy-themed wallpaper on my computer screen, etc. Never missed an episode, went into withdrawals between seasons.
And then the show ended, years passed. The “continuing seasons” in the comic books sparked my interest once again, so I popped in one of my BTVS DVDs to re-watch.
And…nothing. The spark was gone. I just wasn’t into it anymore. PLUS: I felt like I sort of “grew out” of it. It was like when I watched old Scooby-Doo episodes for the first time since I was a little kid, and they seemed “unwatchable” to me. This is not to say that BTVS was in reality bad or dumb or not a great show—it just lost interest and relevance for me.
The same thing happened with me and Xena: Warrior Princess. And most recently, the same thing happened with me and Community—which was pretty devastating (because I thought for sure that we were going to be best buds forever).
All the plot twists, the character development, the cool little moments…it all just didn’t “do” it for me anymore. I felt like…a bad fan. 😦
Now…other television shows I can watch again and again and not feel that way; instead, having that warm toasty feeling like reuniting with an old friend. The original Star Trek wins the award for being the show I’ll re-watch a billion times. It never gets stale. Surely, there are some episodes that haven’t aged well (when I recently watched “The Gamesters Of Triskelion” after not seeing it since I was a child, I kept wondering if I was perhaps stoned or hallucinating or perhaps even dead and in that Twin Peaks limbo room with the wallpaper). But in general—I’m always good for popping in a episode.
I can watch most of the 60’s Batman again and again. I can re-watch Parks and Recreation from any point in its run and just keep going. Lots of The X-Files still hold up for me, especially if they aren’t too “mythos” based.
And I think that might be part of it, right there. Shows with heavy continuity vs. those that are more self-contained. The original Star Trek had more or less self-contained episodes. Many classic X-Files episodes are similarly self-contained, though “mythology” aspects might be mentioned in passing. Batman barely had any continuity, and while Parks and Rec had running story lines most of them could also just be enjoyed on their own.
But BTVS & Xena and even Community (especially after you got past the first season) became HEAVILY bogged down in continuity. And that continuity got highly emotional and complicated. Even my life at the time I watched these original runs seemed to blend with the proceedings…so much so, that when my life moved on, I could see that show “never did.” (That’s probably why the self-contained X-Files episodes are much more re-watchable for me than the super emotional continuity-heavy stuff.)
Whereas with a rando Star Trek episode…it just feels more timeless to me (even if all the women are wearing mini-skirts and big hair.
Lastly, I probably loved BTVS, Xena, and Community more intensely than I have the shows I can re-watch & get into anytime. Again, it all ties together: the thick continuity, the emotional involvement, the love of the series, and my personal life at the time.
Perhaps for someone else who never grokked intensely to BTVS, it might still seem “fresh”…but they’re totally burned out on the Spock stuff.
Or maybe…some shows really are dated, creatures of their time as opposed to evergreen?