Levels of Re-Watchableness

gob1-560x349Since 2000, we’ve been lucky enough to bear witness to one great television show after another. They just keep coming, one replaces the other, one tag teams with another, one overshadows an another.

The Sopranos paves the way for The Wire, which then clears a path for Breaking Bad, which along with Mad Men joins Game of Thrones in staging their own Occupy Sunday Nights movement. The Office spawns Parks and Recreation, both obedient offspring of Seinfeld, both cousins of shows like Girls and Arrested Development. Lost fittingly, lives on an island by it’s lonesome.

As for moments in time, these shows are unquestionably top notch. On the first go around for any of these great shows they are a treat- yes, a treat. But I kind of think that an aspect that should be considered when it comes to ultimate greatness is longevity. How well does something stand the test of time? Whether or not something is able to live on, long after it’s release, is an important factor when determining any kind of pantheon of excellence- regardless of the medium. The Beatles will always be great because their music is timeless. Clerks’ greatness comes into question because of how dated it feels now. It’s still a good movie, but not the classic it felt destined to be at the time.

But let’s talk re-watch-ability- because that’s something I feel should be a factor when considering what are the best shows we’ve watched in the past ten years or so.  We’re going to look at some of the most notable shows; shows widely considered to be some of the greatest shows that have come out since 2000 and rate each on a scale of how re-watchable they are.

Giddy Up America’s Scale of Re-Watchableness

There are three levels…

Level One: No thank you, I am totally happy with how I remember this show and feel no need to re-visit it
Level Two: From time to time, depending on what kind of mood I’m in
Level Three: Heck yeah, that’s a no-brainer

Let’s get started.

The Wire
Level of Re-Watchableness: level three

I am constantly only a slight tinge of boredom away from diving head first back into The Wire; starting all the way back at the very first episode of season one. I can jump into any episode with ease. I love the characters, I love the writing, I love that with each viewing I key in on something or someone else. If I knew I was going to be laid up in bed for a prolonged stretch of time and could only bring a DVD collection of one television show with me (wherever I’m laid up apparently does not have Internet,) I’m bringing The Wire.

Lost
Level of Re-Watchableness: level two

There is one main reason to re-watch Lost– to have one of those A Ha! moments. For as stupid as Lost made you the first time around, watching it a second time makes you feel like an effin’ genius.

Breaking Bad
Level of Re-Watchableness: level two

I binge-watched Breaking Bad because I didn’t get into it until the show was almost over. I felt this helped. Breaking Bad had a captivating manic energy and simmering intensity to it that just lent itself perfectly to mass consumption of it. All of the twists and turns, all of the despicable things Walter does- the impact was felt that much stronger because it was felt in motion. Some of that is lost the second time around. If anything, it’s fun to re-watch for two reasons. The first reason is because it’s a great show and the second reason is because it reminds you of what an amazing experience it was when you first watched it.

Friday Night Lights
Level of Re-Watchableness: level one

Level one? But Ryan, Friday Night Lights is one of your favorite shows of all time! I know. Trust me, I know. But here’s the thing, FNL is an emotional roller coaster encased in an even bigger emotional roller coaster. That’s two emotional roller coasters! Two. I just can’t handle it a second time. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. I just can’t go down that road again, can’t stir up those emotions, can’t shed those tears. Friday Night Lights exists in a glass case for me, untouched and up on the mantle. That’s where it stays because that’s where it belongs.

The Office
Level of Re-Watchableness: level two/three

This show gets split between levels because it depends what era of The Office we are talking about. If it’s anything from the first four seasons, that’s a level three. If it’s anything after that, than it’s a level two. Furthermore, if it’s anything after Steve Carrell left than it’s not even on the grid.

Arrested Development
Level of Re-Watchableness: level three

Arrested Development (not counting the fourth season) is always funny. Always. Sometimes it’s just chuckle funny, sometimes it’s gut-busting funny. Sometimes it’s ah, that’s amusing funny and sometimes it’s THAT’S SOME AMUSING funny. The first three seasons of Arrested Development are timeless and perfect for repeat viewings because of how dense and layered they are. You’ll notice something new every time you watch it. Arrested Development is in the Re-Watchable Hall of Fame.

Mad Men
Level of Re-Watchableness: level one

I take Don Draper’s advice when it comes to Mad Men, it’s all about moving forward. The past doesn’t matter and there is no point in re-visiting it. Maybe this will change once the show ends, but right now, I’m totally cool with leaving this show once I watched it.

The Sopranos
Level of Re-Watchableness: level two

The Sopranos is kind of like The Office, in the sense that whether or not I re-watch an episode has parameters. Because let’s be honest, each season of The Sopranos was one or two episodes too long. But if it’s a good episode, one of the legendary ones that makes the show the titan that it is, then it’s a no-brainer.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Level of Re-Watchableness: level two

Also in the same category of The Office, if only because I prefer the later seasons to the earlier ones. It’s the same way I feel about Seinfeld. I appreciate the polish of the later seasons.

Game of Thrones
Level of Re-Watchableness: level one

Right now, as the show is still airing, I really only re-watch episodes for clarification or if an episode was so effin’ good I needed to watch it again. I don’t know why this is. I love Game of Thrones. I am VERY excited for the upcoming season. But for some reason, I don’t feel the need to re-watch episodes. Does this make me a bad person? No, that’s ridiculous. I mean, Tywin Lannister is a bad person…am I right? I kind of feel like once the show is done, I might dive back into it from the get go. But that’s then and this is now. And now, the feeling just isn’t there.

Lightning Round!

True Detective: level two

Boardwalk Empire: level one

Deadwood: level two

Scandal: level two

Homeland: level one

Parks and Recreation: level two

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: level three

The Walking Dead: level one

Downton Abbey: level two

Modern Family: level two

 

 

 

 

 

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