Old TV Shows Good for the Soul

Thanks to the pandemic, everyone has been streaming a LOT of TV.  But even though there’s a seemingly ENDLESS array of new shows, the ones that get the most viewers are . . . OLD.

“The Office” was the most-streamed show last year, despite going off the air almost 10 years ago.  Other popular old shows include:  “The Sopranos”, “Friends”, “New Girl”, and “Vampire Diaries”.

A new BBC report suggests that people may PREFER old shows to new ones because it’s more familiar, comforting, and stress-free . . . especially sitcoms.

A few years back, a researcher looked into the concept, and found that repeats create a sense of “social surrogacy” or kinship with the characters. 

She said, quote, “There is an association between favorite narratives and feeling better, which doesn’t occur if we’re watching something new.”

But another researcher warns that you shouldn’t equate watching repeats with boosting mental health.

He said, quote, “What’s the reason you’re watching TV? . . . Too much TV will ultimately lead to stagnation.  It’s physically sedentary, and exercise is maybe the most effective single treatment for depression.

“Mentally, TV watching is also sedentary.  It’s OK to rest your mind but you should also be engaging your brain in something more active.”

It’s worth pointing out that they’re ASSUMING that all of these people are re-watching the shows, which MIGHT be the case for the majority.

But some of these shows are over a decade old now, so it’s very possible that they’re reaching new audiences . . . especially since it’s very easy to catch up on old shows on streaming services.

Even if you like physical media, you’d have to admit that it takes a LOT more initiative to go out . . . and drop a big chunk of change on a box set.

*Blog  by Jennifer Steele. Listen, follow, and play along with Jennifer Steele here.