Hey, everyone! I know we babes have been MIA for some time now – it’s a crazy summer for all three of us separately, and together as Voltron, this leaves us falling by the wayside in terms of awesome nerdy/internet stuff to share. Which is not to say we’re not on the internet, nor at all to imply that we’ve forgotten our duty to the Jungle of Death (which is to be the mystery at its heart, drawing people in, of course) – we’ve just been really busy, yo! We promise we’re gonna get back into things as soon as we can – we’ve got some cool ideas in the wings, so hopefully you’ll all feel like it’s been worth the wait!
In the meantime, I’ve had this AV Club article open in a tab for like a month, and literally the only reason I didn’t post it here was because the thumbnail is a Game of Thrones cap and I didn’t want it to look like that’s all we talk about anymore. The article DOES discuss GoT, but also Arrested Development (and if you’re one of the 16 people left in the world who hasn’t watched this show, or the new season, you’ve made a huge mistake – fix it!) and mentions of other shows like Parks & Rec, Girls, Breaking Bad, etc – Mostly, what they’re discussing is whether, with long-form TV like AD, GoT, etc, the enjoyment of them can’t peak without repeated consumption (which means, you know, thank God for Netflix/DVDs/Pirate Bay) because subtleties like layered jokes or foreshadowing are usually lost on first-time viewers.
Personally, I think it’s true – I think you will appreciate the artistry of a show more if you have seen it more than once through. I think they’re right about why – you will have had more opportunities to notice details and references than you had before, and will have invested more in it, which sort of automatically raises its value to you. I also think that it’s pretty obvious, for the reasons given above – it’s no different than reading a book. If you really like a book, you’ll probably read it again sometime, and notice stuff you didn’t last time, or generally appreciate the craftsmanship more deeply than before. Or a movie – who among us only watches movies once? How many times had you seen Labyrinth before you noticed any of the hidden Bowie faces? Or all the self-referential visual gags in any post-80’s Disney “full-length animated feature” (I can’t say “movie” because stuff like Freaky Friday and that tooth fairy movie with the Rock in it counts, then, and I’m really only talking about the animated ones)?
Anyway, my point is mostly that the benefits the AV Club proposes to derive from repeat viewings of TV series are the same as those associated with repeat consumption of any story in any medium, which is not to say that they’re not still benefits. They totally are, you will definitely get more out of any story the second, third, or eighty-seventh time you consume it than you did the first time, but I’m also not sure you have to “get” every single little nuanced reference or shade of meaning in order to have “properly” consumed the story. There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy something, so if you only want to watch through Firefly once, you get on with your bad self. I don’t know how you live, but once through all of Enterprise was enough for me, so what do I know?