Why is it that new television shows can not seem to catch my attention or even if they do, why is it for only a brief moment? I believe that if it weren't for reruns, I wouldn't watch TV at all, except maybe a DVD or two, but that's different. Reruns are the best thing on besides Monday Night Football.
I'm speaking of basic cable that offers limited programming. If one has satellite television, then the choices are a bit better. In fact, I'd love to watch programs on Bravo, A&E, or one of the variations of the History Channel. That would satisfy my need for thoughtful, interesting programming, but I just have regular cable, which by the way, doesn't even get clear reception most times. I know that I am not the only one who suffers through bad service only to call and be instructed to leave a message. That's a whole other beef though.
As for reruns, I think that more people tune in to them than to new flash-in-the-pan shows. I am thankful for Nick@Nite and TV Land. In fact, I get excited when I see a show that I grew up watching begin to air on one of those channels. It's priceless. When the Nick@Nite line up included “Leave it To Beaver”, “I Love Lucy”, and the other black and white shows, it was okay, but now that my all-time favorite show “A Different World” is on, I can't seem to force myself to sleep late at night. I'm not sure what it is about an old show that captivates audiences. Honestly, we've all seen every episode of our favorite reruns, but we continue to watch as if it were brand new. Maybe it's the familiarity factor. The jokes are familiar, we know the characters, we can predict the story lines, and we know every word of the theme songs.
I watch because somehow I have emotional connections with the shows. For example, when I was in the seventh grade, I discovered New York Undercover, a police drama set in urban New York City, that featured two minority officers as the lead characters. At the time, NYPD Blue was popular, but it didn't have what I was looking for. New York Undercover was flashy and geared toward a younger audience. Every episode was a showcase for urban fashion, music, and people. The content was excellent because it allowed viewers to get deeper into each character's personal life as if they were someone we knew. One day a week, I would make sure I was home to watch, regardless if a Hazard was playing a basketball game or my friends were hanging out somewhere. I absolutely loved that show and I still do. It connected with me. The day that the last show aired on Fox, I was heartbroken. It wasn't until it was picked up by USA network a few years later, that I began to look forward to something on TV again. I actually recorded each episode every night, even though I'd seen every one. For me, a rerun was better than any new show. It was my show. Seeing it again reminds me of my teenage years; the music my friends and I used to cruise to, the horrific fashions we used to wear, and the fun we used to have.
I guess people have emotional connections with shows like “Friends”, “Seinfeld”, and “Everybody Loves Raymond”. They'll probably never go away. Reruns of old shows sometimes grab higher ratings than new ones and I figure that they always will as long as people still look forward to seeing them. If I could just catch The Wonder Years, Murder She Wrote, and Family Ties, my evenings watching television would be happy and bright. For now I just flip through the channels looking for anything interesting, but I usually end up watching Storm Stories on the Weather Channel or videos on the Internet.