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December 20, 2010


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Hm.. the four serials I've returned to multiple times are The Wire, Slings and Arrows, The Office and The West Wing.

S&A and The Office as a re-viewing experience were both very much about (a) refreshing my memory about the shows and (b) reexperiencing them. I don't think I thought of it as re-watching, honestly, so much as watching it for the first time again. Certainly, my emotional experience of both has been almost identical (perhaps more intense the second time). With S&A, watching it now that I'm in an MFA program, I am definitely paying attention to the narrative economy of the show more (I thought the first time I watched it each season had eight 60 minute eps instead of 6 45 minute ones).

The Wire is totally different. Perhaps because I remember it better. Re-watching The Wire the second time (And for season 2, the third) was first of all about watching it through my wife's eyes and seeing what her experience of it was and second was really about noticing the structural groundwork they lay in each episode. Andhow the look changes when they switch directors of photograhpy, things like that.

The West Wing... rewatching that is like listening a mix CD you've made of you favorite songs by your favorite band over and over again.


I watch serials over and over again. I think they're much more rewatchable than non serials. They're just more engaging to me. I never really got into the X Files, as an example, because it was frustrating to me that the characters didn't seem to grow or change- or at least not in any satisfying way.

I've watched Buffy three times in its entirety and a fourth time starting with season 3 on. (I don't particularly like the first two seasons as much.) Each time has been to introduce it to somebody else: roommates etc. Like Isaac and The Wire, I got to experience it through somebody else's eyes, which is really gratifying. It's neat to see which story lines people respond to. One friend really loves season 4, which I always felt kind of ho hum about. I always loved season 6 when Buffy returns from the dead, and said friend did not agree at all. I also really love season 7 and the build up to the finale (annoying potentials aside) and I know a ton of people disagree. Buffy is unique too, because its rare that you get to see characters morph from children to adults in a way that feels grounded, which is funny since its a super natural world.

Other shows I've re watched: Twin Peaks, The League of Gentlemen, Nighty Night, The Office, Mary Hartman.


Ohmigosh, Jenny Calendar's death was one of the most heartbreaking things ever on the show. And as I think you know, Giles is also my ultimate dad crush -- rivaled only by Jack Bristow of Alias (and in many ways, they're actually the same character).

I think I agree with Isaac's very last comment about the Wire -- the first time, you're watching/reading for the plot and characters, just getting caught up in the story and world, while the second (or more) time(s), you're seeing HOW it happens, how they are able to build the story. It's like, the what versus the how. Maybe. But also, I think part of the uncanniness might be not only the perverse pleasure of knowing the tragedy that is to come, but also the desire to recapture the feeling you had the first time you saw it... which I don't think you ever really can.

Kyle Machado

I have problems re-watching the early seasons of Buffy (I say this having re-watched the series four or five times. . .). There are certain story lines that I like more than others and there are certain story lines that I don't like at all. Since it's not all serialized I find myself frustrated at the intermittent creature features because I just want to get to the Good Stuff. And, of course, when Spike says "I'm all you've got," I get goosebumps. How could I not? But those moments don't come often enough in the second season, specifically. I enjoy the first because of how New everything is; I find myself falling in love with the show all over again when I watch the first season (and I forgive it all it's faults and gloss over the frustrations). I think the root of the problem is that it is such a daunting task to re-watch the entire series. I know where the Good Parts are. The episode, scenes, and moments that I enjoy the most are the ones that I want to watch.

The last time I went through the series was two summers ago. Maybe I need a little bit more time before I can re-watch it all.


I have to say, one thing I am not clear on (i'm 2/3rds of the way through season 3) is what, exactly, Xander's "point" is. ALthough I think I enjoy his Matthew Perry-isms more than many, I do not quite get why he's on the show, except to perhaps attract a young male demo.


Isaac, here's an interesting tidbit. They were going to make Xander gay but then chickened out. Instead, they have a different character come out instead, someone they thought would be easier for audiencesto take.


Right, I know the character who ends up gay, both in season two (a minor character) and later on (a major character). That's interesting, tho, and helps explain why they have a character around who is so extraneous, they end up devoting an entire episode to how extraneous he is ("The Zeppo," which is a great episode, of course).

Eric Pfeffinger

I always felt like Xander was kind of integral, maybe because I kind of identified with him (just as everyone wants to be Bugs but is actually Daffy, I suspect most males want to be Oz but are actually Xander), but mostly because I appreciated the fact that he was the one core character (am I right?) who made it all the way to the final fade out without acquiring any lasting supernatural characteristics or superpowers. (Granted, I'm categorizing Giles's vast expertise as a superpower here.) This made Xander, for my money, a useful audience surrogate, and also helped to keep the show anchored in a recognizable facsimile of reality instead of its spinning off into completely supernatural fantasy. I also happened to appreciate it because one reason I don't typically gravitate toward supernaturally themed serials is because it gets on my nerves that all the main characters eventually become superhuman or exotic in some way.


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