Despite the careful movement of Hollywood back into production and a plethora of possibly unrealistic fall schedules full of new shows and episodes currently being promoted by the networks, TV audiences are still experiencing a retro summer. This year, everything old is new again.
Of course, retro has always been a popular fad. Even if some things should just be left in the past.
Remember the return of bell-bottom pants in the 90’s? The only people wearing them again were fashion models who were paid for the indignity and young people who weren’t alive for the first go around. Not even Suzanne Somers could make tight thighs and an extra six inches of fabric around the ankles look sexy.
Why else would she suddenly start peddling the Thigh Master?
But despite our questionable past choices, media sites still have to fill the void left by the lack of new production. And what better way than to re-package old stuff?
Consequently, Disney+ moved up their release of the film version of the 2015 hit, Hamilton. It’s not a new movie – just the filmed stage production from several years ago in case you hadn’t seen one of the nearly 2000 shows during its live run. Ironically, this could backfire for Disney given the current Black Lives Matter protests and the fact that the play was criticized for not accurately depicting Alexander Hamilton's own involvement in both slavery and the genocide of Native Americans. But angry mobs are usually pretty reasonable.
Drive-in theatres are also re-appearing with old “classics.” However, some are being closely censored à la Gone With the Wind amid the BLM tensions.
Meanwhile, online sites and streaming content providers are finding ways to make watching repeats of old shows sound like fun. For example, TV Guide recently released its list of “10 Shows to Watch if You Like Gilmore Girls.” That was followed by “7 Shows Like Dark That Are Not Dark That You Should Watch If You Like Dark.”
Just to clarify, those are old shows that you didn’t watch the first time they aired, that are similar to a show that you watched 20 years ago.
Of course, this tactic is definitely catching some audience attention. My niece has been re-experiencing all 15 seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But again, some shows are having to play “clean-up” first for their political incorrectness before they’re re-released.
Then there are the multitude of shows that were produced on an ever-growing number of platforms over the last few years. It was impossible to see every show as soon as it was released. And then it went on the back-burner because something else new and shiny premiered.
Now viewers can play catch-up. It’s like when I was younger, I spent summers at camp catching up on my favourite authors’ because there was no TV. (Ironically, there still isn’t. At camp, that is.)
So this retro summer really is a good time to see all the shows you missed. Along with the ones you just … miss.