Can a TV drama improve on a second viewing?

Examining which TV shows don’t necessarily hold up the second time around.


Recently, as part of some kind of life laundry/psychological meltdown, I’ve started clearing out a great deal of my TV boxsets. In the ‘stay’ pile resides the usual suspects: The Simpsons, Arrested Development, Futurama, Alan Partridge and so on. In the ‘binliner to the Red Cross’ pile, there’s Alias, House, Lost, Life On Mars and other hour-long ventures that I’ve watched over the years in a fevered blur.

With those in the ‘stay’ pile being mainly sitcom-oriented, I started to consider the long-term appeal of hour-long TV drama. When it comes to movies, I’ll rewatch the likes of Goodfellas, Donnie Darko and The Dark Knight multiple times a year; TV drama? Not so much. Perhaps this is due to the time investment required, or perhaps it’s due to their overall quality. I’m watching Battlestar Galactica again this weekend, so I’ll put that show to the test.

What do you think? Are these shows products of their time, or are they merely made to be watched once?