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It’s winter, maybe snowing, and there’s a new COVID variant spreading amongst us. So, maybe you’re staying home a bit more than usual. Maybe you’ve got some time on your hands and want to watch something entertaining, uplifting, nostalgic, or just generally great. So, in light of this week’s #RESTART prompt, we asked our staff…

What TV show would you recommend restarting from the beginning?

Josh Bard – Community

For me, the show I would most likely recommend for a re-watch (and actually re-watch myself) is Community. The beauty of re-watching Community is that it’s like watching an old show I love, and still getting some aspects of a new show. Community, like 30 Rock, and so few other 30-minute sitcoms, has such a high joke arsenal, that watching it all again is just as likely to unlock new favorite jokes as it is to make me nostalgic for my old favorite jokes. Goooo Greendale Community College Human Beings!

Dan Farkas – M*A*S*H

I thought about Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, both stellar shows. The West Wing? Magnificent writing, rapid-fire dialog… but has become too Pollyanna-ish in the midst of today’s politics. I think I’m going to recommend M*A*S*H. So much comedy, so much drama, so much life and death; plus, it stood the test of time. And, bonus, you don’t have to watch from episode 1. It’s the Mobius Strip of TV series—pick it up at any point and enjoy it.

Erin Vail – Six Feet Under

I binge watched Six Feet Under in the winter/spring of 2020 and once I finished, I immediately wanted to restart it. So if you’re in the mood to confront the feelings of grief and loss, ponderings about family and the human condition and all of its imperfections, the inevitability and beauty of death—you know, light and fun stuff—I highly recommend it. And I’m excited to re-watch it sometime soon. The series is cathartic, hilarious, and moving, and I’m so glad I watched it when I did.

Gordon St. Fucking Raus Motherfuckers – Bones

I would NOT recommend watching all 12 seasons of the FOX police dramedy Bones starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, based on the books of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. I would NOT recommend doing this because you made a single offhand joke to a person about not having time to watch something they recommended, explaining you can “only watch one show at a time,” and you were currently “devoted to Bones.” I would NOT recommend starting the first few episodes to gain context for furthering your joke, and making a few sporadic Bones references every time you’re around them for the next month. I would NOT recommend leaning into your off-brand-Andy-Kauffman-esque tendency to commit to bits in a way which makes a person question their previously established sense of who you are as a human, communicating with said person exclusively through Bones-based memes and GIFs in text conversations, and relating situations in your and their real lives with plot points from the program over the course of six months. I would NOT recommend this because, no matter how much fun it is to gaslight a good friend, as satisfying as it may be to have them yell “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I HONESTLY CAN’T TELL IF YOU ARE WATCHING BONES OR JUST FUCKING WITH ME” into your smug-shrugging face, the sad truth is you will already have become butt of your own joke, because you will end up loving Bones, caring about the characters in Bones, and voluntarily wasting 10,578 minutes of your time finishing Bones, and maybe even crying a little bit during the finale.

Jillian Conochan – Succession

When your better half is truly the “better half” and can’t fuxx with shows where everyone is terrible, you get the rare opportunity to later convince them that it’s actually satire and the latest finale was so good that it will be your absolute pleasure to be their spirit guide through all three seasons. I’m talking about Succession and if anyone needs me, I’ll be binge-watching (and listening to the accompanying podcast).

Jay Heltzer – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Another variant? ANOTHER variant? But I just learned how to pronounce omicron! At this rate they’re going to run out of known alphabets and we’ll move on to variants named with the primal grunts of the Tusken Raiders from the Star Wars universe.

We need a laugh, and a good laugh at that. Watch the entire run of Monty Python‘s Flying Circus till you’ve memorized the full menu from the Spam sketch, Mr. Smoketoomuch’s never ending rant in “Travel Agent,” or determine why they often use bérnaise sauce in any food-related punch line.

Eric Mochnacz – Law and Order – SVU

There was something weirdly calming about experiencing Mariska Hargitay’s ever-evolving hairstyles through 20+ years of Law and Order – Special Victims Unit. 

Yep, during Lockdown – Part 1, I rewatched every single episode of SVU.

When things were so uncertain, I could at least be certain that Benson and Stabler would catch the bad guy.

Judith Light shows up as a battle-axe district attorney turned judge… Who’s the Boss now, bitch?! We are treated to a variety of former teen stars showing up in ridiculous plot lines. I mean, Mark Paul Goselarr as a gay-for-pay porn star named Peter Ivanhoe (COME ON!). Even Sharon Stone slums it for a few episodes.

And when you’re done, please tweet me your thoughts about who would win Battle of the DAs. Cabot, Novak, or Barba? (We know Greylick doesn’t stand a chance.)

Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright – Whiskey Cavalier (Previously on ABC)

The fact that I had to tell y’all what network this now-canceled show aired on… Some shit is so bad it’s actually really good, so cheesy, vacuous, and superficial that you actually respect the show’s writers and producers for being honest. It’s like they’re actually trying to get your attention so they can reveal a hidden truth about how fucked we are, how pathetic we are for watching the show/series in the first place. Like, “y’all,  you realize you’re actually in the Matrix and this show is one of Neo’s modals to try and free you from yourself, or, what I like to call emancipatory masturbation, AKA, only you can free yourself and hopefully not regret it?

Whiskey Cavalier is part Starship Troopers, part The Fast and The Furious series, with a wee bit of the Bad Boys series and the Grateful Dead’s set at Woodstock, with worse acting and even more pathetic guitar playing.

The show was also an admonishment for what happens when we recycle poorly, in this case the form of Scandal darling, Scott Foley (Jake Ballard for those who are under the same cerebral rock as climate change deniers and Marjorie Taylor Green) whose valiant efforts of becoming the poor person’s Daniel Craig as played by Justin Timberlake in a documentary about why Timothy Dalton sucked as Bond, just didn’t quite cut it for the sponsors who were looking for something with just a wee bit more substance.

Still, there are some amazing scenes on set in Eastern Europe, some pubescent sexual tension between the main characters—right up there with a poor person’s version of the make out scene between Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley, and explosions for the frat boys and New England Patriots fans.

After watching the first and only season it’s clear why the show needed to be canceled… for if allowed to return for another season it could have dangerously persuaded people to think and believe that they deserved better and that maybe ANTIFA is right [as in Left].

Dennis William – Psych

I know you know that I’m not telling the truth. I know you know I just don’t have any proof. Embrace the deception. Learn how to bend. Your worst inhibitions seem to psych you out in the end.

Those are the words to the theme song for the USA original comedy Psych, which I did not just Google for this piece, because they have been etched into my memory for all eternity. I started watching this show one New Year’s Day when I was exceptionally hungover and could not get out of bed. Like many USA Network shows of its time, it was full of characters, which—as you know—are welcome at the USA Network, but it was also kind of bland, kind of charming, and kind of funny. For these reasons, I have never watched one episode of Psych at a time. You watch Psych in chunks of three to five episodes. Or, if like me you are compelled by the previous nights mishmash of booze to remain prone, an entire season the first time you lay eyes on it.

Sarah Razner – The Good Place

Need a show to rewatch, you say? Well, let me recommend to you The Good Place. As you’ve already seen it, I don’t need to lure you in with a killer description but instead, let me tell you why you should watch 53 episodes all over again. If what makes watching The Good Place the first time is being hit with twists you never see coming (except maybe if you’re Eleanor Shellstrop), then the joy of rewatching it is knowing about the twists and seeing all the foreshadowing that lead up to them. Just like the first time through, you’ll enjoy the comedy, the ethics, and the romance, but seeing it again is like watching it with bonus features. As The Good Place is a show full of small details, on another rewatch, you pick up on those you miss, and the jokes that passed you land, which make the show all the richer. Will the finale break your heart any less? No. I believe that is impossible but that’s what makes it—and the show—so motherforking good.

Mr. Joe Walker – The Transformers

Most nights while I’m writing, or at least trying to amidst a tsunami of random ideas, I balance my attention by watching videos on YouTube. I go from clips of sports shows like First Things First, Inside the NBA, The Herd, and AEW (All Elite Wrestling, which has quickly surpassed WWE in coolness) to features from Nerdist, New Rockstars, and The Levels Podcast.

A few nights ago as my cursor blinked at me impatiently, I scrolled upon the debut episode of The Transformers. And it wasn’t on some random person’s page, one of those poorly recorded uploads or distortedly pirated versions with some goof’s unwanted commentary edited in or with added promotional graphics. It was an actual authorized stream of the first episode along with all episodes in the series!

My favorite cartoon as a kid, Transformers: The Movie is, to this day, my all-time favorite film. Now, thanks to YouTube and attention tsunami, I have an opportunity to relive the buildup to it—and the darker tales that followed—by rewatching the entire series from the beginning. Would I recommend anyone else watch The Transformers from the top to the series finale? Fork, yes! (S/O Sarah Razner)

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