Why we take comfort in rewatching old favourites

I recently read that humans are creatures of habit who seek comfort in our favourite TV shows time and time again. We choose to rewatch old favourites rather than new talked about shows when we’re feeling sad, under the weather or simply seeking that comfort factor. It makes such sense that certain films, shows or characters can be referred to as a comfort, as audiences can invest so much time and love in our favourite fictional worlds.

Why we return to rewatching

Rewatching a boxset for the 5th time, and revising old favourites are attractive to our brains because we find comfort specifically in nostalgia, not just entertainment value. We re-read books from our childhood like the Hunger Games and listen to old Taylor Swift albums that we enjoyed as teens for the same reason – it takes us back to another time in our lives. I’ve certainly put off starting some recommended new shows in favour of an old fave. New entertainment can deliver exciting thrills, but it can also waste our time and disappoint us too. Old favourites never disappoint, they are always there for us.

My Comfort TV shows

Friends: Just like the classic line from the theme “I’ll be there for you”, it’s exactly what a show like Friends does for us. Friends is always on TV, available to stream and will never, get old. It’s a light-hearted sitcom and an entertaining half-hour guaranteed to make you chuckle. The relatable characters will have you questioning whether you’re a Rachel, Monica or Joey and it’s a binge-worthy watch that you can pick up from any episode in any series.

Gossip Girl: This was one of the first shows that I really got into as a teen, following in the footsteps of the mid-2000’s high school drama The O.C. Gossip Girl became such a talked-about show in school because of the fashion, drama, love stories and mystery. I’ll be honest I haven’t watched it for a few years, but it’s next up on my list, to relive the nostalgia from start to finish. I was disappointed to learn that GG is being rebooted and currently filming, with a new take on the show and of course a new cast. To me, the original Gossip Girl will always be a winner, and very nostalgic, xoxo.

Peaky Blinders – I’ve seen every episode more times than I can count and I just love the elements that really make this show unique – the gangster family that have complex backstories, the 1930s period drama set to modern music, the dramatic slow-mo walks and the epic sets and costumes amid the drama. The female characters of Peaky are so well written and powerful, its characters and cast are one of the reasons I enjoy the series so much.

Fleabag – Sadly, both series are so short you could watch the whole catalogue in a day or two, but luckily for us Fleabag fans it means we could marvel at epic show very quickly. Fleabag provides the perfect opportunity to settle down and get lost in this hilarious world when I’m seeking a good laugh or want to binge an empowering female-led series. One of my favourite episodes that never fails to make me laugh? “I look like a pencil”.

My comfort Films

When Harry met Sally: I came across this film about 10 years ago and it’s probably one of my most-watched films. I love how it’s set over different decades, we see the characters evolve and their relationship change and there are some iconic scenes and one-liners. One thing I love about this film is that the couples who pop up throughout were employed by the production to share their own real, non-scripted love stories.

Marvel films: I love the Marvel cinematic universe, particularly the Avengers and Captain America films. Each instalment, character and fine-tuned detail has been so cleverly been woven into past and future films in a way that could only be described by incredible writing and impeccable planning. The special effects, hilarious scripts and marvellous atmosphere created in a cinema setting are just some of the reasons why I keep going back to these films.

The Harry Potter franchise: Growing up with a huge love for the Harry Potter series is something that a lot of people my age can relate to, whether its the books, films or both. I can recite paragraphs of the script off by heart and I will never get bored of reliving the nostalgia that this series conjures. The fantastical world is one to get lost in any time of day, year or whatever your mood – I certainly couldn’t pick a favourite out of all 8.

A Comforting Conclusion

When we form an attachment to a certain story, character or world it doesn’t necessarily have to be because it is relatable. We take comfort in finding a sense of belonging or safety in what we love and whatever is truly special to us. What are your comfort characters, TV shows and films?

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