Thi there’ll be there for you. Again. Cue handclaps, haircuts and fountain-dancing. Certain, final Thursday become as soon as a case of Friends reunited – no longer ye olde alumni hook-up internet blueprint nonetheless the long-awaited reunion of the Central Perk six, toothsome stars of the definitive 90s sitcom.
The quip-spruce sextet, reportedly paid $2.5m apiece to indulge viewers’ nostalgia and articulate “pivot!” a couple of instances for the two-hour HBO special, were joined by an A-checklist all-significant person cast – some welcome (Gaga! Malala!), some much less welcome (is there no cultural tournament that James Corden won’t gatecrash?) and some bafflingly random (David Beckham! Justin Bieber in a potato costume!).
Cue copious clips, great misty-eyed reminiscing, pungent cats, an insultingly brief Gunther cameo and a merciless character assassination of Marcel the monkey. It made for an irresistible, on occasion even plod-jerking outing down memory lane. Surely more inviting than a couple of of the ensemble’s Botox-frozen faces.
The following evening, viewers were issued another return keep. Creator Robert Popper’s favorite homegrown sitcom Friday Night Dinner took over Channel 4 for anniversary special 10 Years and a Gorgeous Bit of Squirrel. The abdominal laughs were bittersweet, since the retrospective furthermore acted as a tribute to unhurried actor Paul Ritter, who died of a brain tumour final month.
It’s possible you’ll reflect that’s moderately ample nostalgia for one week. But to paraphrase Chandler Bing motivate when he become as soon as comical, would maybe well per chance you be to any extent further cross? Tonight is BBC drama Name The Midwife’s turn for its own 10th celebration – called (what else?) Special Beginning. Depend on wimples, minute one dimples and quite lots of scorching towels.
A hat-trick of nostalgic specials in four nights can’t be accident. As any pattern-spotting pundit is aware of, three is a vogue. So why is TV impulsively so hooked in to looking backwards?
As so most regularly this present day, we are able to blame the pesky pandemic. Last three hundred and sixty five days’s manufacturing shutdown created yawning holes in the TV schedules which silent haven’t been refilled. Gaps are being plugged with clip shows and cobbled-together compilations. It’s a perennial gripe that there are too many repeats on the box. Correct now, it’s factual.
Admittedly, we lapped them up for the duration of lockdown. They were undemanding consolation-viewing. The Friends reunion become as soon as like catching up with old, neatly, chums. Revisiting our favourites and sharing memories on social media has been a reminder of happier instances, earlier than curves were flattened, herds bought immunity, hands were sanitised and selves were isolated. All over a tumultuous 15 months, TV’s raiding of the store cupboard has offered solace and safety, warmth and familiarity.
Yet silent the old stagers motivate coming. Autumn’s two tentpole revivals are location to be Seattle psychiatry sitcom Frasier (undoubtedly those tossed salads and scrambled eggs will likely be neatly previous their promote-by date?) and dressmaker shoe showcase Sex and the Metropolis (though with out Kim Cattrall’s Samantha, it’ll be all city and no sex). These will likely be joined by returns for Dexter, Gossip Lady and Battlestar Galactica, among some distance too many others. TV listings are about to present viewers a severe sense of déjà vu.
Some of these were in the pipeline long earlier than we’d heard of Wuhan’s moist markets. The broadcast industry’s insistence on reunions, reboots and revivals speaks of a paucity of inventive self assurance and an over-reliance on established psychological properties. TV is fixated by itself previous. Relucant to take hold of dangers, it falls motivate on the tried, tested and all too most regularly tired.
As we emerge blinking from lockdown, it’s time to place aside retro-mania and for TV to see forward all another time. What were the five simplest programmes of the pandemic generation? I’d indicate Mare of Easttown, I Might per chance Murder You, Commonplace Folks, It’s A Sin and Small Axe. All entirely new creations, even though the latter two were location in the latest previous. Oldies would maybe well per chance on occasion be goldies nonetheless you would maybe’t beat the giddy thrill of the bold and new.
Please, TV commissioners, ample archive-digging and corpse-exhuming. Construct it discontinuance earlier than Eldorado or Noel’s Rental Celebration plan a comeback. Not now, Mr Blobby. Not ever.