I grew up in the 80s. Our prime-time TV consisted of 30-minute comedies and sappy dramas like Dynasty. Many of these shows were staples of my childhood:
Fortunately, sites like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and YouTube have given us the ability to re-watch these shows. I watched the entire series of this show again. It was the first time since the 80s that I'd seen it.
I also re-watched this show on YouTube. Some of the episodes had been removed, but I was able to find most of them.
As cheesy as these shows seem today, there is something charming about them. It's probably just the nostalgia factor. But while watching them, I've realized they did something that I haven't seen in a while. Every season or so, the characters would get together and reminisce and, for no reason whatsoever, you'd get a recap of things that had happened up to that point.
Called a "clip show," the concept actually began during a time when shows weren't as likely to be shown over and over again. Once reruns came into play, the concept became redundant, but that didn't stop any of the 80s or 90s shows. In recent years, though, the practice seems to have stalled. If it happens today, it's usually as a parody of clip episodes, such as The Family Guy's 100th episode.
Today's habit of streaming entire seasons of shows in rapid succession makes those flashback episodes annoying. While watching 90210, for instance, I was being shown clips from episodes I'd watched a couple of weeks earlier. I had to remind myself that when they originally aired, those episodes were spread out over years. You were seeing flashbacks to things that happened when you were a junior...and you were now in college.
But, seriously, they had another flashback episode six months later, during a Christmas episode. That one couldn't have just been too soon to me. It had to have annoyed viewers back in the 90s, right?
Of course, I should point out that the Kardashians do a stupid Christmas party at the end of each season where they watch childhood videos and bore the audience. Maybe that's the modern version of the flashback episode.
And my favorite show, Big Brother, does an episode at the end of each season where they recap the season and show unaired footage. But they've been doing that since 2002 or so and I always skip that episode because...snore.
Do you think today's TV shows should have flashback episodes?