It’s interesting sometimes, when you remember something from years ago and love it so much you risk watching it again and then your entire perception of the show changes. I mean, I have seen Buffy from episode one through season 7, and even a few issues into the comic season 8, over and over without my first fascination changing. I still feel Buffy and Angel belong together, even though I agree she needed the experiences of Parker, Riley and Spike in order to grow. And while I think her and Spike can have an enduring closeness, they weren’t completely tied to each other the way she and Angel were…but I digress.
My husband absolutely loved the old movie Excalibur. Considered it one of the best of all time. Until he bought it to share his love with the kids and found he’d really outgrown it. I don’t remember all the issues he had with it, I just remembered he was really disappointed.
A few months ago, Craig and I started re-watching La Femme Nikita. I had originally planned to enjoy this kick-ass heroine show with my girls. They hate whiners. They hate wimps. Occasionally, they have tuned in. Out of a smidgen of interest and a great deal of pity, Craig took over watching it with me. The issue? Michael is an ass-hat. Or was in seasons 1 & 2.
Well, the show wasn’t nearly as spoiled for me as Excalibur was for Craig. But I observed things I didn’t catch before. My friends and I had loved watching it the first time around, and while this was before I learned about internet discussion boards, we would call each other up, tape shows, plan to watch them together, all that. We were convinced Michael and Nikita were the loves of all time.
Fast forward a dozen years, and I wonder. This time I saw all the ways Michael played her without the “oh, but he’s so hot and he’s just forced to” justifications. My daughter didn’t buy them for an episode, let alone over and over for a season. Good girl. Then I saw, knowing the end, how Nikita changed after season 1, becoming more distant and cold. I hadn’t remembered some of those moments, but this time it made me genuinely wonder about her statement at the end of season 4: “I don’t love you. I never did.”
The first time, it shocked the hell out of me and I was mad at the studio and mad at the writers. Well, I was mad anyway. Birkoff’s death was pointless. That position hasn’t changed. But this time, though I had forgotten that line, I’d remembered Nikita was a counter-spy. This time when she delivered the final line, it wasn’t met with total disbelief.
We are now wrapping up the final two disks. I don’t know what to believe. But I read a statement about how season 4 was planned in advance that way and season 5 was only brought back based on watcher demand.
The lesson I learned is a mixed one. Do not play with watcher demand. Don’t break their hearts. But at the same time, if the clues are laid from the beginning, who’s fault is it? The viewer or the writer? And how much is assumed by the people watching, when they attribute emotions and motivations to a stoic face?
But mainly, it was sad to see Walter and Birkoff’s care of Nikita and Michael wasn’t as reciprocated as I’d remembered. And his death was still a pointless, stupid mistake. Emotional, yes, and I liked Jason, but I would have rather seen twin drama than pointless drama.
Have you ever re-watched an old favorite and have your perspective change? For the better or the worst?
My daughters and I just discovered Netflix and their extensive lists of TV shows. Yay! Movies are one of the best ways to understand the process of telling a story. You can see the beginning, middle and ending all in about two hours. And in there you watch the development of character, setting and plot.
Expanding on this is the joy of watching TV seasons, one episode after another. It used to be that watching a show once a week was entertaining for that week and the characters hardly changed and there wasn’t an over all season arc. But viewers and writers have become much more savvy.
Now we watch the episodes with barely a pause in between and it becomes one 22-hour movie with a potty break every forty-five minutes or so. Even better is watching a show that has wrapped up the series.
I watched Roswell when it first came on and somewhere in there I missed episodes. Didn’t want to, but that used to happen. Then I saw the end. Three short seasons and it was over. I remember feeling really disappointed because the first season had so much promise and I felt it jumped the shark and ruined the show.
Well, I wanted to see it all again, in a row with no missed episodes. I knew the girls would love it within a scene or two and, yep, I was right. There were actual whoops and cheers for Michael and Maria’s first kiss. If the pause button hadn’t been accidentally hit, Max and Liz’s would have been the same. And now I realize they broke one of the “rules” of writing. Three main character’s names began with the same letter: M. Yet, I never realized it.
I am pretty sure I’ll still be disappointed by the end of the series, wishing they could have stuck around long enough to fix the problems and develop the story better, but we are now toward the last 3rd of season 1. These episodes renew my faith in all the many things they did right.
Sexual tension, the move closer/withdraw, the mystery, the slow acquisition of a “scoobie gang”, the humor and the pairing. I love how Colin Hanks played this somewhat geeky nice guy who could stand up for himself and his friends. He has had some really nice moments.
And Katherine Heigl is beautiful and talented. You see it in her eyes and minute facial expressions. I loved Katherine in The Ugly Truth and look forward to seeing her this summer in One For The Money, in which she plays Stephanie Plum herself. I believe the screen casting was pretty good. She doesn’t scream “Italian” to me, but good natured comedienne in a tough business like bail bonding where she has no experience, yeah. I can see it.
I still love Jason Behr and Brendan Fehr. I’ve seen them here and there in different shows. I’d like to see them more often. The girl’s love Brendan Fehr’s depiction of a wounded-soul, tough alpha male with just enough tenderness to keep him loveable.
Seeing the arcs played out in 22 vs. 2 hours is a great way to watch more development in smaller, less showy ways. I hate when shows and movies may as well have a big neon arrow saying ‘Character Development Here”.
So, a great big thank you to modern technology and Netflix for making this possible.