by Guest Contributor London McGuire (@LondonMcGuire)
Shows go off the air for two reasons: Some are fired (read: canceled) because they’re bad and no one wants to watch them anymore; others are retired because they’ve reached the end of their long and rewarding runs. We’re lucky the fired shows never see the light of day our LCD screens again, but our favorite TV classics are another story. We genuinely miss the great shows that enter retirement until we get to hear two magic words: syndicated reruns.
Here are the five best retired shows to binge watch during rerun marathons.
There’s nothing we miss more than our favorite show about nothing. After nine great NBC seasons spanning from 1989 to 1998, Seinfeld‘s classic dry humor has earned it a permanent spot in America’s hearts – and on our TVs. In the years since its cancellation, Seinfeld has grossed more than $3 billion in rerun earnings, cementing its top spot as the most profitable 30-minute show in television history.
While we wish there could be new episodes of this situational comedy to look forward to every week, we’ve quickly learned to settle for rerun marathons. TBS network shows up to 2 hours of Seinfeld reruns every weekday. It’s the perfect afternoon treat, especially when you turn on the TV just in time to hear the epic line: “No soup for you!”
Dear Friends, we’re never going on a break. We have no doubt that Friends, which aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004, is one show that is gone but not forgotten. The memorable moments are endless, from hilarious pranks to touching love scenes. It’s no wonder this quintessential American sitcom is one of the most universally beloved shows of all time. In fact, the Writers Guild of America recently ranked Friends #24 on their list of 101 Best Written TV Series ever. (Side note: every show on this 5 Things list made it on WGA’s list. Yeah, we have good taste.)
Thankfully, there are endless opportunities to catch Friends reruns whenever we need our Ross and Rachel fix. The show plays for hours at a time on various channels available from DIRECTV, like Nickelodeon. And don’t feel guilty if you get sucked in to a full-on Friends binge; Miss Rachel Karen Green herself does the same thing.
Image Source: iTunes
3. Sex and the City
Best friends, high fashion and hot sex – what more could a girl want from her favorite hit drama series? From 1998 until 2004, Bravo’s Sex and the City was basically the bible for 20 and 30-something young professionals searching for love, happiness and fabulous shoes. The show was an inspiration. Even after years of disastrous encounters with men, Carrie and the rest of the crew taught us never to settle for anything less than ridiculous, inconvenient, all-consuming love. And never forget: eventually, Mr. Big got “Carrie’d away.”
Unfortunately, since the show’s retirement, SATC fans have had to put up with some sub-par sequels. Two less-than stellar movies and a frankly awful prequel TV spinoff later, we’ve learned to stick to the rerun marathons. Lucky for us, they’re always on. Sex and the City runs on E! for two hours at a time during the week, and on weekends Style network gives us our fix. With so many opportunities to watch, the show’s gaining new fans every day.
Image Source: iTunes
4. Everybody Loves Raymond
Paul Rudd once described marriage as an “unfunny, tense version of Everybody Loves Raymond.” Basically, that means that Everybody Loves Raymond is a hilarious, anxiety-free version of married life – a spot-on description! The sitcom, which ran on CBS from 1996 to 2005, reminded us that it’s totally normal if sometimes you completely loathe your spouse, your kids, your parents, your mother-in-law, etc. Usually, the loathing was with good reason – like in the episode with the unforgettable entrance by Ray’s parents.
With a huge number of awards, including 50+ Emmy nominations and 14 Emmy wins, it’s clear that Everybody Loves Raymond was a phenomenal comedy series that is sorely missed. We’re grateful that the show’s reruns are constantly airing on TBS, TV Land and sometimes on local channels. When the trials and tribulations of family life just get to be too much, Everybody Loves Raymond is a 22-minute slice of heaven.
5. Law and Order
“In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
What a line! We don’t know what we love more – the law or the order. From awesome police chases to tense courtroom scenes to the unforgettable theme songs, no other criminal drama series comes close to the epic legacy of Law and Order. And don’t forget the whole franchise it spawned – 5 spinoff shows, each delightfully able to hold their own. The series that started it all, Law and Order, ran for 20 wonderful years on NBC, making it the longest-running crime drama on American primetime when it was canceled.
Sadly, we were recently devastated to read of the passing of Dennis Farina, real-life Chicago policeman-turned-actor who played Law and Order Detective Joe Fontana. Catch the late actor’s fabulous performances with rerun marathons on USA and TNT.
BONUS – Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Ok, so technically Law and Order: SVU is still in production with new episodes airing weekly on NBC. However, when beloved Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) left after the 2001 season, the show changed forever. Sure, Benson and the rest of the “elite squad” still solve the “especially heinous” crimes and we still watch “their stories”. But Elliot, we still miss you!
Thankfully, when life without Stabler gets to be too much, there are plenty of reruns to watch. The 6+ episode marathons on USA are something of lore. In fact, avoiding being sucked into an SVU marathon is a major talent. SVU marathons are such an art form they have their own catchy titles. Highlights include the girl-power “Killer Blondes Marathon,” and the tense countdown “Beat the Clock Marathon”. Our personal favorite? The “More Than Partners Marathon,” featuring plenty of hot and heavy Benson/Stabler action.
So whenever you start to miss your favorite shows that are no longer on the air, head to one of the abovementioned channels for some great rerun action. After all, the only thing better than watching your favorite classic shows? Binge-watching them, marathon style.