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Back to the future: TV shows that withstand the test of time

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With millions of Netflix subscribers and hundreds of shows to choose from, 8 out of 10 most-watched shows last year were reruns.

That’s according to a breakdown of Netflix’s viewership by data compiled for the Wall Street Journal by Nielsen. The same data found that viewers spent 45.8 billion minutes watching “The Office” over a 12-month span. And last year, the show alone accounted for nearly 3 percent of Netflix’s U.S. viewership. The other most-watched series included “Friends”-- a sitcom, WSJ reports, that cost Netflix $100 million to keep in 2019.

Despite “The Office” debuting 14 years ago and “Friends” piloting in 1994, both of the shows remain relevant to this day. Even Gen Z is obsessed with the sitcoms. So what makes a show about a paper company in Scranton, PA and a series about young Manhattanites appealing? What about the show makes it relatable to viewers across generations? And are there any other series that withstand the test of time? Have you discovered any “vintage” TV shows? And if so, how did you find them? We’re taking your calls at 866-893-5722.


Lorraine Ali, television critic of the Los Angeles Times; she tweets @LorraineAli