Here’s why watching familiar TV feels so comforting

, ,

Once the weather turns, the TV nostalgia kicks in

Image by Adrian Swancar via Unsplash

As lovely as the extra dose of sun has been this week, the leaves have started to turn. That means we have longer nights and chillier air on the way. There are a lot of things to love about the autumn season; jumpers, Halloween, boots, but one of our favourite parts is the return to cosy TV.

After you’ve eased into the office commute again, and hopped off the bus into the autumn rain, popped the dinner on, and changed into your best loungewear, there’s nothing nicer than putting on a show that brings you as much comfort as your joggers.

Here are some must-(re)watches that we’re so close to pressing play on:

Gilmore Girls

Netflix va ressusciter la série «Gilmore Girls»

Image via Netflix

Whether you were a fan when it originally aired, or the revival reeled you in later in life, visiting Stars Hollow is a must once that first leaf falls. There’s something about watching Lorelai and Rory quip back and forth that makes it the ultimate comfort watch. All seasons are streaming now on Netflix.

When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally... (1989) - IMDb

Image via IMDB

We’re cheating here since this is a movie, but if it was penned by Nora Ephron, it’s an obvious choice for comfort. Watch Harry and Sally toe the line of will-they-won’t-they over the years, before ultimately falling in love. With East Coast backdrops and a distinctly 80s/90s feel, it’s a classic for good reason. When Harry Met Sally is available for rent on AppleTV, Google Play and YouTube.

The Great British Bake-Off

Nailed It!,' 'Great British Baking Show' & More Set Netflix Premieres

Image via TVInsider

Thankfully, this one isn’t a rewatch, since we’ll be getting a fresh slice of this cosy favourite very soon. There’s something incredibly comforting about watching twelve people bake things, and nothing says the autumn is here like seeing Paul Hollywood on our screens again. GBBO returns to Channel 4 on September 21st.

But why does rewatching feel so good?

What’s great about these movies and TV shows is that they are, in essence, cosy shows. They are designed to elicit feelings of comfort for the viewer, whether that’s by showing a family bond, an old friendship, or lots and lots of cake.

But it’s not just the subject matter that keeps us coming back every year. The nostalgic rewatches of pre-loved entertainment is a way of dealing with a high cognitive load, according to psychologists. It explains why many of us will have returned to New Girl or The Fall or Breaking Bad during lockdowns. Some studies have shown that watching familiar television can even be restorative, as watching something we know we’ll enjoy can serve as its own reward for our brains.

So it isn’t just that you enjoy the familiarity of the show or movie, but your brain does too. After a busy day of work and school runs and workouts and food shops, do your brain a favour and stick on an old episode – you deserve it!