Comfort television, a thing of the past?

There is no denying the craze for shows such as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. These shows reach people (myself included!) all over the world who share the bloodshed, the killing off of characters and the violence that are common occurrences. Plot twists in the like, although they keep us on the edges of our seats, file under one common tread: instant gratification. Violence becomes a commodity when all you see is the slaughtering of the king and his family or repeated fights through hordes of zombies by slashing them open. We get used to these portrayals of brutal and senseless murders, ‘biter’ guts exposed and the not so occasional revenge-driven blood baths (cue the Red Wedding or almost anything Ramsey Bolton related). Of course these instances arguably serve the story and intensify the drama but sometimes it’s overkill.

There is a case to be said about watching shows where you are not worried that your favorite character might die after every episode. Shows where you grow fond of the characters and get to see them evolve through each season.

A few weeks ago it was officially announced that the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix would be available for streaming on November 25th. The news of the return of this series drew me back to it, I immediately started re-watching. It’s as relatable nay more relatable than when I first watched it when I was younger. The show is really character driven focusing on the mother and daughter relationship between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel). When watching it’s as if you are reconnecting with old friends who talk fast and LOVE coffee. Gilmore Girls equals getting cozy and eating comfort food.

About at the same time, I started watching The Walking Dead which are from two completely different universes. I wondered if watching these shows simultaneously has an objective such as procuring an appeasing cycle: zombie attack and slaughter followed by Lorelai and Rory’s witty repartee then repeat. Maybe I’m just an avid watcher of a plethora of different genres but it feels like I am subconsciously trying to balance out the gore to heartwarming ratio. This got me wondering if the top watched shows of the hour still are able to bring an innocence or center on modern relationships? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both genres of entertainment but has one gained the upper hand? Apart from some long standing sitcoms such as Friends, How I Met Your Mother or The Office, in the last decade, it feels like the coming of age or character centered shows have become less mainstream on the networks. A genre that maybe has become more easily accessible on streaming like Grace & Frankie and The Mindy Project. It seems like once you’re up to date with your sitcoms you have to wait until the next season airs to get that comfort vibe, but if you’re looking for crime or suspenseful shows you have plenty of choices…

Do you have trouble finding shows that aren’t on the gory or murderous spectrum? Or rather, do you go through the counter violence balancing act?


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