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Ask the Mary Sues: What Vintage Pop Culture Have You Rediscovered?

We're late to the party on these films and television series.

Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill, Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter, Christopher Judge as Teal'c, and Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson

It’s been a long 15 months indoors, and while streaming channels have given us a comically endless supply of new content to consume, many of us are returning to pop culture that is old and familiar. Many of us have been indulging in feel-good sitcom mainstays like The Office, Parks and Rec, and Friends. We’ve also taken this gap year from our social lives to rediscover classic films and television series that we missed the first time around.

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The Mary Sues are no exception, as we’ve been revisiting old classics and discovering new faves. It’s wild to consider that many of us grew up in an era where, if you missed an episode of television, you rarely had a second chance to catch up. I’m talking about the days before DVR and Tivo, when you would set a timer on your VHS player to record an episode of Deep Space Nine. Sure, there would be summer reruns if you were lucky, but for most of us, if you missed something on TV, you just missed it.

So join as we walk through all the films and series we’re just now catching up on. I mean, I can’t be the only person watching 90s episodes of Supermarket Sweep, right?

Kaila Hale-Stern:

In the late ’90s and early aughts, one of the biggest science fiction TV shows out there was Stargate SG-1, a continuation/reimagining of the movie starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. SG-1 ran for 10 seasons and proved so popular it eventually spawned its own spin-offs like Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe. The show follows a team comprised of military brass, a civilian archaeologist, and an alien-turned-ally as they venture through innumerable wormhole portals to encounter new life and new civilizations, and battle extraterrestrials who think they’re gods.

Even though I watched a lot of the Sci Fi Channel (and I mean a lot) at the time, I was late coming to SG-1 and never really got into it beyond catching some special-event marathons. But recently I started SG-1 from the beginning on Netflix, and I can see the appeal. While many early episodes are pretty silly and run-of-the-mill, sometimes the show surprises you, and the excellent chemistry of the central cast lead by MacGyver himself, Richard Dean Anderson, alongside Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, and Christopher Judge keeps the show ticking along. It’s science fiction that is not, at current, forcing me to think too hard—an escape through the gate into distant worlds that I appreciate right now.

Princess Weekes:

The Sopranos! I started watching it last year because I figured I’d binge it in the same way I did Mad Men, but it ended up being a much meatier watch. Mostly because the characters are just really bad people, but I was sucked in so deeply because the show is unflinching in its reality that this lifestyle destroys those within it. I appreciated that it showed the un-sexy realities, and while maybe audiences might have missed out on that because of the Tony Soprano power fantasy—I didn’t. I found it refreshing to have Tony be an absolutely terrible human being, while being a complicated character I enjoyed watching. Also, I hope Meadow and A.J are okay in 2021. Although, sadly, I know Carmela probably voted for Trump >.< Lyra Hale:

Does Star Wars count? I only watched the movies a couple years ago and felt like I had been missing out on something awesome for my entire life. When I asked my mami why I never watched this as a kid, she shrugged and said it wasn’t something that looked good. Oh how wrong she was. Many movies and TV shows later I’m grateful to know this cinematic universe, its heroes, and the fans within it.

Rachel Leishman:

I know, I know, everyone talked about how it was Tom Cruise’s best role and his best movie, but as someone who is admittedly not his fan, I never got around to watching Interview with the Vampire. But then all my friends heard I had never done so, and decided it was time that I right this wrong and I’m glad they did. I am a Louis de Point du Lac fan and I admit that with my whole heart. And yes, I sadly do love Lestat too.

Chelsea Steiner:

Now this is a story all about how, my TV watching got flipped, turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I started bingeing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Once Fresh Prince hit HBO Max, I started watching it for the nostalgia and the fashions (Hilary Banks = iconic). And while plenty of the jokes do not hold up well (especially the ones aimed at the LGBTQ+ community), I was struck by how well plotted and acted this series was. Fresh Prince hits all the right emotional beats, and it’s quickfire comedy and charismatic performances (name a more stacked cast) made it a standout of its era. After binging all 6 seasons and the reunion special, I can honestly say that I am a full-on Fresh Prince fan, 25 years too late to the party.

What old series or films have you fallen in love with recently? let us know in the comments!

(image: MGM Home Entertainment)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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