- Amazing TV shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Chernobyl are difficult to rewatch due to their intense emotional impact and dark subject matter.
- Gossip Girl and Breaking Bad lose their appeal upon rewatching as their central mysteries and unexpected plot twists lose their impact.
- Shows like When They See Us and Six Feet Under tackle heavy themes such as injustice and death, making them emotionally draining and hard to revisit.
There are amazing TV shows that deliver incredible experiences when first viewed, but despite this, are really hard to rewatch. This can come down to a number of different reasons, such as the sheer emotional intensity of a series, the twists and turns of its narrative already being revealed, or witnessing the character’s development for the first time being vital to the power and impact of the show. There are lots of TV shows like this where, although audiences really enjoy the series, it would be best to just watch it one time and hang onto the memory of having resonated with it.
Certain TV shows are overwhelmingly grueling in their emotional intensity and can leave such an impact on viewers that they may never decide to rewatch them ever again. Television series such as The Handmaid’s Tale bring up relevant messages around important themes, like the subjugation of women, that can be difficult for audiences to re-experience. There are other series, like Gossip Girl, where there is a central mystery that is explored through multiple seasons, and once it has been revealed, it makes it difficult to come back and watch the show again. For whatever reason, there are many amazing shows that are really hard to rewatch.
10 The Handmaid’s Tale (2017 – Present)
The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful examination of the subjugation of women that would be hard to rewatch
The Handmaid’s Tale
- Release Date
- April 26, 2017
- O-T Fagbenle , Joseph Fiennes , Alexis Bledel , Elisabeth Moss , Amanda Brugel , Bradley Whitford , Max Minghella , Ann Dowd , Samira Wiley , Madeline Brewer , Yvonne Strahovski
The Handmaid’s Tale was based on a novel by feminist writer Margaret Atwood and explores the dystopian society of Gilead, where women are stripped of their agency and forced into servitude. The Handmaid’s Tale television series has something vital and important to say about the treatment of women and brings up incredibly insightful themes around gender roles, power and control, and fundamentalist thinking models. While The Handmaid’s Tale is a masterclass in allegorical storytelling that shines a light on contemporary society, the brutality with which the characters are treated and the torment that is showcased on screen makes this a difficult series to rewatch.
9 When They See Us (2019)
When They See Us was an insightful portrayal of the law and injustice that would be hard to rewatch
When They See Us
- Release Date
- May 31, 2019
- Jharrel Jerome , Ava DuVernay
The crime miniseries When They See Us was based on the true story of the Central Park jogger case when five teenagers were wrongly convicted on charges relating to the assault and rape of a young woman named Trisha Melli. When They See Us was a powerful portrayal of injustice and the failures of the legal system that cuts right to the heart of how people are exploited, scapegoated, and misjudged within American society. When They See Us brought up important themes of justice, race, and trauma, that stands as a difficult to rewatch due to the sheer intensity and realism with which this story was portrayed.
8 Gossip Girl (2007 – 2012)
Gossip Girl was a teen drama that revealed its central mystery in the end and now would be hard to rewatch
The teen drama Gossip Girl revolved around a mysterious, unknown blogger voiced by Kirsten Bell. Throughout Gossip Girl much of the suspense was based around not knowing who this blogger was and how they could expose all the various secrets and scandals involving the rest of the cast. Gossip Girl revealed the identity of this blogger by the end of the show’s run, and the hard reality of rewatching Gossip Girl, unfortunately, results in a series that lacks mystery, with plot twists that lose their impact, and some of the storylines no longer make any sense.
7 Game Of Thrones (2011 – 2019)
Game of Thrones had a disappointing ending that would be hard to rewatch
Game of Thrones was the biggest series on television when it was on the air as audiences flocked to see the interwoven storylines of the inhabitants of Westeros and Essos. With incredibly engaging conflicts between noble families, insightful characters, and a building narrative that felt like it was heading toward an epic conclusion, part of the joy of watching Game of Thrones was not knowing what would happen next and how everything would pan out in the end. Unfortunately, Game of Thrones’ final season did not deliver on viewers’ lofty expectations, and rewatching the series feels less exciting with the knowledge that the finale will be a disappointing letdown.
6 Black Mirror (2011 – Present)
Black Mirror is a bleak examination of technology that is so dark it would be hard to rewatch
The dark anthology series Black Mirror reflects the sinister consequences of today’s technology-obsessed society. With episodes that delve into the darkest realms of human nature, Black Mirror can often be difficult to endure due to its relentless bleakness. Despite some moments of heartfelt positivity, such as the episode “San Junipero”, Black Mirror is a daunting series to rewatch as audiences will be once again subjected to a politician blackmailed into having sex with a pig in “The National Anthem”, a woman tormented daily for a crime she does not remember in “White Bear”, or an astronaut damned to a life of loneliness in “Beyond the Sea.”
5 Rectify (2013 – 2016)
Rectify was a deeply compelling exploration of lost time that would be difficult to rewatch
Rectify was a seriously underrated drama series following the life of Daniel Holden, a man released from death row after 20 years due to new evidence in his murder case. Daniel was convicted of killing his girlfriend when he was just 16 and Rectify explored the consequences of his release on himself and those around him. Rectify was a slow-burn series focusing on the emotional complexity of its main character and a detailed, heartfelt, character study about adjustment, loss, and what it means to be alive. Watching Rectify for the first time was an emotionally draining but rewarding experience that would be difficult to go through a second time.
4 Broadchurch (2013 – 2017)
Broadchurch was procedure drama with a central mystery that would be hard to rewatch
The investigative crime series Broadchurch, starring David Tennent and Olivia Coleman, explored the death of an 11-year-old boy that brought up lies, deceit, and foul play in a small seaside town during its first season. As a slowly unfolding procedural with excellent performances, Broadchurch had viewers on the edge of their seats waiting to discover the resolution of its interwoven and intricate mystery. These qualities that make the show so exciting on first viewing, unfortunately, mean the series does not have as much rewatch value, as audiences are no longer guessing the outcome and know exactly how the sinister murder at the heart of its story took place.
3 Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)
Breaking Bad was an exciting journey of a character’s transformation that would be hard to rewatch
The story of a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned multi-millionaire meth, lord Walter White, Breaking Bad was unlike any other viewing experience, as audiences witnessed the transformation of Walter from a likable dad into a ruthless, cold-hearted criminal. The sheer attention to detail in Breaking Bad means audiences will pick up lots of hidden details when rewatching the series. However, the feeling of not knowing where the narrative is going and how things will turn out for Walter and his partner Jesse Pinkman can just not be replicated and makes this iconic show difficult to rewatch with the same level of intensity.
2 Six Feet Under (2001 – 2005)
Six Feet under was a gruelling drama exploring death that would be hard to rewatch
Six Feet Under
- Release Date
- June 3, 2001
- Peter Krause , Lauren Ambrose
Six Feet Under was a HBO drama series with one of the best finales ever aired on television. Following the Fisher family, who run a funeral home in Los Angeles, Six Feet Under expertly dealt with themes of death, family, and grief in a consistently well-written series. However, Six Feet Under was seriously emotionally draining and after spending five series with the Fisher family, it makes it a difficult series to decide to rewatch. In particular, the season 4 episode “That’s My Dog”, where David Fisher was kidnapped and almost set on fire, stands out as one of the most horrific and difficult to watch episodes in this relentlessly emotional series.
1 Chernobyl (2019)
Chernobyl was a dark representation of a national tragedy that would be hard to rewatch
- Release Date
- June 3, 2019
- Stellan Skarsgård , Jared Harris
The HBO miniseries Chernobyl explored the 1986 real-life nuclear explosion in the Ukrainian city of Chornobyl and its devastating consequences for those in the vicinity. Chornobyl expertly recreates this national tragedy with a sense of realism and dread and brings audiences right into the heart of the mistakes made by those responsible that were so vast it is almost difficult to comprehend. Chornobyl received critical acclaim for its incredible attention to detail. However, the realism with which these events are portrayed makes this a difficult series to rewatch as it is as emotionally draining as it is gripping to witness this dramatization of true events.