I’m starting to think I didn’t miss any — except for the notorious finale, which I still haven’t seen, lo, these 17 years later. That’s OK. I don’t mind Seinfeld reruns. Some of these episodes I’m sure I’ve seen 20 times. They still make me laugh. For a show that predates the Internet and the iPhone, it seems as sharp as ever. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there’s never been a better sitcom since.
Which brings me to another iconic show that opened the same year “Seinfeld” was hitting its stride, and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t hold up nearly as well: “The X-Files.” Netflix has all of those episodes now, and again, I’ve been sampling the various seasons. I don’t know; maybe it’s because the tone and technique has been ripped off so many times since, but everything I’ve seen so far just strikes me as trite, unsophisticated. Browse the episode descriptions and it’s litany of Urban Myths, each supernatural trope raised and dispatched one self-contained episode at a time.
Of course, “The X-Files” came well before what we’ve come to to regard as the Golden Age of television. For its time, I suppose it was groundbreaking. But the bar is quite a bit higher now. There might be half as many episodes in a modern season, so the writing has to be better.
You may have heard that Chris Carter is planning a revival of the show, complete with stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. It’ll be interesting to see if he can breathe new life into a concept that pretty much run out of air well before its conclusion in 2002.
Fortunately, there’s no talk of a Seinfeld revival. Partly because you couldn’t improve on the original, and partly because it’s already been done. Larry David did about the best Seinfeld reunion you could hope toward the end of his “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in 2009.