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  • Writer's pictureJ J Hanna

The Benefits of Watching Something More than Once

Many times over the past few months, my friends have chastised me for not catching up on various TV shows. For example, I have a habit of rewatching season one of CW’s Arrow, rather than watching The Flash, Supergirl, or Legends of Tomorrow. This isn’t for lack of interest in those shows, either. There are just a few funny things that happen when you watch a show and then return to the very beginning. This can also happen when you read a book over again, however, for the rest of this post, I’ll be referring to TV shows and Arrow.

If you haven’t seen all of Arrow, there may be spoilers in here. It’s a great show. Go watch it.

1. You get to see character’s quirks more.

This is extremely enjoyable when you’ve seen the characters grow up. For example, going from season 5 and knowing the amazing vigilante Thea Queen will become and then watching her responses to Oliver’s cover stories is not only more amusing but extremely intriguing because the development was there all along. The future vigilante is evident in her interactions with everyone around her. She just hasn’t been brought out of her shell yet.

2. Plot reveals make you wonder why you didn’t see it before.

In a case of wonderful casting, the actors playing Tommy Merlyn, Malcolm Merlyn, and Thea Queen look like they could be related to each other in real life. But, because the viewers, like Thea, had only been told that Robert was Thea’s father, you never would have thought to consider anything different. I certainly didn’t. Coming back and rewatching the interactions with the different members of family members that don’t know they’re related gets very entertaining very quickly.

3. You can see the writer’s different focuses as time goes on.

One of my favorite things about season one of Arrow, even more specifically, episode one, is that Oliver visibly struggles with readjusting to normal life. He has a moment within the first episode where he’s sleeping on the floor of his bedroom, shivering in the rain since he opened his window, and his mom comes to wake him up. Having been on high alert for the past few years, he flipped her and pinned her down within seconds of opening his eyes. Why this didn’t clue his family into his vigilante nights, I have no idea. However, it does show a very important aspect of Oliver: he had trouble adjusting back to the comforts of safety after years fighting for his life.

This seems like a no brainer. But it’s actually a very pivotal part of his character and the choices he makes. He is hesitant to trust, even the people he’s known his whole life, and when he does trust someone he keeps them on a need to know basis with the island. It’s only after a few tragedies that he finally sits down with Diggle to talk about some of his experiences, rather than everyone and fully disclose what happened to him over the five years he was away. Even when he’s safe he can’t stop being cautious, because it kept him alive.

In later seasons the struggle Oliver has with those five years becomes less evident as the writer’s focus shifts to him as a hero rather than him as a victim. He creates a team of highly skilled people, and when that team falls apart, he trains new people to take their place. Much of this character development would have been lost on me had I not gone back and seen where Oliver started out.

These are only three of many reasons I enjoy watching movies and TV shows more than once. From the time that I was a little girl, I would wake up early and replay the movie we’d watched last night. I’ve had a drive to experience things again since I was 3, and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that drive and desire. The more you get to know something, the more likely you are to notice new things you didn’t see before, little nuances or foreshadowing that went right over your head the first time. Not only do I enjoy finding things that I missed the first time around, but it also helps me successfully put them in my own writing.

What do you do as plot and story structure research in your writing ventures? Send me an email at or let me know on social media! Links are below or off to the side.


J. J. Hanna is attending Taylor University for a degree in Professional Writing. She has published multiple devotions and book reviews and is a beginning comic artist. She published her first book Existence in 2015. Look for it on Amazon.

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