Why do we re-view movies and television programs? When it comes to television, I'm much more likely to watch a sitcom like The Simpsons in reruns than a drama like Mad Men. And as I've gotten older I've become less and less interested in re-viewing movies. Some, like Good Will Hunting, I want to remember as I first saw and reacted to them. Others, like The Sixth Sense or The Crying Game, I just don't think I would enjoy seeing with the surprises no longer surprises.
Children, though, will often watch the same thing over and over-and then never want to watch it again. Realizing this, the creators of Blues Clues originally aired the show in a novel way. I'm told that when Blues Clues first came on the air, they would show the same episode every day for five days in a row and then do the same with a new episode each successive week. They did not stick with that approach, however. I expect the reason was not that children objected, but that parents changed the channel when they saw it was a repeat.
Reception depends largely on expectations. Because movies and television are big business, studios and networks don't just leave it to chance that we'll find out about their latest products. And the ubiquity of some classics can push us to apathy. Consider the impact of what I call the "already scene." The quintessential example is the shower (stabbing) scene in Psycho, which everyone has seen even if they haven't seen the movie. Because most people have seen the scene before seeing the movie, it loses its power to surprise and scare.