Fascination with Groundhog Day-esque stories

Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, Community, the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Farscape, Person of Interest, and many other science fiction/fantasy shows have had episodes inspired by the movie Groundhog Day. A character relives a series of events multiple times, occasionally making changes to see what the effects are. There have also been movies revolving around the same idea, including Happy Death Day and When I First Met Her. Explore the reasons why the idea presented in this movie (or possibly originating earlier, if you can find past examples) is such a crowd favorite. Are there deeper meanings to be found here, or is it just a comedy bit that other writers reuse because it’s well-liked?

  • I think it has something to do with our fascination of wondering what we could do differently if we could go through the same day again. After a hard decision, who hasn't thought: "what if I did this instead?" I suppose it's a fun and easy thing to explore for an episode or two in a TV show. A fascinating look at these time loop stories is 2016's "Re:Zero" a fascinating anime about a boy in a fantasy world who after dying discovers that he comes back to life several hours before his death. The disturbing nature of facing unavoidable fates and dying repeatedly to save the people he loves is the emotional core of the show, and showcases the true horror of endless time loops. It's a dark and interesting look on the genre/cliche. – Dimitri 6 years ago
  • An intriguing topic suggestion and one that deserves a broader and deeper investigation. I'd suggest breaking away from the limitations of 'Groundhog Day' to consider how other cultures have addressed the same, or similar theme. Off the top of my head I'd recommend the very clever and fiendishly evasive Korean time-loop tale 'A Day' (2016. Directed by Jo Seon-ho) in which not one, but three disparate characters experience the same day, each from his own perspective. No spoilers as to the outcome, but it is unexpected. – Amyus 6 years ago
  • Excellent feedback. I wouldn't have thought of those examples because I know very little about anime, Korean drama, etc. Considering how other cultures see the concept of quantum do-overs would be a great addition to this article. – noahspud 6 years ago

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