SFF95: Groundhog Day Episodes

In these days of coronavirus quarantine, one day can feel exactly like the next, and it reminded us of the many repeating days that appear in time loop episodes of some current and classic TV shows. Bill Murray in Groundhog Day may have set the standard for this formula in cinema, but imitators on the small screen have taken the idea to new creative levels even as they emulate certain familiar aspects that have become the norm for episodes of this type.

For example, usually only one or two characters notice that a specific period of time is repeating, and they typically have a very difficult time convincing those around them that this has all happened before if they even try. Assuming there is a scientific or magical cause for the loop, there usually is a singular solution that the aware characters must find to break out of the cycle. Often, the show in question is able to use the Groundhog Day scenario to force growth on the trapped characters that they would not have otherwise been able to achieve.

As usual with our discussion topics, the listeners contribute their own favorites including examples from several spin-offs of the Star Trek franchise, magical loops in fantasy series like Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and many more. The Groundhog Day episode has become a genre television standard that usually produces more enjoyment than the average bottle episode.

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