In the midst of work, school, responsibilities, etc., the one thing that many look forward to during the week are their favorite television shows. For me, it can be the bright spot in a long week when I get the chance to sit down and watch The Flash and Grey's Anatomy.
However, when the shows go on hiatus, it sometimes feels as if there is a void in your week. After being in fandoms for several years, I noticed some patterns that come with shows go on hiatus. Most of us tend to go through specific phases as we eagerly await the return of the shows that keep us distracted from life.
Whether your show returns in the fall or spring (or even summer), here are the five stages you go through until the next season's premiere.
1. The Reflective Phase.
The first phase is the reflective phase. It's the period that exists after the season finale and tends and usually lasts for about a month.
It's typically the brightest and most lucrative phase of the hiatus.
The time spent in this phase is where we spent time reflecting on the show and the most recent season. The content of the finale is still relevant and we're spending time discussing it in fandom. The finale leads to speculations for the next season and what we should expect.
This is also the point at which we discuss the season, which includes our likes and dislikes. We also begin to discuss our hopes for the next season and the things we would like to see.
2. The Rewatch Phase.
The second phase involves rewatching all the show's seasons as we begin to miss the show. It's also a way we prepare for the upcoming season, by catching up on any episodes you may have missed (or just only watched via clips on YouTube).
The rewatch phase is probably the most fun, but also a frustrating part of the hiatus. If you're rewatching the show with those in your fandom, the chats and discussions make it a fun experience. It's especially special to be able to discuss past seasons with those who may have recently started watching.
The reflective phase combines here as you begin to rewatch the past seasons of the show. The comparisons of each season create an interesting perspective and you find it fun to rank the seasons. The frustrating part may come in realizing how they show has changed, for good or for bad. Although, you realize you still enjoy the show overall.
3. The Distracting Phase.
Here is the phase in which you began to enjoy other shows that you've been planning to watch. It's the show either everyone talked about, or the show you just had an interest in.
You may still be continuing to do the rewatch, but you need something to distract you from the idea of not having any new content for the new few months.
It's the time that gives you that newness you crave, and something new to obsess over.
This is also the phase in which new people join the fandom in which you already existed in.
Its why this phase can also be dubbed as the fresh start. It allows you to make new friends and join new fandoms, while also getting a chance to re-engage in the old.
4. The Depressive Phase.
The fourth phase is the worst phase of the hiatus. We're officially out of content. There is little to no news about the upcoming season of the show. You enjoy the cast posting about their break on social media, but you're missing your favorite fictional characters (because we all know there is a difference between actors and fictional characters).
The depression hours (they come in spurts) consists of spending hours crying over the old content you're your fandom friends. The clips make you sad that there isn't new content for the next few months. You find yourself seeking out the sad/bad moments of the show just to make yourself feel worse.
It later leads to anger about the show and all the things you wish to see, but the show has failed to do. It seems as if no matter what you do (ex. watch clips, read fanfiction), nothing can feel the void. Unfortunately, it's the phase that occurs multiple times throughout the hiatus.
5. The New Phase.
The cast, crew, and creators have returned to work in this phase. The shows have yet to return, but we are managing to get some new content. The new content may come from behind-the-scenes or official entertainment sources, but this time is exciting. The first taste of new content is like Christmas morning for you and the fandom.
It'll be the thing that pushes you through the next several weeks of hiatus and once again gives you something to do. The speculations are fun to come up with, new fanfictions get written based off the spoilers, and new photos give you the hope that you can make it.
6. The Anxious Phase.
This may be the second worst phase of the hiatus. We may have all the new content we wanted, but it's making us anxious. We're questioning on whether things are as they appear for the new season. It can lead to disagreements among the fandom as everyone has different expectations. It's easy to get disappointed at the idea things may not be great this season, but we realize we first must give it a chance to air.
At the end of the day, we're all hoping for the best show possible and the chance to see our favorite characters flourish.
7. The Excitement Phase.
It's here! It's finally here! The show(s) will return within a week to a few days. The trailers for the season/first episodes have dropped a while back, and they have you excited. You're striving to remain positive about the new season until episodes air. Even if you're afraid of disappointments, you're excited to see a new season.
The seven phases may not necessarily be a thing that is experienced every time, or even at all. It's a categorization of the many feelings, especially when you're apart of fandoms, that you have when you miss watching your favorite shows.
The excitement phase may be the one you look forward to the most, but all of them are important. It's going through these phases, especially with others, that makes you realize why you love the shows you watch.
The hiatuses may come and go, but those breaks can give you a new appreciation for the show(s).
So, when the hiatus is over, the show(s) return and there could be no greater feeling.