The sliding scale of cultural relevance

Since I am watching “The Gilmore Girls” fourteen years after its debut, of course I am looking for signs of creeping cultural senescence. So far, while the references to TV shows and hit songs is highly out of date (eg: today, Rory’s friend Lane would probably not be so eager to hang with M. Night Shyamalan), but the cultural sensibility is very up to date.

The further you go back in TV history, the harder it can be to connect. I’ve watched episodes of “I Married Joan” and “December Bride” on YouTube, and it feels as though I am looking into another universe. “Star Trek the Next Generation” seems decisively dated, and the original “Star Trek” even more so (in some ways, at least).

I wonder whether there is a way to quantify this. Can we attach some sort of score — perhaps based on a form of crowd-sourcing, to how up-to-date is the sensibility of a show?

On the other hand, it’s clearly not a linear scale. For example, I’m not sure, even centuries from now, Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” will ever seem entirely irrelevant.

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