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Thread: Old tv shows: the test of time

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Old tv shows: the test of time

    This weekend Junior started watching the season 1 of Flipper DVD he got for Xmas and had a two and a half hour long Flipper-fest until we made him turn it off and do something else. I watched a couple episodes too, as I hadn't seen the show in over 40 years. Dayum! Talk about lame writing! Flipper, it it turns out is a very-slightly retread version of Aqua-Lassie
    "eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh!" "What's that you say, Flipper, Sandy is trapped under an active torpedo in a sunken German U-boat and only has ten minutes of air left?" My seven year old loves it of course, but he can be forgiven as he's only seen the Lassie remake movie once and that show thankfully had none of the "What's that you say, Lassie, Timmy has fallen into a well and broken his leg?" type dialogue.

    Reality tv did not invent stupidity, it was around long before that. So my question is, generally speaking, how do you think television shows from yesteryear compare to today's programming? Yes, we can all agree the production quality: sets, video effects, etc. are almost without exception superior with today's shows, but what about the writing? Are today's stories/plots any more compelling, and is dialogue/acting more believable?

    Based on reruns you have seen during the last few years, and not relying on your memory of tv Back in the Day, what old tv shows (let's say ended 25 years or more) do you think stand the test of time and measure favorably with today's tv shows?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    A certain Cyburbian's wife likes to watch re-runs of old series. Her current addiction is Remington Steele. The Cyburbian finds the plots lame, the dialogue atrocious, and the acting of the same quality. It's supposed to be tongue in cheek humor but I...Uh I mean he, has trouble staying awake through a full episode.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Her current addiction is Remington Steele.
    Funny you should mention it, I have this friend whose wife also likes watching that show, and this friend also thinks that show has not aged well at all.

    Where comedy is concerned, I think shows featuring slapstick and physical comedy are probably going to stand the test of time best. (e.g. I Love Lucy)

    We're watching Season 1 of Newhart right now and it feels about 20% less funny than I recall it being back in the day.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I showed the girl Mr. Ed a few months ago and she loved it. Mrs. P has brought out olf I Love Lucy shows for them to watch too. Thought both were funny and even asked questions about why this or that. I plan on finding some Gilligan Island episodes pretty soon.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I've always thought classic cartoons have stood the test of time. My kids are my proof. Watching todays cartoons they watch for a little while and get bored. Watching old Tom & Jerry or Road Runner, they laugh endlessly.

    For something of the more adult palette (although I love my cartoons) I always enjoy a good Star Trek rerun or Mash.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    During a recent stay in a hotel, I put I Love Lucy on for the girls. I think that was a show that was way ahead of its time with quite good writing. The girls seemed to enjoy it, especially my 9 year old. I also liked the reruns as a kid.

    They also watched an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. I don't think they liked it as much. Interesting, because I didn't like it as a kid either.
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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Last week my Netflix selection was "Taxi." In particular it was the DVD with "Jim's Inheritance" (the one where Rev Jim's father died and left him a trunk that include a tape of Stevie Wonder's "You are the Sunshine"). It is one of my favorite TV episodes. My 11 year old son liked "Taxi" too. So I guess the show has staying power. Good comedy is always funny.

    I watched "Barney Miller" reruns a while back. It hasn't help up as well as "Taxi" IMO. WKRP is also dated.

    Though dated, I will watch a Rockford episode any time.
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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I'd like to watch some of the old westerns like Cheyenne, Johnny Yuma, Have Gun Will Travel, etc, to see how they've held up. I'm thinking that shows that were already period pieces might show better than ones that were tied more closely to the culture of our day.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    I showed the girl Mr. Ed a few months ago and she loved it. Mrs. P has brought out olf I Love Lucy shows for them to watch too. Thought both were funny and even asked questions about why this or that. I plan on finding some Gilligan Island episodes pretty soon.
    Mr. Ed stands the test of time because it was never meant to be anything more than a nutty show. Much like the Beverly Hillbillies, it knew it was a nutty premise for a show. The writers embraced that. I can still remember Ed sliding into home plate for the Dodgers! I laugh every time I think of it.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    I'd like to watch some of the old westerns like Cheyenne, Johnny Yuma, Have Gun Will Travel, etc, to see how they've held up. I'm thinking that shows that were already period pieces might show better than ones that were tied more closely to the culture of our day.
    I watch old westerns (including "Have Gun') whenever visiting my in-laws .They have some kind of westerns only cable channel that my FIL is addicted to. I have to say I found the acting in the majority of shows I saw to be on par with the A-list tv shows of today. Concerning the scripts, I would say the writing was visionary for its time; several storylines I saw actually pre-saged things like the environmental, and civil rights movements. Once you got past the fact that all westerns are, at heart, morality plays (which seems a bit hokey given today's sensibilities), most held up remarkably well.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I remember one week last summer where I was home sick for a few days and watched quite a few hours of Three's Company and thought to myself that, besides the questionable fashion choices, the comedy really held up pretty well.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I wonder how those cheesefests from the 70's hold up Three's company, the Love Boat, Fantasy Island, etc. On a more serious note, I wonder how Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, etc would stand the test of time?
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    The MIL lives with us and it seems as if all she watches are the worst shows and movies ever made. Ever. Currently she has been watching MacGyver. Maybe if I was 8-9-10 when it came out I would have liked it, but now? Hhhhhhhhhorrible.
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  14. #14
    Yeah, this Cyburbian I know was relating how his SO decided the TV would be tuned to reruns of The Thorn Birds. He hadn't watched it when it originally aired so he couldn't say whether it transcended time. But I thought, uh, ...he expressed the feeling that it was one of the hokiest, most vapid programs with the worst acting, he'd ever been forced to sit through. For multiple nights, no less!

    I told him he was a loser for sitting through that...
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    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Yeah, this Cyburbian I know was relating how his SO decided the TV would be tuned to reruns of The Thorn Birds. He hadn't watched it when it originally aired so he couldn't say whether it transcended time. But I thought, uh, ...he expressed the feeling that it was one of the hokiest, most vapid programs with the worst acting, he'd ever been forced to sit through. For multiple nights, no less!

    I told him he was a loser for sitting through that...
    It's called watching it is better than being exiled to the couch for the foreseeable future.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (especially the latter) have held up well, but Alfred Hitchcock's works will still be good 500 years from now.

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    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I have the entire catalogue of CHiPs it doesn't get much better than that. 7-Mary-3 to 7-Mary-4 "That's Cool"
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    Do you have Me TV http://metvnetwork.com/schedule.php available on your cable channel choices ?

    Check out their schedule.
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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    A buddy of mine is a firefighter. Whenever his pager goes off a couple of us say "1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, See the man"

    Adam 12 is okay, Dragnet is still fun to watch too
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  20. #20
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Dragnet is still fun to watch too
    I wonder if the whole deadpan seriousness (this is a crime drama dammit!) was intended from the beginning to be tongue in cheek? If it was, then I'd say it's kept its appeal, if not, then it's fallen into the category of 'camp' these days. Shows like CSI and Law & Order blow the doors off all crime dramas that preceeded them.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  21. #21
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    For me it's all about the comedies. There's already enough drama in my life. Sitting and watching a rerun of Hogan's Heros was always good. Lately I've been watching reruns of Seinfeld. Seeing as it's about nothing it should last a while.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I watched an episode of Who's the Boss last night. It still made me chuckle a couple of times but the plot was very simplistic and Judith Light had the worse dye job on the planet.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Do you have Me TV http://metvnetwork.com/schedule.php available on your cable channel choices ?

    Check out their schedule.
    We get that channel. I like watching old episodes of Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I watch old westerns (including "Have Gun') whenever visiting my in-laws .They have some kind of westerns only cable channel that my FIL is addicted to. I have to say I found the acting in the majority of shows I saw to be on par with the A-list tv shows of today. Concerning the scripts, I would say the writing was visionary for its time; several storylines I saw actually pre-saged things like the environmental, and civil rights movements. Once you got past the fact that all westerns are, at heart, morality plays (which seems a bit hokey given today's sensibilities), most held up remarkably well.
    Welcome to the fold. Yeah. I can pretty much watch a Western anytime. I have all the Mavericks on DVD, first season of Cheyenne, and before, Netflix lost Starz. I watched all the Have Gun, Will Travel's they had.

    The early Gunsmokes, before it went to the hour format, were very good. Matt Dillon was less of an icon and cut corners when practical. I remember one where Matt gets beaten to the draw by a badguy and essentially the bad guy has the run of the town until Matt recovers from his wound. In the meantime Matt figures out that the guy is all speed and relies on being very close. So when Matt goes after him he keeps his distance and the guy misses, but of course Matt does not.

    Bonanza did tackle modern issues such as environmentalism (the Cartwrights replanted the timber they took), racism. the 60's (a band western hippies descended on Virginia City and the townspeople weren't too friendly) and even drug addiction (Mike Farrell in a pre-MASH appearance, as a doctor addicted to morphine).

    When I was in Cody WY, I went to the Buffalo BIll Cody Museum. The gun exhibit has some guns from TV Westerns. I saw one of Palladin's Colts and Hoss Cartwright's Colt, as well.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    I've always thought classic cartoons have stood the test of time.
    Yeah, that's true, but the cartoons I remember loving so much as a kid are unwatchable. Voltron used to be sooooo cool!

    I've seen Twilight Zone listed here, and I agree. I can watch that for a couple hours at a time if they play the right episodes. My vote goes to the Three Stooges though. I laugh so hard everytime I see them!
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

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