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Your Favorite Decade for TV on DVD


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#1 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 11 2011 - 01:21 AM

The genesis for this thread came from comments in another one, the "Bewitched Season 8" thread (to be specific), concerning issues and ideologies.  As several posters were discussing certain aspects to that show the following comment was made:


In the 1950s, nobody was discussing things like "open marriages," or Women's Lib, or Civil Rights. Those things simply did not exist on television and you'd be called a pinko Commie scum if you even tried. But the mood in the country was sour enough that television by the late 60s had to react to what was happening in the real world. And I don't think the things on Bewitched were so much pushing a "liberal agenda" as they were pushing the envelope on the kinds of topics that could and should have been discussed on television. When I think of "Sisters at Heart," I don't see it as liberal. I see it as forward-thinking, as it introduces the concept of racial prejudice to children in a gentle and comedic way. TV should have been doing that kind of thing all along, but the 50s frankly sucked and fear ruled the day. That's the truth about the 50s. All the shows that aired prior to say, 1965 seem ignorant today simply because they had no choice but to play it safe. [bolded emphasis mine]



The original poster emphasized a couple of words, namely "sucked" and "truth", near the end of his paragraph.  And I emphasized another couple of words to point out something he raised.  All of this got me to thinking about which TV on DVD decade was represented the most in my collection, and which one I appreciated the most.  And the answers revolve around the comments made above.  And I'd love to hear not only what decade is best represented in other HTFers collections, but possibly why you think that decade is one you enjoy so much.


As most of the regulars here at HTF know, I'm a fan of vintage/classic TV on DVD.  By that I generally mean TV shows from the 50's and 60's.  I do have shows from the 70's and 80's that I enjoy.  And there are even one or two from the 90's in my collection.  But the vast, vast majority of my viewing is from the b/w and early color era of Television.  The largest portion of my collection is the 50's, with the 60's being right there as well.  Things definitely tail off dramatically after that, but as I said I do have some dvd sets that include shows from the 1970's - 2000's, but as each decade progresses closer to the 21st century, the dvds I own decrease in number. 


Therefore, the decade I enjoy the most is the 50's.  But the 60's is right there.  So it's a fairly easy call for me.


Why do I love the TV shows from the 50's and early to mid 60's more than those from the 70's and beyond?  It's not because I'm an old codger.  I was born in the mid 60's and would have been exposed mainly to 70's TV and beyond were it not for reruns in the afternoons and on weekends.  The reason I enjoy the older material comes back to the quoted section from above.  I completely disagree with the thought that TV in the 50's "sucked" for two reasons. 


Firstly, I don't agree that TV in the 50's was unreal or too idealistic.  For every individual that raises this objection to 50's TV, another who lived during that time will chime in and say that there really were some families that lived by the ideals of the Cleavers and Andersons (to name two well known TV families from that era).  So I disagree with the contention that 50's TV was entirely unrealistic in that sense.  And Paul Mavis sums this up perfectly in his review of an Ozzie & Harriet dvd set released from Shout a few years back.  I'm going to quote him liberally because he says what I feel, only he does it so much better than I could ever hope to:



Quote:
Watching the show today, I'm less interested in the reams of analysis and criticism that The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet generated (yes, 1950's TV was a land of conformity and blandness, with never a trace of strife, poverty, minorities or dissident thought; we've all heard that enough times), than in the manner in which this criticism and analysis was, and is, delivered. Invariably, analysis of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet comes from a negative perspective. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet lacked reality, they say. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet perpetrated a false worldview that was harmful to viewers, you may read. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet lied to us by presenting the Nelson family off screen and on screen as the exactly the same family, when no family could achieve the happiness and harmony of the on-screen Nelsons.


Frankly, I've never understood criticism like that, particularly when the analysis is thinly-veiled venom. There's a real sense of hatred coming off modern critics for The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, as well as other shows like it from 1950s TV Land; a mantra of disappointment and scorn at a business that could perpetrate such a phoney worldview on an innocent, unsuspecting, and most importantly from the critics' perspectives, gullible audience. Well, I've never cottoned to the idea that TV audiences are all that gullible. That's a conceit shared by ivory-tower intellectuals who like to think that the "common folk" are a little too common and a little too stupid to pick their own politics, their own religious beliefs, and their own TV shows. And along with that conceit comes their firm conviction that whatever the rubes see on the boob tube, they believe. They cite instance after instance of viewers coming up to actors like Rick Nelson, years after The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ended, sobbing that they couldn't match up their own families with the Nelsons -- that indeed, the show had hurt them. The critics, as Norman Bates would say, click their thick tongues, and ruefully conclude that a deceit was foisted on the public.


Where that venom comes from is anybody's guess (I suspect it stems from the same hatred in academia for anything perceived as "the norm," or "positive," or "traditional" -- or for anything so identifiably "American" as the Nelsons), but it usually blinds the critics to the other, more sensible side of the argument. Of course, these critics never detail the millions and millions of fans who would never approach Rick or creator Ozzie with a sob story like that, because they enjoyed the show for what it was: an idealized, simple comedy that proved a solid laugh-getter for audiences who only looked for that end result - and expected nothing more. No sociology, no politics, no mirror on their supposedly tortured souls. Those are the people that shook the real life Nelsons' hands, and said simply, "Thank you for a great, funny show."


Of course, the real irony of sociological and political TV analysis comes from critics who praise a "relevant" show such as One Day at a Time because it supposedly mirrored real life - and hence its enormous popularity -- and yet damn an equally popular show like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (which coincidentally doesn't match their politics ) as being somehow totally fake. If One Day at a Time was liked by most people because it was funny, and because they saw a slice of life that they recognized as true being portrayed on the small screen, why isn't the same true for a show like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet? It may come as a shock to some TV historians, but there were actual families like the Nelsons - and there still are. Of course, these families fight, and have crisis after crisis, and go broke, and have deaths in the family -- all the things you'll never see on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. But these real-life families also find true enjoyment in spending time with each other; they make efforts to be polite and considerate of each other, they have simple, lovely adventures of everyday life and living together, and they laugh with and at each other - just as the Nelsons do. And that's what audiences responded to in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for fourteen long years. Far from being science fiction, as most critics and historians would have you believe, the Nelson family embodied many of the traits and characteristics of social mores and practices that 1950s and early 1960s America actively strived for. They certainly didn't achieve the Nelson's results, but then again, the vast majority of the audience already knew they wouldn't. You see, they were just watching television, not real life.



Even if I did believe that 50's TV was too sanitized (for lack of a better word), it brings me to a second, and perhaps more pertinent, point: Is it really that bad to have TV shows portray a superior ideal beyond that which is common among us today?  Is it really a horrible thing if the characters we watch, purely for entertainment value by the way, encourage us to a higher level of living?  Who makes the decision that TV shows from that era "could" and "should" have addressed the topics quoted above from the Bewitched post?  It's entertainment - not the evening news!  Maybe some of us prefer our entertainment to be more relaxing.  Maybe some of us prefer to actually be entertained, and not lectured on the social issues of the day (as Norman Lear did), when we come home, sit down and turn on the TV after a long day (in an often cruel and depressing world).  I know I'd rather retreat to Mayberry than Archie Bunker's Queens, NY.  I'd rather take a half hour and enjoy the sites and sounds of Springfield with the Andersons than sit in the stuffy school rooms with Mr. Kotter.  I'd rather ride the open ranges with Paladin than sit in the same room with Maude and her big mouth.  Nope, it's not even close for me.  I'd rather the TV show I watch portray a place where I can escape from the garbage I deal with in this world every day.  I don't need to be reminded of it.  That's not what entertainment is all about for me.  And that's why I love 50's TV on DVD.



Gary "just my two cents" O.


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#2 of 129 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 11 2011 - 02:30 AM

While I'm sure few here will agree with me, the last decade of TV was the best for the medium since the 1950's and maybe even ever. Yes, there was plenty of reality TV lowest common denominator junk but the decade also had some of the best dramas ever made. As for the shows of the 1950's and 1960's being bad because they nearly excluded all minorities or because they didn't typically address problems in society, I don't agree with that. A good show is a good show. I have watched shows with predominantly black casts that are good because of the writing, acting, directing, etc. but I've never seen a show where I thought it was good because the cast had minorities in it. And I like to see shows that try to address society's problems (getting people talk about problems is the first step to fixing them) but there's nothing wrong with a show that just wants to be entertaining and tries to be a pleasant show with pleasant people.

#3 of 129 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted August 11 2011 - 02:54 AM

It depends on what type of show we're talking about. For comedies, I think that the 1960s were the best, especially if I can include some shows like Leave it to Beaver that began at the tail end of the 1950s. I think that the period from 1958 to 1968 was probably the best television comedies ever got. At that time, they seemed to have absorbed the lessions of I Love Lucy and Bilko and were extremely creative. For the 1970s, I like The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and WKRP. Overall, I think that the success of All in the Family killed situation comedies in the 1970s. With a few exceptions, they all seemed to reflect the desire to be relevant. As a result, they were often either not funny or downright depressing, and many of them are extremely dated today. Of the many Norman Lear produced shows, Sandford and Son tried the least to be relevant, and as a result, holds up the best today (it also seems to have done the best on DVD). Even when 1960s shows are dealing with then topical material like hippies, they did it in such a light hearted way that I think that they still work. On the other hand, when it comes to police/mystery type shows, I think the early to mid 1970s were the best. Universal Studios, especially, was very prolific then. Although they started in the late 1960s, Columbo and Hawaii Five-O are two of my favorite shows, and McCloud, Quincy M.E., Bionic Woman, and The Rockford Files are terrific. Although it did not even last a full season, when I watch Kolchak, The Night Stalker, I am amazed at how well it holds up. I have watched every episode numerous times, an I still find them entertaining. Regarding the shows you mention, the book Sitcoms: The 101 Greatest TV Comedies of All Time calls Ann Romano from One Day at a Time, "one of the most annoying television characters ever." Indeed.

#4 of 129 OFFLINE   bretmaverick2

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Posted August 11 2011 - 05:32 AM

You know, I had to think about this. Pretty much varies. For westerns it is definately the 50s/early 60s. For detective type dramas, 70ish (Mannix, Rockford Files) Comedy is a wide spectrum - Cheers (80s), Boston Legal (2000s), and a host of others.

#5 of 129 OFFLINE   Richard V

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Posted August 11 2011 - 06:42 AM

Mine is definitely the 50's and early 60's. I have almost nothing in my collection from the 70's, and only a handful of 80's, 90's, and 00's. I absolutely love the westerns and cop/PI shows from the 50's, 60's (The Rifleman, Wyatt Earp, Maverick, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Lawman, Wagon Train, The Virginian, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, Bourbon St. Beat, Johnny Staccato, Peter Gunn)
See you at the pah-ty, Richter.

#6 of 129 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted August 11 2011 - 07:08 AM

I have series spanning the decades, with at least a couple of shows for every season from 1955-2010, but the most represented decade is probably the '70s, with the '60s not far behind. For demographic purposes, I was born in 1975.


As for the larger issues raised...I think social relevance in television is worthwhile, but not every show is designed to support it, nor should every show do so. Every great show has its own perspective and mix of ingredients that makes it unique. In some cases that includes social commentary, in other cases broader reflections on the human condition, and in still others pure escapism. For example, two comedies I admire a lot: All in the Family and Green Acres. They are as different as they can be, but each one is very successful at accomplishing its purpose. To look at it another way, any story taken from either of those shows would either be unusable or require a LOT of rewriting to appear on any other show.


The '50s do get a bad rap as far as I'm concerned because there are many television comedies from the era that are extremely sharp and funny, with characterizations that are utterly real, even if some of the situations aren't. The Honeymooners may be the greatest comedy series of all time, but whether or not one is a fan, it's hard to call it "bland"! And while it lacks a political message, it does have a lot to say about human relationships. The Phil Silvers Show, The Jack Benny Show, Burns and Allen, among others, are free of almost any social awareness whatsoever, but they still command attention because they each focus on a character who is fully realized and unlike other comedy characters. The shows from the era that appeal to me less are the ones that feel more generic, without a unique character or particular point of view. Of course, these opinions are purely subjective and fans of the other shows probably see things in them that I don't. But, to revisit my earlier test, I really do feel that they could have sold an Ozzie and Harriet script to Father Knows Best and not had to stay up all night reworking it. They were usually pleasant, rather than funny. Leave It To Beaver does vary the theme of the suburban family sitcom a little, by being so squarely from the kids' perspective rather than the adults'. Moving into the early '60s, those family comedies outlasted the others. Leonard Stern told a funny story about being offered a job at Screen Gems in the early '60s but being told not to put in too much "funny stuff". He was confused and asked to make sure that he was being offered a job on a comedy series. The executive said, "Yes, but we don't have anybody who can be funny." It's no coincidence that those shows were never filmed with an audience. The Dick Van Dyke Show was a major achievement not only for combining domestic and workplace comedy for the first time in television, but for combining the two earlier styles as well; it centered on a simple and recognizable suburban family, but the characters were still vividly drawn and usually the source of the humor. Gary mentioned Mayberry and I think The Andy Griffith Show, with an entirely different tone and approach, did the same thing. The town was certainly idealized, but the people all seemed so real and the humor came from the way they interacted with each other, as it does in real life. (Sheldon Leonard seems to have had a signature style.) Neither show addressed political issues directly, but they did start to introduce some broader, non-partisan satire into a few scripts, as when Rob Petrie runs for office and is horrified to find he is clobbering the much more qualified, but less personable, candidate.


The mid to late '60s brought the high concept comedies into vogue and they didn't especially lend themselves to social criticism. Some (like Green Acres, Batman, and Get Smart) made some satirical points in the course of their absurdism and had characters who were inherently funny, but in most cases, the humor came from the situations themselves, rather than recognizable relationships or a basis in real world experience. But when Bewitched (and in a completely different way, Room 222) started incorporating social issues, they were catching up to what dramas had been doing for some time already. There were series like The Defenders (very commercially successful) and East Side, West Side (less so), tackling issues clearly and directly, even more so than the old anthology dramas had done. But there were also dramas that raised real world issues in more oblique ways like Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits looking in one direction and dramas like Have Gun, Will Travel looking in the other. Gary also mentioned the latter series as being more fun than listening to Maude Findlay. It may have been, but it was certainly making some points about real life in its time. (In fact, Richard Boone was initially very reluctant to make it a western; he wanted it to be the story of a man solving problems in contemporary times.) None of those shows were issuing political messages all the time. Sometimes they did character pieces or explored larger philosophical questions. Still, I think all those shows were artistic successes and they would have been poorer without that one additional ingredient of social commentary. There were also riveting dramas that had little social commentary (The Fugitive) or absolutely none at all (Mission: Impossible). Dramas had long felt the flexibility to incorporate political realities if appropriate, but it wasn't until 1969 or 1970 that comedies started to exercise the same decision-making power.


All in the Family was certainly a game-changer, whether you love it or hate it. But there was never a moment, even at the height of its success, when its style dominated television comedy. I would argue that far and away the more influential series was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Like All in the Family, it placed well-defined characters in situations where they could conflict with one another and with outsiders, but almost all of its social commentary was implied rather than stated. (There are a few exceptions and they are not the best-remembered episodes of the show.) MTM existed in a real world of human behavior, but rarely one of political or social current events. (The joke among the writers on Maude was, "Uh oh. We did a two-parter on abortion, but did you hear what they have planned on Mary Tyler Moore? A three-parter on mayonnaise!") All in the Family had its Yorkin-Lear spin-offs and cousins in its camp, plus M*A*S*H, but very few other shows used the social criticism tactic. MTM (and The Odd Couple, which premiered the same week), on the other hand, have yielded Barney Miller (really the only one to mix the two styles at all successfully), Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and most any comedy you can name in the last 40 years. Again, I liked All in the Family's and Maude's use of political dialogue because it belonged there. Those characters should and would have those arguments. They would have no place on Cheers, for example, and that series was true to itself and never put them in. Dramas continued to have the flexibility they always enjoyed. Shows like Lou Grant, Quincy, M.E., The West Wing, etc. were very direct in examining and commenting on social affairs. Others, like Hill Street Blues touched on them more obliquely, and many don't acknowledge the outside world at all.


Now that I have run on far too long, I just have to add that quality is still the most important factor of all. Comedy or drama, relevant or escapist, the show has to be entertaining and engaging. To borrow Ray's example, I always hated One Day At A Time, not because it was topical, but because it was lousy.







#7 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 11 2011 - 07:34 AM

Excellent posts all the way around.  Lee, I agree that many of the shows from the 50's and 60's still told significant stories and often addressed concerns of the day.  There's no denying that.  Have Gun, Will Travel is a great example.  And I love that show.  There was no attempt on my part to try and paint with too broad a brush.  Like Mr. Mavis, I was only responding to the argument that 50's TV was bland or cowardly because it didn't generally major on social and political issues of the day in the same way many 70's shows did.


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#8 of 129 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted August 11 2011 - 07:53 AM

For comedies, I say the 50s wins hands down. So many classic sitcoms from that decade, too many to name here. Other than Dick Van Dyke, I can't think of any GREAT sitcom on DVD from the 60s. There were some other great ones, like He and She, Occasional Wife and Love on a Rooftop but none of them has a chance for a release. However, for dramas, the 60s is by far in the lead. The best dramas in the 50s were the anthology series, none of which are available, save for the odd episode here and there. The filmed, non-western series either were the cookie cutter, bland Warner Brothers detective series or cheapo syndicated shows like Ziv and MCA were churning out. The really good filmed dramas didn't really begin until the 60s with Naked City, The Fugitive, Combat and many, many others. I do like socially relevant dramas but I don't have use for the relevancy being used in sitcoms. People who criticize the 50s sitcoms as being unrealistic miss the point. They weren't supposed to be depicting life as it was but rather how we wished it was. Loving, kind and attentive parents, a nice, clean house for a home, safe streets, neighborhoods and schools. I didn't have the good fortune to grow up with any of those things but it was still nice to see them on television. Just because my father was closer to Homer Simpson than he was to Ward Cleaver didn't mean that that was what I needed to see growing up. Just the opposite. I like the bleak realism of East Side West Side but that doesn't mean I want to see it in a sitcom.

#9 of 129 OFFLINE   MCCLOUD

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Posted August 11 2011 - 08:14 AM

Great Thread Gary and Other Posters! My favorite decade is defintely the 1970's. I was born in 1965. I also really enjoy the 1960's too. To me shows from the 1960's and 1970's are what I enjoy and watch the most. The 1970's are my favorite. So many great PI and Cop Shows -- Cannon, The Streets Of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, MCCLOUD, Columbo, McMillan And Wife, The Rockford Files, Cade's County, Kojak--and airing in the 1960's with most of their run in the 1970's Adam-12, Ironside, Mannix, and Hawaii Five-O along with The FBI with a good deal of its run in the 1970's. Three of my all time favorite sitcoms aired in the 1970's-- Sanford And Son, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and MASH. I am in complete agreement with another poster on this thread-- Kolchak The Night Stalker is one of my favorite all time series. Also, many other shows I like such as Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew, Quincy, Emergency!, and The Six Million Dollar Man. For me, this is television at its best! Take Care! Robert

#10 of 129 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted August 11 2011 - 08:17 AM

IMO the 60s and 70s RULED. :D Followed by the 1950s, the 1980s, then the 1990s. Things have really gone downhill since 2000. :(

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#11 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 11 2011 - 08:19 AM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Neil Brock 

People who criticize the 50s sitcoms as being unrealistic miss the point. They weren't supposed to be depicting life as it was but rather how we wished it was. Loving, kind and attentive parents, a nice, clean house for a home, safe streets, neighborhoods and schools. I didn't have the good fortune to grow up with any of those things but it was still nice to see them on television. Just because my father was closer to Homer Simpson than he was to Ward Cleaver didn't mean that that was what I needed to see growing up.


That's very well said, Neil.  There's no doubt that dramas lend themselves to dealing with social issues much better than sitcoms do.  I'm not quite as hard on dramas from the 50's that you are, but I get the point you are making.  I actually like some of the ZIV shows, like Waterfront, Highway Patrol, Sea Hunt, and my latest discovery, Harbor Command.  But I can't deny the 60's put out some incredible dramas.



Gary "while I'm not ready to say The Dick Van Dyke Show was the only great 60's sitcom* (I like TAGS and My Three Sons, among many others, a lot), I do agree that the 50's had many great ones" O.



*I personally always classify which decade a TV show is a part of by when it began airing.  So I place shows like LITB, Dennis the Menace, Dobie Gillis and the Donna Reed Show in the 50's category, not the 60's.


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#12 of 129 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted August 11 2011 - 08:46 AM

    .

 

 

Gary "while I'm not ready to say The Dick Van Dyke Show was the only great 60's sitcom* (I like TAGS and My Three Sons, among many others, a lot), .

Forgot about TAGS. I'd include Get Smart as well.

#13 of 129 OFFLINE   ChrisALM

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Posted August 11 2011 - 09:04 AM

The shows from the 50's and 60's are the by far the best imho. The 70's had some good shows early on, as well as some that carried over from the 60's, but as that decade went on, I have far less interest. For the 80's and 90's, I can pick a few shows here and there. Since 2000, I can't think of any.





#14 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 11 2011 - 01:28 PM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeDoakes 

It depends on what type of show we're talking about.

This is an excellent observation, and one that others posting after you followed.



Originally Posted by bretmaverick2 

You know, I had to think about this. Pretty much varies.

For westerns it is definately the 50s/early 60s.

For detective type dramas, 70ish (Mannix, Rockford Files)

Comedy is a wide spectrum - Cheers (80s), Boston Legal (2000s), and a host of others.


Originally Posted by Richard V 

Mine is definitely the 50's and early 60's. I have almost nothing in my collection from the 70's, and only a handful of 80's, 90's, and 00's. I absolutely love the westerns and cop/PI shows from the 50's, 60's (The Rifleman, Wyatt Earp, Maverick, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Lawman, Wagon Train, The Virginian, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, Bourbon St. Beat, Johnny Staccato, Peter Gunn)


Great divisions, guys.  If I take my favorite genres, I'd look at the decades like this:


Sitcoms - 50's, with the 60's not far behind.

Dramas - 60's

Westerns - 50's

Detectives/Mysteries - 70's

Sci-Fi - 60's, with the 70's coming in second.

Family - 50's (here I'm thinking about shows like Lassie and Fury)



Originally Posted by FanCollector 

Now that I have run on far too long, I just have to add that quality is still the most important factor of all. Comedy or drama, relevant or escapist, the show has to be entertaining and engaging.


Absolutely.  That can't ever be overlooked and there's no question that each decade represented in my collection owes its success primarily to quality.



Originally Posted by MCCLOUD 

Great Thread Gary and Other Posters! My favorite decade is defintely the 1970's. I was born in 1965. I also really enjoy the 1960's too. To me shows from the 1960's and 1970's are what I enjoy and watch the most. The 1970's are my favorite. So many great PI and Cop Shows -- Cannon, The Streets Of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, MCCLOUD, Columbo, McMillan And Wife, The Rockford Files, Cade's County, Kojak--and airing in the 1960's with most of their run in the 1970's Adam-12, Ironside, Mannix, and Hawaii Five-O along with The FBI with a good deal of its run in the 1970's. Three of my all time favorite sitcoms aired in the 1970's-- Sanford And Son, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and MASH. I am in complete agreement with another poster on this thread-- Kolchak The Night Stalker is one of my favorite all time series. Also, many other shows I like such as Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew, Quincy, Emergency!, and The Six Million Dollar Man. For me, this is television at its best!

Take Care!

Robert


I was born in the same year you were, Robert.  And although I gravitate strongly toward the 50's and 60's, there were some great shows in the 70's.  Many of your favorites are favorites of mine as well.  Especially the Cop and Private Eye shows!  The 70's certainly cranked out plenty of classics in that genre.



Originally Posted by ChrisALM 

The shows from the 50's and 60's are the by far the best imho. The 70's had some good shows early on, as well as some that carried over from the 60's, but as that decade went on, I have far less interest. For the 80's and 90's, I can pick a few shows here and there. Since 2000, I can't think of any.


Ultimately there is where my tastes fall as well, Chris.  I'd be interested in why you prefer the 50's and 60's.  What is it about the shows in those two decades that make you feel they are the best?



Gary "thanks to all the contributors in this thread" O.


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#15 of 129 OFFLINE   HenryDuBrow

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Posted August 12 2011 - 06:39 AM

It's just a few years ago I started to explore 1950s TV stuff on DVD and was glad to see how brilliant a lot of it is, very happy about that because I'd heard all the crap about that decade being the worst ever, blah blah. Grace Slick hates it, but then it can't be too bad can it. I even enjoy the early sitcoms like My Little Margie a good deal. In fact, I think overall the 1950s probably beat the 1960s for television, with top shows like Have Gun Will Travel and The Untouchables both having their origins in the late 1950s, I'd say those two are among some of the best television shows ever. I know they continued into the early 1960s, but in attitude still 1950s shows. And while things like Hawaii Five-O and Mannix are great, especially the latter, I don't think they can touch the best stories of the 1950s. Same with The Fugitive, for that matter. I tend to think of those first two shows more as 1960s for some reason than 1970s, even though they went way into that decade. Maybe fashion and clothes is an issue as well, conservative 1960s fashions never really appealed much to me and did seem to last longer in American society than European for instance. 1966 is my year, so it's mainly 1970s TV I grew up on and 1980s, I would say the 1970s overall is my preferred decade for both drama, comedy and crime. The Waltons, WKRP In Cincinnati and Harry O top the list in those genres. WKRP we may never see as it's intended to be seen sadly, but it's the decade's cream of the comedy crop to me even before M.A.S.H. Right now I'm heavily into the excellent Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, the 1960s series is so much better than the film. The decade in television of least interest for me is the last one, then the 1990s close behind, with very few exceptions acting or storytelling of little appeal to me. The key is imagination not identification.

#16 of 129 OFFLINE   DaveHof

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Posted August 12 2011 - 07:30 AM

My favorite decade is the '70s for TV, because of the happy childhood memories it evokes. But I'm also very fond of '50s television and agree with the comments in this thread - particularly the quotes from Paul Mavis in his 'Ozzie and Harriet' review. I have but one thing to add, as it's related to this topic and has always frustrated me. That's the perception that some people embrace the '50s sitcoms because they depict life as we wish it to be - and this is not a reference to happy families and safe neighborhoods, but a reference to living in a world without blacks, gays, Jews, etc. There is actually more racial and ethnic diversity in many of the '50s shows than their critics will acknowledge, but aside from that there is also a thinly-veiled suggestion that our idealized TV families of the '50s would not react well if a black family moved next door, because they are so often associated with traditional, Conservative political beliefs – which some find synonymous with racist. I think nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing that we know about Jim Anderson or Ozzie Nelson that would indicate this to be the case. And while I am absolutely fine that we never got an episode where Betty Anderson got drunk and pregnant, I don't see why the reaction of her family would be any less loving and supportive than it would be in the episodes where she had to be consoled over a bad date or a low grade on a test. These shows may never have confronted many of the real-world problems that existed then and now, but they still provide an admirable example of how to cope with challenges. I see as much tolerance and acceptance in these shows, albeit expressed more gently, than in the more socially-provocative TV of the '70s.

#17 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 12 2011 - 07:53 AM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveHof 

My favorite decade is the '70s for TV, because of the happy childhood memories it evokes. But I'm also very fond of '50s television and agree with the comments in this thread - particularly the quotes from Paul Mavis in his 'Ozzie and Harriet' review.

I have but one thing to add, as it's related to this topic and has always frustrated me. That's the perception that some people embrace the '50s sitcoms because they depict life as we wish it to be - and this is not a reference to happy families and safe neighborhoods, but a reference to living in a world without blacks, gays, Jews, etc. There is actually more racial and ethnic diversity in many of the '50s shows than their critics will acknowledge, but aside from that there is also a thinly-veiled suggestion that our idealized TV families of the '50s would not react well if a black family moved next door, because they are so often associated with traditional, Conservative political beliefs – which some find synonymous with racist. I think nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing that we know about Jim Anderson or Ozzie Nelson that would indicate this to be the case.

And while I am absolutely fine that we never got an episode where Betty Anderson got drunk and pregnant, I don't see why the reaction of her family would be any less loving and supportive than it would be in the episodes where she had to be consoled over a bad date or a low grade on a test. These shows may never have confronted many of the real-world problems that existed then and now, but they still provide an admirable example of how to cope with challenges. I see as much tolerance and acceptance in these shows, albeit expressed more gently, than in the more socially-provocative TV of the '70s.


Fantastic post, David.  Posted Image   I'm in full agreement with your sentiments and conclusions.



Gary "thanks for contributing" O.


"Do not challenge supernatural unless armed with sword of truth"
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#18 of 129 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted August 12 2011 - 10:04 AM

And while I am absolutely fine that we never got an episode where Betty Anderson got drunk and pregnant, I don't see why the reaction of her family would be any less loving and supportive than it would be in the episodes where she had to be consoled over a bad date or a low grade on a test. These shows may never have confronted many of the real-world problems that existed then and now, but they still provide an admirable example of how to cope with challenges. I see as much tolerance and acceptance in these shows, albeit expressed more gently, than in the more socially-provocative TV of the '70s.

Betty Anderson or Mary Stone wouldn't have gotten drunk and pregnant. People had better morals then and poor behavior wasn't accepted then as it is now. When was the last time you heard the term, "unwed mother"? Every type of behavior now is de-stigmatized which leads to lower morals. So, instead of TV depicting better behavior for people to aspire to, it now copies real life and shows the same bad behavior that exists. Not sure how that's considered a step up. I don't necessarily want to see real life to that degree on my TV shows. If I cared that much about real life then I would be outside having one instead of watching TV. :laugh:

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Posted August 12 2011 - 12:00 PM

1970s.



#20 of 129 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted August 12 2011 - 12:36 PM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Neil Brock 

Betty Anderson or Mary Stone wouldn't have gotten drunk and pregnant. People had better morals then and poor behavior wasn't accepted then as it is now. When was the last time you heard the term, "unwed mother"? Every type of behavior now is de-stigmatized which leads to lower morals. So, instead of TV depicting better behavior for people to aspire to, it now copies real life and shows the same bad behavior that exists. Not sure how that's considered a step up. I don't necessarily want to see real life to that degree on my TV shows. If I cared that much about real life then I would be outside having one instead of watching TV. Posted Image


Bravo, Neil.  That's a fantastic post!  Posted Image


There's no doubt in my mind that what you've written is 100% correct.  As I said above, give me Mayberry or another similar setting from the 50's over the "reality" of today's TV.



Gary "take care" O.


"Do not challenge supernatural unless armed with sword of truth"
                                             ...CHARLIE CHAN AT TREASURE ISLAND