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The New Classics


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#1 of 8 Sky Captain

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Posted April 14 2013 - 01:43 PM

An interesting article from a few years ago about what recent TV shows are `new classics` :

 

The New Classics



#2 of 8 Ejanss

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Posted April 14 2013 - 02:33 PM

Yeah, a few years ago.  (There's been an obsessive Internet geek-push by the producers and fan-club to bring Veronica Mars back, and most viewers don't even remember there was a UPN, let alone the series.)

 

Thing is, our culture has fallen so far away from TV, there don't seem to be "classics" anymore, just shows we temporarily get hooked on--A), for the thrill of having a favorite weekly show that we can actually look forward to on a certain day of the week, just like the old days, and B) because nobody's showing reruns, we've forgotten what it's like to have living-room comfort food.

(In my day, junior, we set the calendar by the TV:  Tuesdays was Happy Days, Thursdays was Cheers and Cosby, and that's how the world turned around!)

 

For all the momentary thrill of gathering at the water cooler to exchange secret passwords about Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, they just don't seem like shows we'd remember ten or twenty years later...Who watches the 80's Brideshead Revisited today?

I can never find a current series I like, so most of my Netflix viewing has been catching up on classic reruns--and by "classic" I mean Mission: Impossible and Columbo--and think we lost something from the idea of shows now wanting to be big budget cable cinematics and not comfort-food that invited itself into your living room.
For anything to be a New Classic, it has to root itself so far into our culture and speak to it that it can't be easily unrooted.  I can see Mad Men fitting the role (educating us about our 50's-60's sensibilities, and giving male viewers a restore idea of their missing identity), but Lost would have to come up with something more meaty than just artsy plotlines and geekdom.



#3 of 8 TravisR

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Posted April 14 2013 - 03:56 PM

For anything to be a New Classic, it has to root itself so far into our culture and speak to it that it can't be easily unrooted.

That's a really high standard. There's maybe 5 shows in the history of the medium that meet that criteria.

 

Looking at shows from the last decade or so, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Lost, Mad Men, The Sopranos and The Wire (arguably the best show ever made) will be held on the same pedestal as any other classic of an earlier time.



#4 of 8 The Obsolete Man

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Posted April 14 2013 - 04:07 PM

That's a really high standard. There's maybe 5 shows in the history of the medium that meet that criteria.

 

Looking at shows from the last decade or so, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Lost, Mad Men, The Sopranos and The Wire (arguably the best show ever made) will be held on the same pedestal as any other classic of an earlier time.

 

I'd say there will be more "classics" from this era that will hold up over time than there were from earlier eras.

 

Current shows, you seek them out if you want to watch them, and if they're no good you never have to encounter them again. It isn't like the old days, where you had 3 networks and watched whatever crap they put on the air.

 

Or, as was said earlier... it was comfort food, shoveled out in front of you. Now, you have to go looking for a piece of prime rib, and it's more satisfying in the end.

 

/that's not to say there still isn't plenty of crap on TV. And there are still "comfort food" shows, like NCIS or the various procedurials that you can catch on a specified night or 30 times per week in reruns. But you have to find the really good stuff.



#5 of 8 Jeff*H

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Posted April 14 2013 - 05:48 PM

I agree with many of Travis' picks for modern shows that will most likely stand the test of time due to their quality of writing, producing and acting.  I would also add ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT to that list, a show that was ahead of its time but is now finally getting its due recognition (considering DVD sales and streaming activity is through the roof, to the point where Netflix is reviving it for another season).

 

I think any show that has some quality behind it and becomes part of our water-cooler culture has a shot at longevity, but only the truly special shows that have a timeless quality to the writing and direction, and can be appreciated by any generation, will still be spoken of 20-30-50 years later.  Those are qualities that have made shows from previous eras such as PERRY MASON, GUNSMOKE, I LOVE LUCY, ANDY GRIFFITH, STAR TREK, TWILIGHT ZONE, MASH, and many many others so loved and appreciated even today.

 

Personally, I think the 80s and 90s were weaker in terms of delivering a large number of timeless shows, when compared to the 60s, 70s, and even the 00s, even though those 2 decades managed to deliver some gems as well.


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#6 of 8 Ejanss

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Posted April 14 2013 - 07:58 PM

That's a really high standard. There's maybe 5 shows in the history of the medium that meet that criteria.

 

Doesn't have to be "special", or even cinematically produced to become a "classic":

No one would've thought "kiddy" fare like Star Trek, Batman or The Monkees would become icons of their decade; everyone at the time was just focusing on, ooh, all the cool forbidden Vietnam jokes the Smothers Brothers were making.  Networks were grinding variety shows out like sausage in the 70's, what made Carol Burnett and The Muppet Show retire the jersey?  Why do we watch the newsroom humor of Mary Tyler Moore, but Murphy Brown hasn't aged well?  Why did Rob & Laura Petrie not seem like our stereotype of the "60's-sitcom" couple?

 

We're getting so Emmy-happy with our dreams of HBO and Showtime wiping the network shows out of existence, we've forgotten what makes a good show, and why it shouldn't always be the same thing as a movie. 

The free-channel audience has now balkanized itself into "Lost or American Idol", where network shows are either season-long overwritten serial arcs, or vaudevilles for non-union volunteers to be pushed onstage to dance, sing or compete.  There's no middle ground anymore for anyone to tell a good self-contained one hour story.  (The "serial arc", btw, barely even existed before Twin Peaks, and that only thought it was parodying the soap opera.)

Even the negative no-laughtrack snarkiness of Arrested Development and the Office has taken away our image of sitcoms as Cheers-like stage-comedy pieces--And trying to get them back in current artificial laughtrack CBS sitcoms has produced sour, robotic paeans to acting like irresponsible kidults.

 

TV was never the movies; twenty-five years ago, if you wanted to watch movies, movies were ON local stations, which is why the movies in theaters did a better job of minding their own high-quality business, and the networks minded their own pleasantly disposable hours and half-hours.  TV was meant to be what radio used to be before it--a half hour of something served up, so you'd watch the commercials--and had more of a place in our living rooms.


Edited by Ejanss, April 14 2013 - 08:26 PM.


#7 of 8 Sky Captain

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Posted April 14 2013 - 08:36 PM

Actually, the 1980`s and 1990`s had great TV shows:

 

1980's:

 

Wiseguy

 

Moonlighting

 

WKRP In Cincinnati

 

Hill Street Blues

 

St. Elsewhere

 

Dear John

 

Family Ties

 

M*A*S*H

 

Miami Vice

 

Murphy Brown

 

Night Court

 

Cheers

 

 

1990s:

 

In Living Color

 

Forever Knight

 

ER

 

Frasier

 

Quantum Leap

 

Babylon 5

 

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

 

Seinfeld

 

Wings

 

The X Files

 

Space: Above And Beyond

 

Freaks and Geeks

 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

 

Twin Peaks

 

Angel

 

Northern Exposure

 

The West Wing

 

Homicide: Life on the Street

 

My So-Called Life

 

Daria

 

Batman (1992 TV series)

 

The Powerpuff Girls



#8 of 8 nortius

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Posted April 16 2013 - 10:30 AM

Although any list of "great" shows is entirely subjective, and I agree with most of the shows you listed from the 90's, I would argue that two of the shows listed as 80's shows really belong to different eras.

 

M*A*S*H started in 1972, and spent 7.5 seasons in the 70's, and only 3.5 in the 80's, so I'd really have to call that a 70's show, much like Happy DaysWKRP also started in the 70's, but at least half of its 4 year run was in the 80's as well, so that one's more debatable.

 

Murphy Brown, although it started in 1988, spent the vast majority of its 10 year run in the 90's, so I'd lump that one in the list of your excellent 90's shows, to which I'd also add Highlander: The Series. Dear John also started in 1988, ending 4 years later, but as to which decade that one should be assigned, I think you make the correct call (although its a close one).

 

Sorry if it seems like I'm splitting hairs here, but I think my arguments are all reasonable.






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