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Why "Classic" TV DVD?


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#1 of 65 JamesSmith

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Posted September 23 2013 - 05:52 AM

Dear Guys:

 

I have acquaintances that wonder why I have an interest in "old" tv shows, and I was wondering if I could throw it out to some of you.

 

For myself, there are several reasons, one is "missed episodes." Back in the old days, before VCR's, if one had to be else where during a tv program, one missed it, and one couldn't count on repeat schedules to always know when the rerun would be on. Again, if one missed the rerun, than you missed the rerun as well.

 

Back in the mid-seventies, I missed an episode of the Hunter tv series (starring Linda Evans) that I really wanted to see. As luck would have it, it got cancelled and than I never got to see a rerun, when I missed the premiere showing due to going to a Billings Hospital.

 

Funny aside. Just a few years ago, in a precursor to WB INstant, it had the Hunter episode available, but the ending of the episode cut out.

 

Sigh. My foolish family believed that going to church, and visiting one's grandparents were more important than seeing television programs. Can you believe that argument? I'm sure that all the people at hometheaterforum.com know what's important in life?

 

P.S. All the good programs were on Sunday and Wednesday nights, when "we" had to be at church.

 

Anyway, with classic TV coming out on DVD, it gives me a chance to see those episodes that I missed. Did any of you have reasons like that.

 

A second one is nostalgia. Do any of you want to see these programs for an adult perspective? To see if they were just good fourty years later than when you saw them. There are films and tv shows I saw as a child I could not figure out what was going on that I couldn't understand. Now, as an adult I've figured out what "surrealism" and "dream sequences" are about. As well as snatches of dialogue that explaned something about the plot.

 

For example, how many of you noticed adults laughing when  the Adam West Batman and Burt Ward Robin were trying to get out of various death traps, but you were watching (as a five year old kid) was watching it intently to see if the Caped Crusader was trying to save the day?

 

Questions: Was television really better back than? Or it nostalgia?

 

James


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#2 of 65 TravisR

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Posted September 23 2013 - 06:11 AM

Questions: Was television really better back than? Or it nostalgia?

There were great TV shows 65 years ago and there's great TV shows today. It really comes down to a matter of preference and while nostalgia plays a part in that, I think it all comes down to what each viewer enjoys. Some people only like older shows, some people only like modern shows and some people just like a good show regardless of when it was made. It's silly to think that in 1979 (or whatever random date someone dreams up) that they just lost the ability to make good TV shows.


Edited by TravisR, September 23 2013 - 06:13 AM.


#3 of 65 Jack P

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Posted September 23 2013 - 06:15 AM

Sigh. My foolish family believed that going to church, and visiting one's grandparents were more important than seeing television programs. Can you believe that argument?

 

Um....yes.    Because there are some of us who no matter how much our love of classic TV still think higher priorities in life beyond that of TV should be given precedence.


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#4 of 65 Richard V

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Posted September 23 2013 - 06:26 AM

I just like to find old TV series that I either remember fondly, e.g. The Twilight Zone, or was too young to really appreciate, e.g. "The Defenders, East Side/West Side", and finally to watch shows that were just a little before my time, e.g. Trackdown, San Francisco Beat, The Californians.


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#5 of 65 HenryDuBrow

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Posted September 23 2013 - 07:03 AM

The storytelling and narrative of the old shows appeal to me more, than modern day television that seems to be all about emotions and 'an idea' often resulting in less plot. Not to mention, the galaxy of great actors and character faces that's sadly a rarity now.



#6 of 65 Ejanss

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Posted September 23 2013 - 07:06 AM

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TV was better back then, in a way, because it KNEW what it was.  It wasn't the movies, and it wasn't radio.

Growing up in the 70's, the studios literally thought the Hollywood system was dying, and old stars of the 50's were now happy to find work as Columbo suspects or Love Boat passengers, or doctor-drama patients.  Sitcoms were like a half-hour of one-set stage comedies, and watching a rerun of the Odd Couple or MASH could be like getting a bit of Neil Simon or Larry Gelbart without leaving the house.  Variety entertainers weren't struggling anonymous amateurs waiting to be judged or "handed" stardom; Dean Martin could come out on stage, do a song, and pretend to be buddies with the variety host, and that was as close to seeing him on a Vegas stage as you could get.  TV could even be local, with local city news, your own school on the Quiz Bowl show, or getting that ticket as a kid to see the local Bozo in person.

In the old days of vaudeville, you could go to your local Palladium, see a one-act play, a comedian, a famous singer, an amateur dancer, and a trained-dog act, all for fifty cents, and in 1910, it was probably the only entertainment in town.  Before VCR, cable, satellite and tablet, where we now choose our movies and TV franchises and parent-corporations fight to sell them to us, TV was our vaudeville, the only entertainment in town besides the high-falutin' movies; giving us anything every night for the price of having it interrupted by a laundry-detergent commercial.

 

Compare this to today, where TV has access to the same flashy editing and CGI effects, and ABC's Once Upon A Time advertises itself as "It's like going to the movies, every week!

There's something we and TV has lost in that philosophy, and it's the same thing we lost when TV Guide started to be more interested in telling us what the American Idol stars were up to than in telling us it was on every Sunday night--When we stopped looking at the calendar to see what day of the week it was, that was the day TV finally trivialized itself out of our culture.


Edited by Ejanss, September 23 2013 - 07:39 AM.

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#7 of 65 Richard V

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Posted September 23 2013 - 07:50 AM

^^^^^    :thumbs-up-smiley:  :thumbs-up-smiley:


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#8 of 65 Neil Brock

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Posted September 23 2013 - 08:45 AM

I vote Ejanss post as post of the year.



#9 of 65 smithbrad

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Posted September 23 2013 - 08:50 AM

There were great TV shows 65 years ago and there's great TV shows today. It really comes down to a matter of preference and while nostalgia plays a part in that, I think it all comes down to what each viewer enjoys. Some people only like older shows, some people only like modern shows and some people just like a good show regardless of when it was made. It's silly to think that in 1979 (or whatever random date someone dreams up) that they just lost the ability to make good TV shows.

 

As you pointed out, what constitutes being a good TV show is highly subjective and based on personal preference. So on a per individual basis it isn't so much that they lost the ability to make a good show, but that thay just chose not to, and to what degree that is true depends on the individual.

 

Just like most things, TV follows patterns of what is popular and sells at any given time. In any decade of TV it is easy to identify what was successful and popular, and if it doesn't meet with one's approval...well than they are going to think that period of time did not make good TV.

 

Now obviously not all TV follows the same common patterns in a given period of time, so it is possible for a person to find something in any decade that fits their idea of a good show. But are they willing to expend the time to find those diamonds in the rough when they can more easily just pick a period of time where they've had so much success.

 

The interesting thing about the last decade, is that anyone can pretty much amass a library of entertainment that meets their specific goals without a lot of effort (of course some started out long ago but it was more costly and more of a niche hobby back then). No longer being held to what airs and when, many on here seem more content with what they own and the freedom it provides. As a result, they can pretty much draw a line in the sand and say (for them) they stopped making good shows after ????



#10 of 65 Neil Brock

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Posted September 23 2013 - 09:05 AM

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I remember in a class in High School learning the difference between objective and subjective. What's good is subjective and is up to the individual. A great quote I remember, "matters of taste can't be disputed". And that's what TV shows are, a matter of your individual taste. Viewers now must want all of their comedies to be mostly sex jokes and their dramas to be as gory as possible. Neither interests me but I'm not in the 18-35 range they cater to so my viewership isn't desired anyway. I can get along fine without modern TV and TV can get along fine without me.


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#11 of 65 JoeDoakes

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Posted September 23 2013 - 09:22 AM

The interesting thing about the last decade, is that anyone can pretty much amass a library of entertainment that meets their specific goals without a lot of effort (of course some started out long ago but it was more costly and more of a niche hobby back then). No longer being held to what airs and when, many on here seem more content with what they own and the freedom it provides. As a result, they can pretty much draw a line in the sand and say (for them) they stopped making good shows after ????

I grew up as  a heavy television watcher, and I watched a lot of prime time network programming.  Around the mid-1980s, I lost interest in network programming.  It seemed like, for the most part, the sense of fun had gone out of it. 



#12 of 65 bryan4999

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Posted September 23 2013 - 09:23 AM

For me, I love classic TV shows because they are like old friends. Video comfort food. Sometimes an episode of Lucy or Bewitched or That Girl just warms me up inside. I feel that way about movies, too.

 

 

I remember in a class in High School learning the difference between objective and subjective. What's good is subjective and is up to the individual. A great quote I remember, "matters of taste can't be disputed". And that's what TV shows are, a matter of your individual taste. Viewers now must want all of their comedies to be mostly sex jokes and their dramas to be as gory as possible. Neither interests me but I'm not in the 18-35 range they cater to so my viewership isn't desired anyway. I can get along fine without modern TV and TV can get along fine without me.

 

This is so true. I enjoy "The Big Bang Theory" because I like the characters, and a lot of the situations are really clever and funny. But there is a least one vulgar joke every scene, and there is literally no episode without the word "penis". Now, there is nothing wrong with that word, and it does not offend me, per se, but c'mon, every episode? And I just laugh when I think that Lucy could not use the word "pregnant" and NBC thought that "sensitive viewers" might be offended by Jeannie's belly button.


Edited by bryan4999, September 23 2013 - 09:26 AM.


#13 of 65 Regulus

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Posted September 23 2013 - 09:38 AM

I remember in a class in High School learning the difference between objective and subjective. What's good is subjective and is up to the individual. A great quote I remember, "matters of taste can't be disputed". And that's what TV shows are, a matter of your individual taste. Viewers now must want all of their comedies to be mostly sex jokes and their dramas to be as gory as possible. Neither interests me but I'm not in the 18-35 range they cater to so my viewership isn't desired anyway. I can get along fine without modern TV and TV can get along fine without me.

Seconded!

 

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#14 of 65 jcroy

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Posted September 23 2013 - 10:20 AM

I grew up as  a heavy television watcher, and I watched a lot of prime time network programming.  Around the mid-1980s, I lost interest in network programming.  It seemed like, for the most part, the sense of fun had gone out of it. 

 

Same here, though slightly later.  I lost interest in network television sometime in the mid-late 1980's.

 

Most of the tv shows I was regularly watching were more or less ending by then, like Magnum PI, Simon & Simon, The A-Team, Miami Vice, Airwolf, etc ...  A few shows which continued their runs into the early 1990's, I more or less stopped watching by the late-1980's, like MacGyver, Hunter, etc ...

 

I didn't latch on to really any subsequent network tv shows afterward.  (With the exception of Silk Stalkings).  Subsequently for almost the next two decades or so, I was largely ignorant of then-current scripted television shows.



#15 of 65 jcroy

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Posted September 23 2013 - 10:27 AM

This may sound silly and egotistical in hindsight, but over the entire 1990's and early->mid 2000's, I took great pride and frequently bragged (to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers) about being a complete ignoramus when it came to then-current television shows.



#16 of 65 TravisR

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Posted September 23 2013 - 10:33 AM

This is so true. I enjoy "The Big Bang Theory" because I like the characters, and a lot of the situations are really clever and funny. But there is a least one vulgar joke every scene, and there is literally no episode without the word "penis". Now, there is nothing wrong with that word, and it does not offend me, per se, but c'mon, every episode? And I just laugh when I think that Lucy could not use the word "pregnant" and NBC thought that "sensitive viewers" might be offended by Jeannie's belly button.

While I'm a big proponent of modern TV but I think you're right about many/most network sitcoms. I certainly don't mind a 'dirty' joke or profanity but network sitcoms are just filled with sex jokes that are supposed to be risqué or shocking and they're really just lame.



#17 of 65 Ejanss

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Posted September 23 2013 - 10:37 AM

This may sound silly and egotistical in hindsight, but over the entire 1990's and early->mid 2000's, I took great pride and frequently bragged (to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers) about being a complete ignoramus when it came to then-current television shows.

 

I'm in the same boat--I have a terror and phobia of watching any current series that's talked about, as there must be something "wrong" with it.

I have Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Dexter, Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey perfectly available on my Netflix/Hulu, and yet I can't actually bring myself to watch them, as I'm afraid they'll just play up some shallow, petty, psychological reason a lot of 00's folks born after 1983 are so hooked on talking about them--I usually end up being more cynical that folks who grew up in the age of "Cable A La Carte" are just now psychologically hooked on the ACT of having a favorite show every week, and the power of serialized storytelling (what happened to the characters next, storyteller?), than in the show's quality of being one of the Next Great Series.

(Even today, the minute some folks find a new series, they genuinely believe they now have to "binge-watch" the previous episodes on Netflix/disk several episodes at a time, rather than watch a serialized season arc play out one hour a week.)

 

Once in a while, I'll actually sit down and watch one--more for the reckless thrill of "Hey, get me, I'm watching one a' dose trendy shows!"--and find out why I haven't been watching network shows for the last fifteen years:

Despite being a Classic Doctor Who fan, I still can't stand to sit through more than ten minutes of the New series at a stretch, and despite having a curiosity how the plot will play out, can't stress how frustratingly impossible it is for male viewers to watch Once Upon A Time....Network TV lost a lot once they cut their losses and realized heterosexual males weren't watching the broadcast channels anymore, and that females dreamed of being secret agents, police commissioners and bounty hunters.  :(

 

 

While I'm a big proponent of modern TV but I think you're right about many/most network sitcoms. I certainly don't mind a 'dirty' joke or profanity but network sitcoms are just filled with sex jokes that are supposed to be risqué or shocking and they're really just lame.

 

The maturity level of sitcoms dropped about six years during from the 90's to the 10's, as a lot of folks who grew up on 80's sitcoms when they were kids are now comics in their 20's and 30's, and believe that all comedy is now a celebration of the act of slinging passive-hostile barbs and living your high-school and fratboy immaturity into your married/employed adulthood.

It's like they remember the laughtracks, but don't remember what the tracks were laughing AT.  (Do they still use live audiences nowadays?  No, really, I'm asking.)

 

Even worse in the case of the Disney Channel tween-coms, that seem to have been kept in a plastic bubble since 1985, and even look like they were produced on the exact same sets from Facts of Life and Saved By the Bell.  And those are the ones intended for kids...


Edited by Ejanss, September 23 2013 - 11:00 AM.


#18 of 65 Bryan^H

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Posted September 23 2013 - 11:00 AM

Having a recent "drought" of classic tv watching I watched a couple select episodes of some old favorites:

 

M*AS*H- 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'

 

followed by:

 

Star Trek-'Return To Tomorrow'

 

One is A half hour comedy drama with many "sex" jokes that are actually funny, and more implied than vulgar, and over the top.  No sighs, or eye rolling here.

 

The other is a Science Fiction program that is really quite extraordinary.   Well Written, great set designs, and characters you can really care for.

 

 

Now I do watch current tv, but I'd be much happier if there were more like the two I just mentioned.

 

 


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#19 of 65 Mike Frezon

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Posted September 23 2013 - 11:05 AM

MODERATOR'S NOTE: 

 

We are now done focusing on the throwaway line in the OP about why he missed particular programs on Sundays and Wednesday nights.

 

I have removed a couple of posts which threatened to take the thread off topic. 

 

Since I'm not sure at how high a level of sarcasm was involved in that original line, I consider it innocuous and will let it stand.  But there will be no further references to it.

 

Anyone who does...has been warned. 

 

From the HTF Rulebook (which is available via a link in my signature):

 

4. No politics or religion. We do not permit the discussion of politics or religion at HTF.

 

Let us stay on the topic-at-hand...and not be side-tracked...please.

 

If anyone wants to discuss this with me, please do so via PM. 


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#20 of 65 Walter Kittel

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Posted September 23 2013 - 11:44 AM

I have Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Dexter, Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey perfectly available on my Netflix/Hulu, and yet I can't actually bring myself to watch them, as I'm afraid they'll just play up some shallow, petty, psychological reason a lot of 00's folks born after 1983 are so hooked on talking about them--I usually end up being more cynical that folks who grew up in the age of "Cable A La Carte" are just now psychologically hooked on the ACT of having a favorite show every week, and the power of serialized storytelling (what happened to the characters next, storyteller?), than in the show's quality of being one of the Next Great Series.

 

Well, to each their own as is always the case when it comes to entertainment, but I would argue that serialized storytelling can be a component that makes a series great.  Before the show went downhill, season one of Heroes was one of the finest examples of serial television one could watch.  And I would argue that the greatness of Babylon 5, still one of my favorites, stemmed largely from its season long story arcs and the sweep of the narrative that was all about connecting themes and telling an epic story over the course of each season.  By necessity, shows based upon novels like Game of Thrones have to be serialized.  And finally you are missing out on some fine programming (well some of them) by forgoing that list of shows.  But I agree (with the sentiment of the thread) that folks should watch what they want, not necessarily what they feel like they "ought" to watch.  (I don't think that is contradictory. :) )

 

I have one foot in contemporary television and one (smaller) foot in classic television.  The appeal of classic television for me is generally in the storytelling and partly nostalgia for me.  I believe that the overall level of writing was better in the past, (that may be my memory playing tricks on me), but there has been plenty of good and bad material in any time period.  I don't think quality is the exclusive domain of any era.  

 

To answer one of the posters' questions.  Yes, live studio audiences are still used, at least for some comedies.  Chuck Lorre made a point of this in one of his vanity cards for (IIRC) Two and Half Men.  

 

Of course it is all subjective and if someone is not predisposed to the tropes and styles of contemporary television, then they just aren't.  

 

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Edited by Walter Kittel, September 23 2013 - 11:48 AM.

Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.




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