Many of our younger members will never know what it was like. Back in the days before commercials started to dominate the programming, one could enjoy well-thought-out teleplays that had meat on their bones. It all came back to me just recently. To wit: It had been in 2003 since I last screened my Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs. But recently, I had a hankering to sample some sixth-season episodes I remembered fondly. Oh my. I should not have done it so soon after screening the 1963-64 season of ABC-TV's The Outer Limits. But I did. The TNG episodes seemed ... abbreviated. They were more like jump-cutted, elongated half-hour shows expanded to forty minutes. Whereas The Outer Limits episodes were fully realized. Last night, for kicks, I screened a favorite Outer Limits episode from its first season, "O.B.I.T." I saw a teleplay with a premise, a fully developed drama, a climax, and a conclusion. In the process, I timed it: I started the disc at 8:43 p.m. and it concluded (after the credits) at 9:35. Which means there were fifty minutes of actual drama, and they were sandwiched by two minutes consisting of the program's opening title sequence and the end credits. That comes to a total of fifty-two minutes -- leaving only eight minutes for commercials. In other words, back in the "good ol' days," we got nearly an hour's worth of entertainment out of an hour-long program. However, earlier this week, I screened those TNG episodes from the series' sixth season. Shot in 1992-1993, they were missing an entire act that was available to programs in the 1960s. That act made a huge difference in story depth. So, I found myself far more satisfied by The Outer Limits. TNG, on the other hand, was not as satisfactory -- sometimes not even satisfying. No wonder I spend all my present time watching PBS. And watching DVDs.