Worth

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The production values in television have increased dramatically over the past twenty years or so. Look at pretty much any show from the 80s or earlier and the filmmaking is pretty basic - flood the set with with light, master shot, over-the-shoulder, close up. There's some really stunning cinematography in television these days. The gap between feature films and television isn't anywhere near as large as it used to be.
 

bmasters9

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most of today's actors for me have zilch charisma or any truly memorable aspects
Most have none for me either-- one major exception is a young lady who was a former juvenile actress, by the name of Joey King (she's 19 now). She's in the first season's worth of the upcoming Hulu series The Act; this first go of it is about the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, and how her mother Dee Dee acted like she was sick with various diseases, when she really wasn't; Joey is in the role of Gypsy, and Patricia Arquette plays her mother. I'm very much considering getting Hulu so I can see this!
 

Bryan^H

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I don't understand the "can't hold a candle" comment. There have been brilliant shows over the last 20 years. Not everything is dark and it seems that nothing can compete with nostalgia for some though. I like at least some shows from every decade.
It is funny that for me my top 3 shows of the last 20 years are:

-The Sopranos

-Dexter

-Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This coming from someone that bitches that TV of today is "too dark".
Sometimes, dark is a good thing. Mainly when the writing is far above average.
But my main tv of choice is, and will always be escapist television programs of the 60's-80's(emphasis on 70's).
 
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MartinP.

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There's some really stunning cinematography in television these days.
Maybe I don't watch those shows! (Please add a couple examples.)

I was watching the third season of The Man in the HIgh Castle and it was so dark I couldn't even make out some of the characters at times. Dark is on e thing, but too dark is another.
 

MartinP.

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There’s definitely been a shift to fewer episodes, more connection between episodes, and more focus on plot and story arcs over recurring adventures with set characters.
I'm afraid this is precisely why I don't even give a whole lot of new shows a chance. First, network shows might be cancelled once you're into a new show and if you like it, tough luck. (At least shows dropped on NetFlix, Amazon etc. have a season's worth.)

I also happen to like shows that have unconnected stories in each episode. Not everything needs to be continued. Continued does not (always) equal satisfying. I like to watch a show with a beginning middle and end. (And, yes, not every sentiment is absolute, it's just that this seems to be rare now.) I liked shows like the CSI franchise or The Mentalist which might have a story arc that touches various episodes, but aren't the main stories in each episode.

Sitcoms are now written more like a series of 3-4 minute variety show sketches. There's no set up and act one ending followed by act two where the pay-offs build and satisfy. This is why, IMO, there's very few that stand-out any more. These are harder to write. Modern Family is one of these kinds of shows that works, but in each episode you have 2-3 stories going on. Sometimes they're related, sometimes not. Every single character in the show, HAVE to be in every episode. I can remember scenes that I've loved from this show over the years, but to pick out a favorite episode? How do you do that when there's 2-3 stories going on in each one?

The past couple weeks I've been seeing commercials for new network sitcoms coming soon and, as someone else wrote recently, they all seem the same.
 

Gary Seven

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There is quality programming today as there was yesteryear. The biggest difference I see is in the writing...grammatically. In previous decades, writing was more grammatically correct for the protagonist and it was usually only the antagonist that spoke poor English. Today, I noticed ,it is all over the board. "How are you going?" "I am doing good.", "I don't get nothing.", "I could care less" are some of the most common ones I hear. Unfortunately with TV having such an influence, it propagates this practice so it becomes the norm.
 

The Drifter

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The production values in television have increased dramatically over the past twenty years or so. Look at pretty much any show from the 80s or earlier and the filmmaking is pretty basic - flood the set with with light, master shot, over-the-shoulder, close up. There's some really stunning cinematography in television these days. The gap between feature films and television isn't anywhere near as large as it used to be.
Agree 100%. In fact, these days I'm more of a fan of current TV shows than current films.

Going along with this, what's also interesting now is the sheer plethora of what I would consider new, quality TV shows available to us. Back in the day (i.e., up through most of the '90's) you only had the networks & maybe a handful of other channels to watch (Fox, etc.). However, when HBO started to come out with original programming in the latter '90's with Oz, The Sopranos, etc. that really opened the doors for TV programs that not only competed against the major networks, but were superior to them in many ways.

Now, you have original programming on all the networks, multiple cable channels, streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Netflix is especially impressive because all of the episodes of a given season are released on the same day - i.e., Orange is the New Black, The Punisher, House of Cards, etc.

As I've mentioned before, these days I literally cannot keep track of all the great shows I want to watch. I will probably never catch up with all of these - which is why I have to sometimes drop shows to watch later & be very selective about what I do see - LOL.
 
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BobO'Link

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The production values in television have increased dramatically over the past twenty years or so. Look at pretty much any show from the 80s or earlier and the filmmaking is pretty basic - flood the set with with light, master shot, over-the-shoulder, close up. There's some really stunning cinematography in television these days. The gap between feature films and television isn't anywhere near as large as it used to be.
In the 50s and 60s production values were often as good as what was on "the big screen," especially the dramas but quite often in the comedies as well. The majority of TV westerns in those years were produced by the same teams that had done most of the "B" western movies and they took those same values and production techniques to TV. It was Norman Lear and his videotaped productions in the early 70s that started the downhill slide in production values that still persists for many sitcoms. Those sent the message that you didn't have to have lush productions to be accepted and negatively affected almost everything.
 

Paintbeanie

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I'm afraid this is precisely why I don't even give a whole lot of new shows a chance. First, network shows might be cancelled once you're into a new show and if you like it, tough luck. (At least shows dropped on NetFlix, Amazon etc. have a season's worth.)

I also happen to like shows that have unconnected stories in each episode. Not everything needs to be continued. Continued does not (always) equal satisfying. I like to watch a show with a beginning middle and end. (And, yes, not every sentiment is absolute, it's just that this seems to be rare now.) I liked shows like the CSI franchise or The Mentalist which might have a story arc that touches various episodes, but aren't the main stories in each episode.

Sitcoms are now written more like a series of 3-4 minute variety show sketches. There's no set up and act one ending followed by act two where the pay-offs build and satisfy. This is why, IMO, there's very few that stand-out any more. These are harder to write. Modern Family is one of these kinds of shows that works, but in each episode you have 2-3 stories going on. Sometimes they're related, sometimes not. Every single character in the show, HAVE to be in every episode. I can remember scenes that I've loved from this show over the years, but to pick out a favorite episode? How do you do that when there's 2-3 stories going on in each one?

The past couple weeks I've been seeing commercials for new network sitcoms coming soon and, as someone else wrote recently, they all seem the same.
I am ok with multiple story lines as long as they work together ok. I think there are problems with this recently due to the length of some of these sitcoms. I was watching an episode of Big Bang Theory in dvd from last season that was not even 20 min long. Each year it feels more that we are getting closer to watching commercials with breaks for a show rather than a show with commercial breaks.
 

Purple Wig

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It's a golden age now for anyone who, when watching those older shows, thought "Why do they have to hold the camera so gosh darn steady? Why has this shot lasted more than 1.3 seconds? Why isn't the color palette a metallic grey? Why can't I see any acne scars?"
 
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bmasters9

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When Fox was doing TV n the 60's, their film division wasn't having a lot of luck. So apparently guys like Irwin Allen were keeping Fox's lights on. That's partly why his shows always looked good. Great sets, amazing effects and costumes. The writing...well...
Which is why I'm not really feeling O-R CBS 1965-68 Lost in Space!
 
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ScottRE

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I was watching a favorite episode of Lost in Space recently - a later one Hunter's Moon - and maybe I was just in a crabby mood, but I was about two minutes in and thought, "man, Guy Williams really isn't very good in this. He's just angry. This dialog isn't doing anything but filling airtime." I felt bad for him. The contracted lead who, before he knew it, was relegated to day player status. He was never a great actor, but I'm sure he liked having something meaningful to do. And even though Irwin Allen placated him with larger roles, action scenes and stuff, he wasn't given anything worth showing up for. And unlike some other actors who might suck it up and do their best anyway (let's say David Hedison), he just barked out his lines.

Case in point: The Anti-Matter Man. When he has to play the Anti-John Robinson, he's scary and good fun. When he's John, even at the very start, he's very loud, sharp and brusque.

John: "Maybe you can be some assistancetomywife!"
Smith: "Zachary Smith, relegated to the kitchen?!"
John: "Yes! Maybe you cannnnn...toss a salad or something!"

But in the first season, particularly in the first half, he could be incredibly good.

Some episodes just really haven't aged well at all and are only good because the half dozen surrounding them are so dire.
 

MatthewA

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I am ok with multiple story lines as long as they work together ok. I think there are problems with this recently due to the length of some of these sitcoms. I was watching an episode of Big Bang Theory in dvd from last season that was not even 20 min long. Each year it feels more that we are getting closer to watching commercials with breaks for a show rather than a show with commercial breaks.
This is partly why I quit watching network TV. The current streaming comedies run 24-26 minutes like the old days and individual episodes feel like they have more room to breathe, thus more time to actually resolve the plots.
 

Neil Brock

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I was watching a favorite episode of Lost in Space recently - a later one Hunter's Moon - and maybe I was just in a crabby mood, but I was about two minutes in and thought, "man, Guy Williams really isn't very good in this. He's just angry. This dialog isn't doing anything but filling airtime." I felt bad for him. The contracted lead who, before he knew it, was relegated to day player status. He was never a great actor, but I'm sure he liked having something meaningful to do. And even though Irwin Allen placated him with larger roles, action scenes and stuff, he wasn't given anything worth showing up for. And unlike some other actors who might suck it up and do their best anyway (let's say David Hedison), he just barked out his lines.

Case in point: The Anti-Matter Man. When he has to play the Anti-John Robinson, he's scary and good fun. When he's John, even at the very start, he's very loud, sharp and brusque.

John: "Maybe you can be some assistancetomywife!"
Smith: "Zachary Smith, relegated to the kitchen?!"
John: "Yes! Maybe you cannnnn...toss a salad or something!"

But in the first season, particularly in the first half, he could be incredibly good.

Some episodes just really haven't aged well at all and are only good because the half dozen surrounding them are so dire.
I loved Lost in Space when it was on, but then again I was 8-10 at the time. All of the Irwin Allen shows, save for the first season of Voyage, rarely rose above the level of a Saturday morning kids show.
 

ScottRE

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I loved Lost in Space when it was on, but then again I was 8-10 at the time. All of the Irwin Allen shows, save for the first season of Voyage, rarely rose above the level of a Saturday morning kids show.
I would give Voyage's early second season props for being a really solid SF/adventure/espionage hour. Once they settled on the "monster of the week/alien" formula, it became "for die-hards only" and kids.
 

Ethan Riley

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They were glorified kids' shows. Makes sense, seeing as how Sid & Marty Krofft spent the next decade ripping off Irwin Allen's ideas.
 
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JamesSmith

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I would give Voyage's early second season props for being a really solid SF/adventure/espionage hour. Once they settled on the "monster of the week/alien" formula, it became "for die-hards only" and kids.
There's a part of me that fantasized about Joss Whedon taking over the writing duties on the Irwin Allen shows, and all of a sudden scifi was adult again.

James
 
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jcroy

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I loved Lost in Space when it was on, but then again I was 8-10 at the time. All of the Irwin Allen shows, save for the first season of Voyage, rarely rose above the level of a Saturday morning kids show.
With a 10 year time difference and making the word replacements "Lost In Space" -> "Battlestar Galactica", "Irwin Allen" -> "Glen Larson", "Voyage" -> "Buck Rogers", etc ....., this would exactly describe my childhood/preteen experiences too,

If I grew up in a different time era and/or never seen the original Battlestar Galactica, most likely I wouldn't think much of the show. Without the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, the original Battlestar Galactica wasn't much more than a cheesy space opera at the level of a Saturday morning kids show.
 

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