What did you watch this week in classic TV on DVD(or Blu)?

BobO'Link

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
7,222
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
Like most kids my age in the 60s, I watched The Mod Squad regularly, at least the first couple of years, but really don't remember much about it other than the trio having lots of angst. And what was so "mod" about them? They certainly didn't dress like any kids I knew - HS or college age, although they *did* use some of the lingo properly (and not like some 35+ year old writer trying to sound "cool" - that's a really odd comment to write as a 65+ year old...).

I have a copy of S1 in my collection but haven't yet made time for it (seems to be the song of my life where some TV shows are concerned, eh?). I mostly expect to find a somewhat light weight, middlin' type cop show with "kids" doing the "heavy lifting" instead of adults. I also don't expect it to age well. One day I'll find out.
 

ScottRE

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
1,070
Location
New York, Planet Earth
Real Name
Scott
I didn’t get into The Mod Squad as a kid. I was a little young for it and they were all so serious. I do remember enjoying the opening credits and wondering why they kept running into puddles.

There was a point when episode titles were so pompous. Hawaii Five-O, Then Came Bronson and looking at The Mod Squad…all of these flowery titles trying to sound poetic and meaningful. Then, almost in answer, would be the Quinn Martin titles like “Experiment in EVILLLLLLL” or something. Good fun.
 

Jack P

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
4,851
I agree that the opening credits of "Mod Squad" never made any sense. What are they running from, and why is their captain suddenly looking so sinister as if he's who they're running from???

And yes, those "poetic" episode titles are all over the map in 1960s dramas, and usually they just tie into a line a character will utter at some point, when it comes off as a reach. The "Dick Van Dyke Show" once did a hilarious send-up of one of these kind of titles with an episode called "The Sound Of The Trumpets of Conscience Falls Deafly On a Brain That Holds It's Ears (Or Something Like That)".
 

The Obsolete Man

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
3,346
Location
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Real Name
Robert
Star Trek: DS9 writers enjoyed trying to top each other with pretentious sounding episode titles, with Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night throwing down the gauntlet that led to Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.

These days though, NuTrek episode titles are so far up their own ass as to be laughable.
 

JohnHopper

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
1,868
Real Name
John Hopper
With you on that, Randall. I never got too far into the series as it was too hard for me to buy into an effective police squad of flower children

It's only a trendy series and none of the leads are engaging. The producer only exploits the fashion of the day.​
As a team, they could only be used to infiltrate subversives but, as a series, it is too limited.​
Oddly enough, The Mod Squad is as dated as The New People and The Rookies. Those youth movement series are too artificial.​
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff Flugel

Jeff Flugel

Premium
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
2,251
Location
Osaka, Japan
Real Name
Jeff Flugel
I didn’t get into The Mod Squad as a kid. I was a little young for it and they were all so serious. I do remember enjoying the opening credits and wondering why they kept running into puddles.
I agree that the opening credits of "Mod Squad" never made any sense. What are they running from, and why is their captain suddenly looking so sinister as if he's who they're running from???
I totally get what you guys are saying, and I'm not trying to be argumentative, because I find this an interesting tangent...but if you think about opening titles as a construct for a minute, just how much sense are they required to make? I mean, our name doesn't pop up in bright, bold credits as we enter a room in real life, right? (although at times I wish it would). :) Title sequences have a certain job to do and some shows do them better than others. It never would occur to me to require a title sequence to make absolute logistical sense. I'll admit that The Mod Squad title sequence is a bit silly, but IMO the main point of such sequences - aside from identifying the name of the show and its main cast - is to introduce the "vibe" of the show, to be punchy, dramatic, to get viewers excited to watch it. I think The Mod Squad pulls that off pretty well, despite its somewhat arbitrary location and action.

There was a point when episode titles were so pompous. Hawaii Five-O, Then Came Bronson and looking at The Mod Squad…all of these flowery titles trying to sound poetic and meaningful. Then, almost in answer, would be the Quinn Martin titles like “Experiment in EVILLLLLLL” or something. Good fun.
And yes, those "poetic" episode titles are all over the map in 1960s dramas, and usually they just tie into a line a character will utter at some point, when it comes off as a reach. The "Dick Van Dyke Show" once did a hilarious send-up of one of these kind of titles with an episode called "The Sound Of The Trumpets of Conscience Falls Deafly On a Brain That Holds It's Ears (Or Something Like That)".
Heh. Agreed. This penchant for overly-poetic episode titles is epitomized by writer Stirling Silliphant, a master at this sort of thing back on Naked City and Route 66. I mean, get a load of these titles from the latter show: "How Much a Pound is Albatross?" "Narcissus on a Red Fire Engine," "There I Am, There I Always Am," "Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma?" and so on.

I have a copy of S1 in my collection but haven't yet made time for it (seems to be the song of my life where some TV shows are concerned, eh?). I mostly expect to find a somewhat light weight, middlin' type cop show with "kids" doing the "heavy lifting" instead of adults. I also don't expect it to age well. One day I'll find out.
Well, Howie, knowing as how you're not a huge cop or detective show fan, I'm not sure what you'll make of The Mod Squad now. It's certainly not the best of that particular breed...but I do find it an interesting show, and, unlike John H., I find the three young leads pretty engaging...at least I can say that they have grown on me the more episodes I watch.

As far as "dated" is concerned...well, yes, The Mod Squad is definitely dated, but that's not necessarily a dirty word in my book. What a lot of people read as "dated' comes across to me more as "period." If it's a time period I find interesting (as I do the late '60s / early '70s) then that "datedness" is part of the appeal. Just as the perfectly coiffed, smart suit-wearing characters driving big gas guzzling cars and chain-smoking up a storm in shows from the late '50s / early '60s add a neat historical dimension to the TV shows of that era. The "time capsule" effect of classic television is one of its charms, IMO.
 
Last edited:

ScottRE

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
1,070
Location
New York, Planet Earth
Real Name
Scott
I totally get what you guys are saying, and I'm not trying to be argumentative, because I find this an interesting tangent...but if you think about opening titles as a construct for a minute, just how much sense are they required to make? I mean, our name doesn't pop up in bright, bold credits as we enter a room in real life, right? (although at times I wish it would). :) Title sequences have a certain job to do and some shows do them better than others. It never would occur to me to require a title sequence to make absolute logistical sense. I'll admit that The Mod Squad title sequence is a bit silly, but IMO the main point of such sequences - aside from identifying the name of the show and its main cast - is to introduce the "vibe" of the show, to be punchy, dramatic, to get viewers excited to watch it. I think The Mod Squad pulls that off pretty well, despite its somewhat arbitrary location and action.
Well, for me I was seeing it from the eyes of a very young kid. I liked the music a lot (I was obsessed with TV themes) but my main observation was "they keep aiming for the puddles." :D

The series didn't cross my path much back then and I was more into the genre shows anyway.


As far as "dated" is concerned...well, yes, The Mod Squad is definitely dated, but that's not necessarily a dirty word in my book. What a lot of people read as "dated' comes across to me more as "period." If it's a time period I find interesting (as I do the late '60s / early '70s) then that "datedness" is part of the appeal. Just as the perfectly coiffed, smart suit-wearing characters driving big gas guzzling cars and chain-smoking up a storm in shows from the late '50s / early '60s add a neat historical dimension to the TV shows of that era. The "time capsule" effect of classic television is one of its charms, IMO.
I agree on that viewpoint, I always look at shows and movies from the context of their times. I do feel that coming off the fantasy of the 60's the early 70's just pushed the relevance really hard until it began to settle down. But that's always the case when a new direction is taken, isn't it?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff Flugel

GMBurns

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
532
Location
Plainville, CT
Real Name
Glenn
In the spring and early summer I was able to acquire about 10-12 Network/U.K. titles that I've wanted to purchase for a while. Still haven't been able to start watching most of them, but last night I enjoyed the first episode of Espionage, The Incurable One. Two former WWII spies for the Allies are tortured by their past memories and can't quite shake the war, even 18 years later. Brilliantly acted by Steven Hill and Ingrid Thulin, with a gut-wrenching ending. Looking forward to more fine drama from this series.
 

ScottRE

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
1,070
Location
New York, Planet Earth
Real Name
Scott
Title sequences have a certain job to do and some shows do them better than others. It never would occur to me to require a title sequence to make absolute logistical sense. I'll admit that The Mod Squad title sequence is a bit silly, but IMO the main point of such sequences - aside from identifying the name of the show and its main cast - is to introduce the "vibe" of the show, to be punchy, dramatic, to get viewers excited to watch it. I think The Mod Squad pulls that off pretty well, despite its somewhat arbitrary location and action.
John Barry had a interesting point of view about his series themes for The Persuaders! and The Adventurer, which echos your post. He said something to the effect of “with so many series competing for viewers, the theme has to get your attention.” So even if it isn’t necessarily saying anything about the series or the characters, it has to be a grabber. The Persuaders! In particular had a beautiful and serious theme which didn’t reflect the light hearted flair of the series. The Mod Squad may or may not have had an appropriate opening credits sequence but man was it gripping and exciting. Honestly, I don't think many series were as relentlessly exciting as The Mod Squad's opening credits.
 

Jack P

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
4,851
I totally get what you guys are saying, and I'm not trying to be argumentative, because I find this an interesting tangent...but if you think about opening titles as a construct for a minute, just how much sense are they required to make? I mean, our name doesn't pop up in bright, bold credits as we enter a room in real life, right? (although at times I wish it would). :)
Except on "Green Acres". :)

 

Flashgear

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
1,908
Location
Alberta Canada
Real Name
Randall
John Barry had a interesting point of view about his series themes for The Persuaders! and The Adventurer, which echos your post. He said something to the effect of “with so many series competing for viewers, the theme has to get your attention.” So even if it isn’t necessarily saying anything about the series or the characters, it has to be a grabber. The Persuaders! In particular had a beautiful and serious theme which didn’t reflect the light hearted flair of the series. The Mod Squad may or may not have had an appropriate opening credits sequence but man was it gripping and exciting. Honestly, I don't think many series were as relentlessly exciting as The Mod Squad's opening credits.
Quite the nice coincidence reading your post, as just now I am listening to John Barry's fine music composed for The Ipcress File, courtesy of the new Kino-Lorber Blu-ray release! Man, that guy gave us a magnificent body of work in his extraordinary career.

Earle Hagen's music for The Mod Squad is pretty good too. And as I said in my last post, even though I don't remember this series being among my favorites back during it's first run, in viewing it now on DVD I discovered it to be much better than I expected. The leads have great and believable chemistry. Good production values courtesy of being filmed at Paramount, but with extensive location filming as well.

Another big asset is the well known and much loved guest stars in this series---Sammy Davis Jr., Danny Thomas, Stephanie Powers, Richard Pryor, Connie Hines, Marion Ross, Pilar Seurat, Ruth Roman, Barbara McNair, Tony Dow, Sheb Wooley, Foster Brooks, Joan Van Ark, Leslie Uggams, Sam Elliott, Victor Buono, Billy Dee Williams, Rocky Graziano, Veronica Cartwright, Howard Duff, Beverly Garland, Bradford Dillman, Ray Walston, Ruta Lee, Barbara Rush, Susan Howard, Anne Archer, Tina Louise, Ivan Dixon, Edgar Buchanon, William Windom, Monte Markham, Dwayne Hickman, Peter Brown, Robert Duvall, Willam Smith, Leslie Nielsen, Fritz Weaver, Janet Margolin, Clu Gulager, Catharine Burns, Sugar Ray Robinson, Cameron Mitchell, Jack Cassidy, Larry Blyden, Milton Berle, Desi Arnaz Jr., Richard Kiley, Margot Kidder, Steve Ihnat, Noel Harrison, Lee Grant, Frank Converse Lesle Anne Warren, Simon Oakland, Ida Lupino, Carolyn Jones, Don Defore, J.D. Cannon, Edward Andrews, Joe Don Baker, Richard Anderson, Robert Lansing, Yvonne Craig, Dabney Coleman, Barbara Rhoades, Leo Gordon, Jo Anne Harris, Ron Soble, Bo Svenson, Tyne Daly, Richard Dreyfuss, Brenda Scott, Julie Adams, Lou Gossett, Ed Asner, Brooke Bundy, and others in the 124 episode, 5 year run.

I just watched one with good ol' Andy Griffith in a dramatic role. And another one with Jim Backus, Fernando Lamas, Ahna Capri and Bing Russell! Where else will you see Jim Backus and Fernando Lamas in a fist fight, c'mon!...And the transfers are uniformly good throughout the series.

And these kids of The Mod Squad (as they were then) are the most likable 'Hippies' ever. The ones I knew in real life back then, though not Manson family terrible, weren't as likable...I definitely didn't see myself as being 'Counter Culture' at all as a teenager...I would have identified more with the NYC construction workers who roughed up the road-blocking Hippie 'demonstrators' who were carrying North Vietnam flags and burning the Stars and Stripes during the "hardhat riot" of 1970, ha, ha...incidentally, the hardhat riot inspired the feature film Joe, starring Peter Boyle.
1604073452237.png

1604073493808.png
 
Last edited:

Peter M Fitzgerald

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 21, 1999
Messages
2,147
Real Name
Peter Fitzgerald
John Barry had a interesting point of view about his series themes for The Persuaders! and The Adventurer, which echos your post. He said something to the effect of “with so many series competing for viewers, the theme has to get your attention.” So even if it isn’t necessarily saying anything about the series or the characters, it has to be a grabber. The Persuaders! In particular had a beautiful and serious theme which didn’t reflect the light hearted flair of the series. The Mod Squad may or may not have had an appropriate opening credits sequence but man was it gripping and exciting. Honestly, I don't think many series were as relentlessly exciting as The Mod Squad's opening credits.
Mannix had a pretty exciting opening sequence, although I'm always a little bit disappointed that few, if any, of the actual episodes followed through on the promise of Mannix painfully trying to retrieve his burnt-black breakfast toast out of the electric toaster, as seen in the upper right-hand box in said opening titles--

mannix.jpg


I mean, sure, we typically see him in shootouts, fistfights, car chases, swimming for dear life, and the occasional karate match... but his morning blundering in the kitchen is a crucial aspect of his character as an otherwise-effective private detective, and shouldn't be papered-over so cavalierly, after being initially highlighted in the attention-grabbing opening. Where's the grapefruit-squirting-him-in-the-eye scenes? The half-cooked pancakes that stick to the ceiling when he tries to flip them all fancy-like in the pan, only to have them land on his head a few moments later? The sizzling-hot bacon grease flying out of the skillet singeing his forearms? The cracked-open eggs that reveal live chicks instead of the expected yolks? The pratfall slips on hunks of French toast that have carelessly ended up on the kitchen floor?

I feel cheated.
 

Montytc

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
310
Real Name
Tim Montavon
My wife and I have been watching our way through Mod Squad over the past year or two. I agree, they aren't really that mod, but we watch to go back in time and forget about real life for 50 minutes. From that perspective it perfectly fits the bill.
I still enjoy The Mod Squad, at least in small doses. I think it still stands up with the majority of detective shows from that era, almost all of which seem dated to some extent. The mod thing today feels like a gimmick to freshen up a basic police/detective series and I think it did give them a little different vibe. I was twelve when it premiered, and I liked all three of the lead characters and the idea of them being from very different backgrounds and slowly becoming a close nit team. A solid show from that era.
 

BobO'Link

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
7,222
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
As far as "dated" is concerned...well, yes, The Mod Squad is definitely dated, but that's not necessarily a dirty word in my book. What a lot of people read as "dated' comes across to me more as "period." If it's a time period I find interesting (as I do the late '60s / early '70s) then that "datedness" is part of the appeal. Just as the perfectly coiffed, smart suit-wearing characters driving big gas guzzling cars and chain-smoking up a storm in shows from the late '50s / early '60s add a neat historical dimension to the TV shows of that era. The "time capsule" effect of classic television is one of its charms, IMO.
Honestly, my use of "dated" isn't really, exactly, what I was going for. More of a "dated in a bad way" which would be something along the lines of when the "straits" tried to write "hippy" material and, while groan worthy back then, becomes incredibly stilted and cringeable when viewed today. Done *right* it becomes a nice time capsule. I'm afraid this one might not be done "right" but I *did* watch it then and don't really recall much of the groan inducing dialog (and I was quite sensitive to that tripe even back then - looking at *you* Star Trek "Space Hippy" episode!).
 

ScottRE

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
1,070
Location
New York, Planet Earth
Real Name
Scott
Well, most of those shows were written by middle-aged white Jewish guys who took a stab at the counter culture based on everything but first hand experience. It hardly ever felt authentic. I mean, what did Harve Bennett really know about the youth culture? Or Herb Solow and Bob Justman? Or Jack fricking Webb? Fred Freiberger certainly didn't get it right. The I Dream of Jeannie hippie episodes were just ridiculous but at least they were mocking them, so they didn't have to get it right. The Lost in Space guys were, too. Whenever Hawaii Five-O had a youth culture focused episode, it was usually pretty hamfisted.

I gotta say, Batman's Louie the Lilac was the nadir of the TV take on the youth movement.
 

Peter M Fitzgerald

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 21, 1999
Messages
2,147
Real Name
Peter Fitzgerald
I must admit that middle-aged "square" writers' takes on "hip" youth characters (whether they be late-1950s beatniks, mid-1960s mods and surfers, or late-1960s/early-1970s hippies) is one of the (many) things that makes classic TV enjoyable to me, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Jack Webb vs Dragnet-issue hippies (and other societal outliers, such as the sadsack thieving proto-fanboy, "The Crimson Crusader"), for instance, is comedy gold.




And I'm in some kind of strange awe of "hippy" Dr. Smith in "The Promised Planet" episode of Lost in Space. It's like you're seeing just the tip of the pinky finger of some larger bio-mass of pop culture ridiculousness that the rational human mind can scarcely comprehend, akin to a two-dimensional being trying to fathom a three-dimensional universe.

 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,599
Messages
4,747,157
Members
141,494
Latest member
Cobrajetken