If TV DVD leaves us?

3 Stars

Guys, there’s been some discussion on the downturning of classic and regular tv on DVD. And we call all see the market dwindling, but does that mean we will lose all hope? Or maybe it does?

For the most part, I don’t enjoy current television. It’s too dark, depressing, and I don’t know what to think about the writers and actors. They don’t seem to hold a candle to the television industry of the fifties, sixties, and seventies. As some of them has passed, I’ve read about how much work they actually had to do, and so many television actors always had some project to do, either as stars, or guest stars. No role was too small for them.

Don’t know about that kind of work ethic in today’s crop of talent.

Anyway, it tv releases slow down and stop, won’t youtube or iTunes be putting stuff out? Won’t there still be some sources to turn to?

Is it so much a question of streaming? or a lack of the next generation appreciating what has gone before?

Or maybe today’s kids have found out there’s more to life that DVD’s? Now that’s a terrible thought.

James

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Kevin Collins

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70 Comments

  1. I have a bigger TV-on-DVD library than I could watch twice more in my lifetime. It is beyond my wildest dreams to have so many great sets of my favorite shows like THE FUGITIVE, STAR TREK, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, and many more. Yes, there are some series that never got their day in the sun, and sadly some series that look like they may be left hanging, but I have nothing but gratitude for access to such a library that sometimes I still can't comprehend it fully.

    As far as the younger generation, I truly believe the greatest classic shows will endure, whether it be on streaming or on some format not yet invented. And even if some don't, I will always be grateful that they were part of my life, that they gave me such pleasure and sparked my immigration in the way they did.

    I couldn't be happier with the superior quality of my disc library, especially in the face of all this cheaper picture quality stemming from convenience, from the need for instant gratification.

    I might sell my other collections (CDs, Marvel Masterworks, etc.) but you can pry my DVD/BDs from my cold dead hands.

  2. I watch both modern TV shows & classic TV shows; I consider classic the '80's & earlier eras. However, I may include some '90's-era TV shows in this category – considering some of them (notably Seinfeld) began close to 30 years ago at this point.

    And, I'm relatively indifferent as to whether more modern shows from the 200X's & 20XX's ever hit DVD/Blu, since all/almost all new shows are available via decent streams.

    However, classic, older shows are in many cases not available via streaming (or if they are, the streams have incredibly sub-par/poor PQ) so watching them on DVD is a much better option – if they're available that way.

    A good example is the underrated John Ritter dramedy Hooperman (1987-1989). I still haven't made a point to re-watch this, but awhile back was looking for any streams of the show. And, it wasn't available anywhere for streaming (at least not where I was looking). So, if the show hadn't been released to DVD several years ago, I suspect there would be no easy way to watch this.

  3. Everyone is certainly entitled to their preferences, but the notion that today's television is somehow inferior to what came before, or that today's writers and actors are lazier than their predecessors, is absurd. A show like The Handmaid's Tale can hold its own against anything made in any era. It may not be to your taste, and yes it's dark, but we live in dark times.

    And sure, kids these days aren't terribly interested in older show and films, but when have they ever been? I was a teenager in the 80s and I don't remember a lot of my peers being terribly interested in movies from the 50s. And I doubt kids in the 50s were rushing out to watch silent movies. On top of that, there's simply more material than there ever was before – too much for anyone to keep on top of, even professional television reviewers. It's unrealistic to expect that today's audiences are going to look backward when there's so much new – and so much good – content being made right now.

  4. Worth

    And sure, kids these days aren't terribly interested in older show and films, but when have they ever been?

    Not all children these days are entirely uninterested in what was on before– my nephew Eli has seen all of the 50s I Love Lucy, and enjoyed every minute, and now he's on Lucy's color classic of 1968-74, Here's Lucy; he's loving what he's seen so far (2 seasons' worth, which, IIRC, I got him for his birthday last year).

  5. I agree that there is a tremendous amount of amazing new programming out there. People like to say "it's all crappy reality TV" but that's an inaccurate generalization. While I don't watch a lot of current TV, it's mostly because I'm tired of being hooked on a show only to see it cancelled on a cliffhanger in the first season.

    However, having said that, I agree with Alan. I have such a nice library of classic, favorite shows, if they stopped producing new TV series right now, I'd still have old favorites to watch. And I am a fan of action and SF movies, so there is a century of films for me to watch.

    I'd be sad if classic TV show releases ended before I got all the shows I still want, but as I have the great majority of them already, I can't really complain.

    I man, an official Green Hornet and 12 O'Clock High, would be amazing before I die…

  6. ScottRE

    People like to say "it's all crappy reality TV" but that's an inaccurate generalization.

    In a way, I agree– Jackson Galaxy has had a remarkably well-done Animal Planet show called My Cat From Hell, where he not only heals the rifts between felines and their guardians (such as they are), but also provides much useful information about how cats behave in the world; in fact, I have his book Total Cat Mojo, which expands upon a lot of what he's said on his show.

  7. Worth

    And sure, kids these days aren't terribly interested in older show and films, but when have they ever been? I was a teenager in the 80s and I don't remember a lot of my peers being terribly interested in movies from the 50s. And I doubt kids in the 50s were rushing out to watch silent movies. On top of that, there's simply more material than there ever was before – too much for anyone to keep on top of, even professional television reviewers. It's unrealistic to expect that today's audiences are going to look backward when there's so much new – and so much good – content being made right now.

    This!

    It was a lot easier to start watching and fall in love with content that wasn't brand new when we had more limited viewing options. I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and for most of my childhood, I didn't have cable. If I watched broadcast TV during primetime, I'd be exposed to (then) current shows. Any other time of the day, and it was probably syndicated reruns from programs going back as far as the 1950s. I'd like to think that I would have wound up a fan of shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek and The Honeymooners no matter what, but the truth is, having these shows broadcast regularly on one of a limited number of available channels, when there were few other options for television entertainment, certainly was a big factor in me adopting them as favorites.

    My wife grew up in the same time period I did, but she had cable in her house growing up, which meant that she always had access to a wide variety of contemporary content that was specifically being made and marketed for her and her peers. That alone makes her experience different from mine. Because she never had a shortage of things to watch (particularly things that were active topics of discussion among her peers), the need to fill time and the opportunity to be exposed to older content weren't there for her. Flash forward to 2019, and she's sampled those shows because I love them, and she'll totally watch them with me, but there's almost no chance that she'd watch one of them on her own.

    I know my viewing habits aren't typical for people my age; my presence on an enthusiast forum like HTF is already proof of that. I recently finished up viewing the entirety of M*A*S*H, and immediately came to this forum looking for suggestions for a black & white classic western show to try. My wife, whose habits are more typical, upon finishing one show will move on to something current, either something that caught her eye on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Now, or something that her friends have recommended or something her work colleagues are currently talking about. There's already more new, high quality content being produced today than she can keep up with; there's simply no reason for her to have to look back at shows that were produced before she was born to find something to watch. I'm sure she's missing out on some good classic content; but I'm equally sure that I'm missing out on some good contemporary content. There are only so many hours in the day, and most people are going to look to fill them with stuff that relates to their current day-to-day lives, either by virtue of the stories being told, or by being part of the cultural zeitgeist around them.

    None of that lessens my love for having my favorite TV shows available on a physical format. To go back to my childhood examples, if I watched to see Star Trek or Twilight Zone or the Honeymooners, I'd be dependent on one of the local stations showing it. There were periods when they would drop Star Trek for a year or two, and then bring it back. Same with Twilight Zone. Honeymooners would shuffle around to different timeslots. It didn't really matter which order you saw those shows in, but they would be played out of order, and you could never really predict or plan for when your favorite episodes would be on. You might see the same handful of episodes over and over, and then have tons of episodes that you'd never see. Star Trek was available on VHS, but with each individual episode costing about $20, the entire run of 79 episodes would never have been affordable to me growing up. Thanks to TV shows being released on DVD, for the price of what just a couple individual episodes would have cost in the 1980s, I was able to purchase entire seasons of shows I liked, see episodes I missed out on, and watch whatever I wanted, when I wanted. But I just don't think that most people are looking for that kind of commitment when it comes to their television watching. If something they like is readily available and on, they'll watch it; if it's not, they'll pick out something else.

  8. Josh Steinberg

    Star Trek was available on VHS, but with each individual episode costing about $20, the entire run of 79 episodes would never have been affordable to me growing up.

    Almost $1600 ($1580, to be exact, per my calculations).

  9. You know, there's the point and it's so obvious it escaped me: I also grew up in a time when you had three networks and maybe the same number of indie stations. So, during the day were 50's and 60's reruns and at night were the 70''s shows and 80's as I got older. So sure, I love classic TV because I grew up watching it and there was very little else on. Getting ready for school, I watched Courageous Cat, Magilla Gorilla and The Flintstones. If I was home sick from school, I watched Gidget, The Flying Nun and The Ghost and Mrs Muir. After school was Gilligan, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Jeannie and Bewitched. Around dinner time, Star Trek or Mission Impossible. Really, there wasn't a plethora of other or new programming. We didn't have a cartoon network, or a hundred different channels with original content.

    Honestly, there's a big part of me that feels a little badly for the generation who didn't have what we did. Maybe living for TV wasn't ideal – and I did have an active outside life – but I would never want to have missed Saturday Morning cartoons, the Sunday morning movie, and the classic reruns of my youth. Such joy those shows still give me.

    I guess every generation has their own "youthful joy" so they probably aren't missing anything and feel that maybe we are…

  10. I personally haven't given up on new releases . I still think we will see the occasional show . Don't forget that many popular shows are already out on DVD. So it's mostly the less popular stuff we are waiting for – shows like Trackdown , Adventures In Paradise , December Bride , Rin Tin Tin, People's Choice , 1950s Dragnet, East Side West Side , Ben Casey, Colt 45, He And She. I keep hoping we'll see some of them . Maybe a company like Classic Flix will step up and release some of them,

  11. I think there is something to be said for too many choices being imprisoning rather than freeing. I miss – even going back just 10-15 years – that shows routinely entered the cultural zeitgeist. I miss water cooler conversations. It’s a little hard to do that when the current most popular shows have all their episodes released at once – how do you have a casual conversation about last night’s episode when there was no “last night’s episode”.

    I also think there’s something to be said for having fewer choices, and how that can cause you to step outside your comfort zone and see things you might not normally pick out of a lineup. You can watch infinite varieties on the same thing without being exposed to different methods of storytelling and different kinds of stories.

    But I imagine most people my age and younger can make the same argument about older content on disc, that there’s just so much, where to begin, is it relevant to their lives today, etc.

  12. With old shows, I don't think it was necessarily a consequence of limited options. I was a fairly avid watcher in the 1970's, as a pre-teen. I liked plenty of the current offerings but it was the shows from before my time that grabbed me. For instance, catching a rerun of "The Mutation" episode of "The Invaders" by accident, it seemed like the coolest thing I'd ever seen (and of course the station stopped showing it soon after). Or, after hearing about the "Twilight Zone" (not rerun in my area as far as I know), finally seeing it in the late 70's, and it was so much better than anything current. Became a teen in the early 80's and though I lost interest in most prime time TV, continued to watch any 50's/60's stuff I could. Although the limited options did come into play when I was home sick from school, at a certain hour it was either Marcus Welby reruns, which always depressed me, or soap operas. Usually opted for MW nonetheless.

    I agree though that the limited offerings probably did cause one to check something out they wouldn't otherwise be inclined to.

    And then, you can always play the game where you look at an old TV guide and think, if it was this day and hour this year, there would be 4 things I wouldn't mind seeing right now.

  13. A lot of good points above, fellas!

    Like Scott and others here, I grew up in a time when there were fewer channels, and in the dawning of the cable TV era. I had a few friends who had HBO or Showtime at their house, but for me during those formative years, the Big Three networks, PBS and a few local syndicated channels were it. Those few channels provided my TV entertainment content exclusively. I consider this a good thing, however, as I watched shows and movies from all eras, in color or black-and-white, current or old – it didn't matter to me, as long as I enjoyed them. I treasure that exposure to pre-70s content.

    I know the nostalgia factor is a big part of why some here love classic television. I completely understand that aspect, yet it was – and is – not really that for me. It was simply: was it a show I liked? Was the concept interesting? Were the characters compelling? Was the acting and writing effective? Did the show fire my imagination? etc. I probably couldn't have articulated it as well back when I was a youngster, but those essential components still apply (with certain refinements brought on by adulthood and life experience, one hopes) to my TV watching tastes today.

    While there is something to be said for the sense of being overwhelmed by too much content to watch these days, I look at it as a good thing. I also am a fan of both modern TV and classic TV. I find it a great thing to be able to cherry pick the cream of the crop from all eras. Due to my background and inclinations, I'm probably more likely to enjoy programming made during the late '50s through the early '80s for a variety of reasons, but there are still a TON of modern TV shows that I love dearly and wouldn't want to be without.

    The main difference is in collecting. I see no reason to collect most modern shows on DVD or Blu, as most of them are easily found on various streaming platforms or for rental, if I really need to see them again. Vintage shows, other than the super famous ones like Star Trek or The Twilight Zone, etc., are far harder to find on said streaming sites, especially here in Japan. The best route to see these classic shows is on disc, and so I limit my TV-on-DVD collecting to pre-'90s shows.

    As others have stated, fans of classic television have been very well served over the past 20-plus years, with a huge amount of series released on DVD/BD. I mean, a truly amazing cornucopia of shows have made it out onto shiny disc, for fans to enjoy at our leisure. Yes, there are some key omissions, some "holy grails" that sadly have not come to fruition…but overall, I can't help but feel extremely happy – and lucky – with what has seen the light of day. To have the sort of collection I have now, at my fingertips to watch whenever I feel like it, is a wonderful thing, a youthful dream fulfilled.

  14. Interesting comments so far. I did grow up with cable but did manage to see some classic shows (I was a nick at nite fan and watched it even when younger) and saw a few other shows on regular stations throughout the day in the summer, so while I haven’t seen all old shows, I have seen (or at least heard of) many of the major and influential ones from the classic era. For me, I think if they stopped tv DVDs tomorrow it would have little effect on me for a while. With my tv and movie DVDs and blu rays that I need to catch up on, I barely have time for any television. I actually am considering getting rid of cable. I don’t watch it much and I really don’t care much for all the channels or their content anyway. I actually have tried the free stations with an antenna and found that while the amount of channels is small, it has most of what I want/need so I may go to that soon. Especially since for the most part I am busy catching up on DVDs anyway.

  15. As a child of the 70s, I was constantly exposed to classic entertainment–all day, in fact. That's the difference between mine and the current generation. You didn't have to go out of your way for the reruns–they were on every single channel during the day. If you flipped on the tv–as all 70s kids did–you were going to get old shows. And you were either to go like them or not. Most of us liked at least a few of them. I was more interested in I Love Lucy and Betwitched than any contemporary shows, that's for sure. (Primetime 70s content was not exactly kid-friendly for the most part).

  16. Worth

    A show like The Handmaid's Tale can hold its own against anything made in any era. It may not be to your taste, and yes it's dark, but we live in dark times.

    There is a similar show that's coming up in a week on Hulu called The Act— it's a seasonal anthology that will dramatize one sensational true-crime story with each season's worth of it. The first season of 8 episodes will be about Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother Dee Dee (specifically, how Dee Dee had Munchausen by proxy, and acted like her daughter Gypsy had myriad diseases like paraplegia, heart murmur, etc., and as such got donations aplenty from many charitable organizations). Only problem was, Gypsy had none of those diseases in reality, but her mother acted like she did.

    Here's the latest trailer for it; it has Joey King as Gypsy, and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee, et al., and I'm seriously thinking about switching to Hulu from Netflix if this show is as good as I think it'll be:

  17. Worth

    Everyone is certainly entitled to their preferences, but the notion that today's television is somehow inferior to what came before, or that today's writers and actors are lazier than their predecessors, is absurd. A show like The Handmaid's Tale can hold its own against anything made in any era. It may not be to your taste, and yes it's dark, but we live in dark times.

    Agreed. I watch a plethora of newer TV shows & find the majority of them either good or great. In fact, there are so many great shows coming out these days that I literally can't keep track of all the ones I want to see, nor do I have time to see everything I want.

    Some recent shows that really stand out include: The Handmaid's Tale (based on a novel that came out in the '80's), The Good Fight, Legion, The Gifted, Manifest, Black Mirror…..and too many others to list.

    I also have a strong interest in seeing American Gods, but want to read the Neil Gaiman novel (that the series is based on) first.

  18. Speaking of TV DVD leaving us. The Mill creek Blu-Ray complete sets that sell for next to nothing look to be going out of production, Miami Vice, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, Knight Rider, and Rockford Files. I need to get The Rockford Files, and Miami Vice. No way I'm paying secondary market prices.

  19. Josh Steinberg

    I think there is something to be said for too many choices being imprisoning rather than freeing. I miss – even going back just 10-15 years – that shows routinely entered the cultural zeitgeist. I miss water cooler conversations. It’s a little hard to do that when the current most popular shows have all their episodes released at once – how do you have a casual conversation about last night’s episode when there was no “last night’s episode”.

    There's also almost no such thing anymore as a "favorite episode" because nearly every show does season long (or more) arcs. So individual episodes get lost in the whole. I can't tell you my favorite episode of Agents of SHIELD, but I can tell you my favorite storyline. But when it comes to any of the episodics, easy peasy.

    Also, the arcs cause a series to have lesser rerun value to me. I can always see myself popping in favorite episodes of Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, V or SeaQuest, but I won't grab a show like Babylon 5 or Alias unless I am able to care out a few weeks to binge the series. And I hardly ever do that.

  20. ScottRE

    Also, the arcs cause a series to have lesser rerun value to me. I can always see myself popping in favorite episodes of Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, V or SeaQuest, but I won't grab a show like Babylon 5 or Alias unless I am able to care out a few weeks to binge the series. And I hardly ever do that.

    Do you feel the same way about O-R CBS Dallas or O-R ABC Dynasty?

  21. Bryan^H

    Speaking of TV DVD leaving us. The Mill creek Blu-Ray complete sets that sell for next to nothing look to be going out of production, Miami Vice, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, Knight Rider, and Rockford Files. I need to get The Rockford Files, and Miami Vice. No way I'm paying secondary market prices.

    Could it be that Mill Creek's licensing deal with Universal is expiring?

    If so, then will Universal re-release all this stuff again?

  22. Great points, everyone. As a teen growing up in the '80's, my household never had cable. So, my TV options were only limited to the networks – and, without cable, we always had crummy PQ. And, as time went on, without cable these options seemed to get even more limited. When I was going to college in the early '90's (still living @ home to save money), I seem to remember only 1-2 stations that we could get without snow. So, by '93/'94, I had stopped watching TV completely due to my disgust with the poor reception & general lack of interest in the programming offered. When I finally moved out & got my own place not long after, I initially didn't even have a TV at all for many years.

    I got re-interested in seeing TV shows when I got my first DVD player in 2003. At that point, TV shows were slowly making their way to DVD – and I was amazed at the content available.

    Josh Steinberg

    I think there is something to be said for too many choices being imprisoning rather than freeing. I miss – even going back just 10-15 years – that shows routinely entered the cultural zeitgeist. I miss water cooler conversations. It’s a little hard to do that when the current most popular shows have all their episodes released at once – how do you have a casual conversation about last night’s episode when there was no “last night’s episode”.

    Good point. I sometimes talk to people about TV shows, and there are so many great shows out now that it's hard to pick which one to talk about/focus on – LOL. Also – as I mentioned before – I literally do not have time to watch everything I want to. I'm currently watching some newer shows & some older shows, and also have a huge back-log of shows I've never seen – but want to.

    And that's not even counting all of the shows I've seen once & want to give a re-watch at some point, i.e. The Sopranos, Deadwood, Lost, Smallville, etc.

  23. Bryan^H

    Speaking of TV DVD leaving us. The Mill creek Blu-Ray complete sets that sell for next to nothing look to be going out of production, Miami Vice, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, Knight Rider, and Rockford Files. I need to get The Rockford Files, and Miami Vice. No way I'm paying secondary market prices.

    I wish they cost next to nothing. I'd pick up Rockford, but the cheapest I've seen it in Canada is $85, versus $48 for the DVD set. Miami Vice too, except the DVD set is even cheaper.

  24. LouA

    I personally haven't given up on new releases . I still think we will see the occasional show . Don't forget that many popular shows are already out on DVD. So it's mostly the less popular stuff we are waiting for – shows like Trackdown , Adventures In Paradise , December Bride , Rin Tin Tin, People's Choice , 1950s Dragnet, East Side West Side, Ben Casey, Colt 45, He And She. I keep hoping we'll see some of them . Maybe a company like Classic Flix will step up and release some of them,

    I keep seeing East Side, West Side pop up routinely enough as a show people want. I've never seen any of it, but I have read comments from those who have and they all think it's a pretty dull show, so I wonder what the interest is in it?

  25. MartinP.

    I keep seeing East Side, West Side pop up routinely enough as a show people want. I've never seen any of it, but I have read comments from those who have and they all think it's a pretty dull show, so I wonder what the interest is in it?

    I wouldn't say "East Side, West Side" is dull. But it's not exactly much fun, unless you like a weekly visit to the urban ghetto, and meeting up with a lot of sad-sack characters who are always mired in some kind of legal or social hell. Usually with the blame placed on 'society' at large. Not my cup of tea, as I find it all rather suffocating and oppressive, with characters that always seem powerless, mewling, and in constant need of compassionate, god-like government workers to set things straight for them.

    But a few episodes are pretty decent, here and there, akin to a somewhat grimier, more drab version of a "Naked City" episode. There was a memorable episode involving 'block busting,' guest-starring Joseph Campanella that was pretty strong stuff. But, eh. All in all, the series wasn't something I found all that entertaining or enjoyable. Quite the opposite, in fact. But some folks around here happily go for such stuff. I'll let them advocate for it, if they wish.

  26. Bert Greene

    I wouldn't say "East Side, West Side" is dull. But it's not exactly much fun, unless you like a weekly visit to the urban ghetto, and meeting up with a lot of sad-sack characters who are always mired in some kind of legal or social hell. Usually with the blame placed on 'society' at large. Not my cup of tea, as I find it all rather suffocating and oppressive, with characters that always seem powerless, mewling, and in constant need of compassionate, god-like government workers to set things straight for them.

    But a few episodes are pretty decent, here and there, akin to a somewhat grimier, more drab version of a "Naked City" episode. There was a memorable episode involving 'block busting,' guest-starring Joseph Campanella that was pretty strong stuff. But, eh. All in all, the series wasn't something I found all that entertaining or enjoyable. Quite the opposite, in fact. But some folks around here happily go for such stuff. I'll let them advocate for it, if they wish.

    Well said, Bert. I'd just as soon go get a root canal as watch an episode of East Side, West Side. At least with the dentist, I know the pain serves a purpose.

    Gary "urban-centered dramas, heavy on depression, just aren't my idea of entertainment" O.

  27. Gary OS

    I'd just as soon go get a root canal as watch an episode of East Side, West Side. At least with the dentist, I know the pain serves a purpose.

    I hate to say it, but I'm feeling the same about Fox's recent widescreen all-in-one of O-R 1965-68 CBS Lost In Space that I got some time ago at the Wal-Mart in Simpsonville– that one's incredibly boring (while The Streets of San Francisco is a breeze by comparison, at least to me)!

  28. MartinP.

    I keep seeing East Side, West Side pop up routinely enough as a show people want. I've never seen any of it, but I have read comments from those who have and they all think it's a pretty dull show, so I wonder what the interest is in it?

    Correct . It was a pretty dire and sometimes depressing show . I recall one episode with Maureen Stapleton as a homeless woman that was pretty sad . Still it was a fairly well written show – I'd say on a par with Naked city or Eleventh Hour (another not too happy drama ! ). So if there are any future vintage TV show release, it should get some consideration.

  29. Bryan^H

    Speaking of TV DVD leaving us. The Mill creek Blu-Ray complete sets that sell for next to nothing look to be going out of production, Miami Vice, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, Knight Rider, and Rockford Files. I need to get The Rockford Files, and Miami Vice. No way I'm paying secondary market prices.

    Bryan, can you suggest a good retailer for the Rockford Files?

    Amazon's price is pretty steep. I should've ordered last year when I think I saw it for $50.

  30. LeoA

    Bryan, can you suggest a good retailer for the Rockford Files?

    Amazon's price is pretty steep. I should've ordered last year when I think I saw it for $50.

    Deep Discount currently has RF Blu for $68.10 (with possibly another $5 off)

  31. A big difference younger people and their exposure to old tv shows. I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s so everyday I came home from school, it was Green Acres, Superman, Bewitched, or Beverly Hillbillies. I grew up with an affectation for old shows.

    I didn’t get TV land until the late 90’s but it was still showing plenty of old shows. For me, I loved seeing things I watched as a kid and even watching older shows like Adam-12. I became an old movie buff when I was 14 so older material always intrigued me. When TV land stopped airing shows I enjoyed, I started going to dvds. First it was the things I watched in syndication & then shows from childhood. Then I became curious and started going back further to things like Naked City & the Fugitive. I don’t watch many current shows now but have plenty on dvd to keep me for years. I’m glad I got in while there were plenty readily available.

  32. My situation is helped slightly at least since I'm so late to classic movies. That addiction only struck about 10 years ago, so there's still tons to discover and seek out even as the classic tv scene dwindles on optical media.

    And thanks to publishers like Kino Lorber and Warner Archive, there's still new releases to watch out for and anticipate with regularity like the four upcoming Crosby/Hope Road movies from Kino.

  33. 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.

  34. while it's possibly an age thing I just do not find modern TV very watchable to be honest

    IF the plot is better than average I find I know it from somewhere before…

    most of today's actors for me have zilch charisma or any truly memorable aspects, TV characters now seem to me to require ticking certain 'boxes' all the time and come across as so stereotypical if not just plain bland !

    shows just do not grab me anymore, where as say a show from the fifties to eighties (itself a VERY long period of time indeed) do still hold my interest and above all ENTERTAIN me still

    so with here in the UK the appalling modern so utterly up itself BBC forever trying to 're-educate us' to their preferred way of thinking and ITV full of silly shows like throwing z rate non celebs into jungles while other channels just film a bunch of youngsters swanning about on a beach or in a house plus cake baking shows (wow !!!)

    – I find I am more and more departing into the classic TV world of yesterday….with great pleasure !

  35. I think there’s good TV and bad TV now, just as there was 20 or 30 or 50 years ago. But I do think there has been a substantial change over time in how TV is made and distributed and that’s changed the kind of stories being told and the way they’re being told. 50 years ago, you had shows doing as many as 39 episodes a year. They were basically gonna be in your home with new stuff every week, and since it was usually episodic and the status quo didn’t change much week to week, you really had to care about the characters and how they were portrayed more than the stories, because the stories weren’t always gonna be great and/or original.

    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 don’t think one is inherently better or worse than the other. I do think it’s disappointing that with all the different broadcast, cable and streaming options available for new content, that there isn’t more of a space or desire for both the new and old formats to coexist.

  36. 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.

  37. Pathfiner

    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!

  38. albert_m2

    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).

  39. Worth

    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.

  40. MartinP.

    Maybe I don't watch those shows! (Please add a couple examples.)

    In the last few years – Westworld, Legion, The Handmaid's Tale, Mr. Robot, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things.

  41. Josh Steinberg

    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.

  42. 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.

  43. Worth

    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, cable channels, 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.

  44. 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…

  45. MartinP.

    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.

  46. It's a golden age now if, when you were watching those older shows, you always thought to yourself, "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?"

  47. ScottRE

    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!

  48. 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.

  49. Paintbeanie

    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.

  50. ScottRE

    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.

  51. Neil Brock

    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.

  52. ScottRE

    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

  53. Neil Brock

    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.

  54. When I revisited "Galactica" as an adult in the early 90s I was amazed at how good it was, and above all stood above the other one season and out sci-fi shows of the 70s (I would include "Buck Rogers" in that category despite its making two seasons). "Galactica" had some flaws in execution but in terms of premise/storyline advancement it was quite groundbreaking. Episodes were self-contained but we still had a sense of forward momentum and unlike Trek or other shows, memorable guest stars weren't just forgotten forever after their episodes were done. "Logan's Run" and "Planet Of The Apes" were just uninspired sci-fi redressings of "The Fugitive" cursed to go nowhere whereas Galactica, despite having a "Fugitive" like on the run setup had some greater depth potential and genuine forward momentum of is storyline. The show IMO doesn't belong in the same category as other sci-fi shows of that period.

  55. Jack P

    When I revisited "Galactica" as an adult in the early 90s I was amazed at how good it was, and above all stood above the other one season and out sci-fi shows of the 70s (I would include "Buck Rogers" in that category despite its making two seasons). "Galactica" had some flaws in execution but in terms of premise/storyline advancement it was quite groundbreaking. Episodes were self-contained but we still had a sense of forward momentum and unlike Trek or other shows, memorable guest stars weren't just forgotten forever after their episodes were done.

    Completely agree about the original BG series (1978-1979) being great. I first saw a handful of episodes of the series as a kid (when the show was originally on) and didn't appreciate it at the time; I was a huge Star Wars fan, and though I liked some elements of the show – still saw it as a de-factor SW rip-off.

    However, when I revisited the series as an adult (late 2014) & binge-watched it, I definitely appreciated it a lot more. Not only was it a great sci-fi series, but the mythological elements gave it something that was missing from other sci-fi shows. I also felt the Cylons – while clunky & slow – were still menacing. And, the Imperious leader definitely seemed to be the personification of evil – to a great extent. The episodes with Count Iblis (Patrick M., who was also the voice of the Imperious Leader) were especially disturbing.

    It's too bad the original series didn't last beyond one season. My understanding was that the show got decent ratings, but was extremely expensive to produce due to the effects – so that's why it got cancelled.

  56. Galactica was snakebit because ABC was the #1 network at the time and set a higher bar for ratings than they should have with Galactica, since Galactica was doing better for them on Sunday nights than anything else at that point. But they got it into their heads they could move "Mork And Mindy" to Galactica's time slot and get the same ratings on the cheap. It had a disastrous ripple effect on their schedule and you can legitimately argue that cancelling Galactica indirectly led to the end of ABC's days of being #1 forever.

  57. BobO’Link

    IMHO, ABC was smart to cancel the program. It was very diluted from its original premise and had become too "kid friendly" in their attempt to keep it in the 8pm time slot, something the ABC censors caused. I was quite excited about the series when it first aired but quit watching after the 4th or 5th episode as it had degenerated into not much more than a Saturday morning kid's program. It just wasn't the "serious" science fiction we were expecting and wanting.

    (Going on a tangent).

    Around that same time period, I also read the first Battlestar Galactica novelization books. They were the first non-picture books I read on my own, which was not required for a school assignment.

    Shortly thereafter, I read other scifi stuff like Foundation (Asimov). This was when I first came to the realization that "serious" science fiction was found mostly in books. For many years after that, I largely gave up on seeing any serious scifi on television or in the movies.

  58. BobO’Link

    IMHO, ABC was smart to cancel the program. It was very diluted from its original premise and had become too "kid friendly" in their attempt to keep it in the 8pm time slot, something the ABC censors caused. I was quite excited about the series when it first aired but quit watching after the 4th or 5th episode as it had degenerated into not much more than a Saturday morning kid's program. It just wasn't the "serious" science fiction we were expecting and wanting. In all fairness, I did purchase the series on DVD and then BR and found it's not quite as "bad" as I thought back in 1977/78 but it's also still very much a kid's program. I liken it to Lost in Space as being a program that you love if you were the right age when it originally aired but if not tend to consider it rather juvenile.

    Let's not confuse what Galactica was doing from what we saw the next year with the foolishly conceived and executed "Galactica 1980." If anything, as time went on they went out of their way to make the "kid" elements of Boxey and Muffit less intrusive and gave us some very strong shows, and in fact saved one of their best for last with "The Hand Of God". It's the strength of that last episode that has often accounted for why Galactica fans still harbored so much hope for a revival/reunion project that sadly we were never given.

  59. Worth

    Everyone is certainly entitled to their preferences, but the notion that today's television is somehow inferior to what came before, or that today's writers and actors are lazier than their predecessors, is absurd.

    I wish I could share that sentiment but I don't. Sorry, but for me, TV drama and comedy, for me at least ended during the 90s. My DVD/Blue-ray collection is composed of entirely 60s,70s and 80s material with only a handful of 90s shows chucked in. I don't think I own anything from the 2000s onwards!

  60. TV is very different these days but I wouldn't call it better or worse. I'm pleased that shows from all eras sit on my shelf or are available to stream depending on what I want to see at a given time. I enjoy a lot of different genres and types of shows. It isn't unusual for me to watch an episode of The Fugitive and follow it up with something off Amazon such as Bosch. I like chocolate ice cream, but I wouldn't want it every day. ( Actually that isn't true but my wife would frown if I ate it every day.):)

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