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Old, Beloved TV Shows: Still Watchable Or Wince Worthy?

2013 tv

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#1 Lin731

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

I have been revisiting some of the shows I loved when I was younger and it's funny how some are still very watchable and some just make you wince and wonder what you were smoking to think that has a good show. So what are some of your "still watchables and now Wince Worthy picks from your old favorites.

For me, Still watchable:
MASH
Cheers
Frazier
Friends
Buffy
Angel
China Beach
Everybody Loves Raymond
Te Dick Van Dyke Show
Full House
Dallas
Any of the Star Trek series
Bab 5
Twilight Zone
Night Gallery
That 70's Show

Wince Worthy:
Xena
Partirage Family
Brady Bunch
Happy Days
Charlies Angels
Kolchak the night stalker
Moonbase Alpha
Dukes of Hazard
ATeam
Family Ties
Wonder Woman
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#2 Josh

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

As a general rule, the sitcoms have held up better than the dramas. There's something universal about good comedy, no matter when it was made. A lot of the hour-long shows I once liked feel very dated these days (like Star Trek: The Next Generation and dare I admit it, Quantum Leap).
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#3 Mary Rose

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:56 PM

In general, I still like what I've always liked.  Maybe the only thing I would cringe at now is Hercules, but that has more to do with Kevin Sorbo and his part in what happened to Andromeda than anything that the show itself did.  I mean people seem to revile Gilligan's Island and Charlies Angels and i still love those shows as much as I ever did.

Edited by Mary Rose, 30 January 2013 - 09:58 PM.

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#4 Bobby

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:48 PM

I will always love Star Trek, but dear lord, watching some episodes make me wonder why I like it.  The sad part is when I think about how I used to be on the edge of my seat when new episodes came on.  The worst for me is Deep Space Nine, I enjoyed it when it first came on but now Avery Brooks acting technique throws me out of every scene, as do Jake scenes.  Data and Wesley were my two favorite TNG characters and now they are annoying.  I rewatched Descent parts 1 & 2 a few weeks ago and it wasn't riveting, it was laughable.  A lot of shows reach a point where the plot gets formulaic and the actors get too secure in their jobs so they don't even bother to work for it.  

I haven't seen it in a long time but I'm sure Perfect Strangers would be god awful to me now.  Balkey(sp?) would be annoying as hell.  
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Edited by Bobby, 30 January 2013 - 10:50 PM.


#5 Mark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:48 AM

Mark: Within the last month (as I watched marathons of these two shows) I noted how well, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek (TOS) have held up against time.

The Star Trek spinoffs do not hold up as well in my opinion...especially most episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Much of the show's date ability comes from the early 90's-looking costumes, IMO. The plot formula also became mostly predictable. The exceptions from the show being dated are the episodes where the typical costuming and typical story formula were not used...and many of those episodes have become fan favorites...like my personal favorite, The Inner Light (Wiki-link).
As noted below in the Wikipedia excerpt (that I just gave the link to), the other Hugo award winning episodes from all the Star Trek series seem to be where much of the show is filmed away from the ship, and had unusual costuming.

(Re: The Inner Light):

Quote

This episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[12] The award was given at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Francisco. "The Inner Light" was the first television program to be so honored since the original Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" won in 1968. The other Hugo Award-winning Star Trek episodes are "The Menagerie" (the only two-part episode of the original series) and "All Good Things..." (the series finale for The Next Generation).

The episode is considered by fans to be the most touching of the series' episodes, along with the similar Family episode. It is the favorite episode of actors Patrick Stewart,[13] who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Wil Wheaton, who played Ensign Wesley Crusher. Star Trek writer Susan Sackett notes that it is also her favorite episode even though it's not one she wrote.[14] "The Inner Light" was ranked among the top five episodes in a "viewers' choice" marathon that was broadcast just prior to the premiere of the series finale.[15]

The Twilight Zone episodes...my take on why that series holds up so well for me, is the genius of Rod Serling and his co-writer's writing. They often used timeless themes, like human greed, and many other human faults. Also, Serling incorporated many of his own life's experiences into many of the episodes (which is bound to make it more realistic). Being filmed in black and white may seem to many as if it would date the show, however I have a different perspective on that. Maybe the series itself is somewhat dated because of being filmed in black and white, but because the actors/actresses generally wore mostly classic-type clothing, the black and white film actually hides the would-be-dated colors of the time the series was filmed, which may have dated the show even more. If viewers can get over the fact that the show is in black and white, and there are few very dated space costumes and special effects, the themes and stories (in general) of the show are timeless. I will concede there are occasionally VERY wince-worthy moments in, The Twilight Zone series, but for the most part, they're timeless in their stories, and costumes. Again, you have to stay away from the dated space suit episodes.

I also think Cheers will hold up for a long time to come just because it's set in a bar (bars have been around forever), and most of it's story-themes seem to be dealing with human nature and interactions. Again, only what the characters wear will affect the timelessness of that series.
My same feelings of timelessness go out to MASH. Mash, needs a digital makeover for the quality of the film and for enhancements of the colors, much like the Star Trek episodes have gotten recently online. The original Star Trek holds up because of good acting (at least most of the time) and the very excellent writing. It's downfalls are mostly the dated special effects, and the occasional 60's-era colors in the costuming.  Star Trek was just ahead of it's time in many of it's ideas, and implementations, and I think those things also help keep it watchable, at least more so than it's younger spin-offs.

Another science fiction series that I'm predicting will still be watchable for another 20-30 years, and is somewhat timeless, is, Farscape. The costuming and special effects for that series were outstanding, and their story themes of good vs. evil is also a timeless thing.

Although many of the other series you mentioned are still "watchable" to me, for the most part they are still somewhat dated, and that will only get worse with time. Perhaps that will make many, or even most of them wince-worthy for me in the not-too-distant future.

I'll mention something Mary Rose and I seem to have in common. For the most part, I still like the shows I've always liked. Even though Star Trek: The Next Generation is very dated, I can still watch it and like it. I never liked, Dukes of Hazard (except for Daisy). Although I don't enjoy most series' rerun episodes as much as I did in their first run (that can be said for most shows), there are exceptions to enjoying the show less while watching their reruns. For me, those will be the shows that are timeless. Star Trek, is one of those series. There are also a  few of the western genre series that seem timeless to me, and I can still enjoy watching, like Bonanza, and Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke, was produced for 20 television seasons (1955 to 1975), airing a massive 635 episodes! In 2010, Law & Order tied Gunsmoke's 20 season U.S. record with 20 seasons of it's own, but it only aired 456 episodes. ONLY. ;)

Edited by Mark, 31 January 2013 - 01:02 PM.

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#6 NexusNine

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:02 AM

For the most part, I still like what I liked back in the day, but a few shows don't hold up as well as I thought they would for me.  

Voltron.  I still love it to this day, but man it doesn't hold up.  Like, not much at all.  The story sort of does, but the acting, especially in the early parts of season 1, just doesn't hold up.  It does get better and some of the later episodes hold up better.  But overall it doesn't hold up as well as it should.  

On the other hand, Robotech holds up remarkably well.  So well that it kind of astonishes me.  Even with all of its 1980s music and style, the general story and acting are still as good today as it ever has been.  I can watch this show over and over and never get tired of it.

Edited by NexusNine, 31 January 2013 - 01:05 AM.

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#7 Mark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

View PostNexusNine, on 31 January 2013 - 01:02 AM, said:

For the most part, I still like what I liked back in the day, but a few shows don't hold up as well as I thought they would for me.  

Voltron.  I still love it to this day, but man it doesn't hold up.  Like, not much at all.  The story sort of does, but the acting, especially in the early parts of season 1, just doesn't hold up.  It does get better and some of the later episodes hold up better.  But overall it doesn't hold up as well as it should.  

On the other hand, Robotech holds up remarkably well.  So well that it kind of astonishes me.  Even with all of its 1980s music and style, the general story and acting are still as good today as it ever has been.  I can watch this show over and over and never get tired of it.

Mark: I still love Robotech. It does hold up remarkably well.
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#8 gsmonks

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:21 AM

View PostLin731, on 30 January 2013 - 09:22 PM, said:

I have been revisiting some of the shows I loved when I was younger and it's funny how some are still very watchable and some just make you wince and wonder what you were smoking to think that has a good show. So what are some of your "still watchables and now Wince Worthy picks from your old favorites.

For me, Still watchable:
MASH
Cheers
Frazier
Friends
Buffy
Angel
China Beach
Everybody Loves Raymond
Te Dick Van Dyke Show
Full House
Dallas
Any of the Star Trek series
Bab 5
Twilight Zone
Night Gallery
That 70's Show

Wince Worthy:
Xena
Partirage Family
Brady Bunch
Happy Days
Charlies Angels
Kolchak the night stalker
Moonbase Alpha
Dukes of Hazard
ATeam
Family Ties
Wonder Woman

The first thing that comes to mind (forgive me!) is- GEEZE you watch a lot of television!

I can no longer watch Trek of any kind because I've changed- it no longer speaks to me. I like science fiction, but everyone seems to be writing science fantasy these days.

A lot of modern shows (Arrow, various vampire & supernatural shows) strike me as being written and watched by sheltered suburban teenagers and young adults playing at making a television series. I find them all a bit self-involved and out of touch with the real world.

They're not making television and movies for adults any more. The demographic is kids, teens and young adults. Even programmes and movies allegedly made for adults these days fall far short.

I'm frankly mystified when I see lineups of adults waiting to get in to see movies like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Are they trying to re-live what it was like to be twelve years old, or are they really that immature?
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#9 SparkyCola

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:47 AM

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ATeam

Nooo! I still love A-Team!

To be honest my older brothers taught me to identify cheese at a young age- so if I liked TNG at the time, it was despite it being cheesy, not an unawareness of it being cheesy. I always found Wesley wet and annoying, it's not a shock to me now that I'm older. So I essentially still like what I liked, and still dislike what I disliked. Hercules and Xena were never cutting edge - they were ALWAYS cheesy, and we would do our 'past selves' a disservice to sneer at our past tastes. We knew what they were - but something else about them appealed.

Usually it amazes me more what I think is going to be cringe-worthy and what actually holds up ok.

The A-Team is superb, imo. I don't think it's cringe-worthy at. all. :love:

If something is anchored in its own era - that doesn't bother me any more than Pride and Prejudice being anchored to its era does. It's part of it. It's the setting. I like "retro" TV, so I could list all the retro TV I love but I can't think of anything which I think is appalling now, but didn't think was appalling at the time.

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#10 Niko

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:22 AM

Some stuff that's been in my "tv show" queue on netflix lately:

Moonlighting & Remington Steele - Both hold up fairly well in terms of the charisma and witty banter of the duos.  With the "grittier" and/or more forensic-techno-babble investigation shows nowadays, the cases themselves seem laughably simplistic, but Moonlighting pulls it off fairly well.  Remington Steele... not quite as much, but I'm still fairly early in that series, so it might be usual first-season settling.   And my goodness, Stephanie Zimbalist was gorgeous in this show.  (Pierce Brosnan goes without saying. ;) )

Simon & Simon - I still looooove this one.  I guess it should have the same overly-simplistic issues, but it's played less to the camera... more natural sort of acting/directing or something(?)  I dunno, whatever it's doing differently, I think it helps keep it feeling more universal... less a child of the '80's.

Fame - Definitely in the cringeworthy category.  The only thing that salvages it for me are the interactions between the adult teachers.   (Miss Sherwood and Mr. Sharofsky, particularly... they're still fun to watch.)

The Monkees - Not particularly cringeworthy - what they're doing, they're doing well - but the wall-to-wall camp isn't really my cup of tea anymore.

Quantum Leap - I agree that it's a bit dated, but not so much so as to make it cringeworthy for me.  The thing that I can't stop thinking about when I watch is what would this show look like if it was being made today?  So much of it was driven by sheer volume of societal changes and upheaval that happened in the years Sam's leaping could cover.  I always wonder if there's be enough meaty social-type episodes out of Sam's lifespan if he were starting now.

Voyagers - Very cringeworthy... but I enjoyed it for the reminder of how charismatic Jon-Erik Hexum was on-screen.

Edited by Niko, 31 January 2013 - 10:23 AM.

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#11 The Tyrant

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

OCD moment...Moonbase Alpha is actually Space:1999. The plots might be cringe-worthy, but a lot of the special effects still hold up today, and are even prettier on Blu-Ray.
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#12 Themis

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:16 AM

I'm finding I still enjoy seeing shows that were favorites in their first runs, and that goes back a lot farther than for most of you.  Maybe I can just mentally take myself back to when I first saw something.  I have the first season of Fame and all of Quantum Leap and thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again.  Maybe because the social issues were part of my history as well as the people Sam leapt into.  I always liked John Schneider despite Dukes of Hazzard, not because of it, so the only thing I watched on those dvd's were the extras.  I got the first season of Remington Steele and I Spy and both took several episodes to get to eps I really enjoyed.  Took awhile to gel, I guess.  I'm loving rewatching all of Hercules - I just loved that world!  I plan to rewatch Xena next.

Two things date a tv show or movie for me and give me a jolt.  Anything set in an airport (no security, people dressing up to get on a plane, etc. etc.).  And phones.  Having to find phones to make a call; not being able to contact someone, that sort of thing.  The phone thing really dates detective type shows, but since it was the dialog I enjoyed most, they're still watchable.  But mostly airports.
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#13 Cardie

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

I watch tons of television but rarely go back to rewatch, particularly not shows from many decades ago.  Trek TOS will always hold up for me but I have no idea about the other shows I watched in the 60s and 70s because I've not gone back and seen episodes since then. I do rewatch movies and find that, except for cringe-worthy social attitudes, if I liked something when I was young, I still like it.
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#14 QuiGon John

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

Older shows that I loved and find still hold up relatively well:

Cheers (the early years more than the later ones), Night Court (ditto), Taxi, The Twilight Zone (if you accept it for what it is), Star Trek: TOS (ditto)

Shows I find ridiculously dated:

The Dick Van Dyke Show, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Star Trek spinoff shows (to varying degrees), all second-line comedies from the 80's (such as Who's the Boss or Growing Pains)

There are other examples, on both sides. Must ponder this further.

#15 cl05

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

View PostLin731, on 30 January 2013 - 09:22 PM, said:

I have been revisiting some of the shows I loved when I was younger and it's funny how some are still very watchable and some just make you wince and wonder what you were smoking to think that has a good show. So what are some of your "still watchables and now Wince Worthy picks from your old favorites.

For me, Still watchable:
MASH
Cheers
Frazier
Friends
Buffy
Angel
China Beach
Everybody Loves Raymond
Te Dick Van Dyke Show
Full House
Dallas
Any of the Star Trek series
Bab 5
Twilight Zone
Night Gallery
That 70's Show

Wince Worthy:
Xena
Partirage Family
Brady Bunch
Happy Days
Charlies Angels
Kolchak the night stalker
Moonbase Alpha
Dukes of Hazard
ATeam
Family Ties
Wonder Woman

While I agree with your still watchable, I disagree with you on Xena and ATeam. Those both hold up well for me.

Good topic. Should be interesting what others think too.

Edited by cl05, 31 January 2013 - 03:02 PM.


#16 Christopher

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

View PostThemis, on 31 January 2013 - 11:16 AM, said:

And phones.  Having to find phones to make a call; not being able to contact someone, that sort of thing.  The phone thing really dates detective type shows, but since it was the dialog I enjoyed most, they're still watchable.

"This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message; I'll get back to you." Beep!

Answering machines were pretty cutting-edge technology when The Rockford Files began, so it's kind of odd that the perennially broke Jim could afford one (and that he could afford to upgrade to a current Firebird every year -- they customized each year's model to look like the first one, but it was referenced as the current year's model in dialogue in the 5th or 6th season). What was really cool was this thing he carried in his pocket that he could use to check his messages remotely -- he'd call his machine and hold the little box up to the phone, and it would emit a sound that would trigger the machine to replay his messages. I think once he even made a tape recording of the sound given off by someone else's remote activator so he could hear their phone messages. Hacking, '70s style!

Edited by Christopher, 31 January 2013 - 03:36 PM.

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#17 gsmonks

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

Two shows I saw recently that had held up were Route 66 and The Defenders, "a Quinn Martin Production!"

Route 66 captured perfectly the REAL 1960's- the 60's as it was, not as it pretended to be. The Defenders was written by the same guy who wrote 12 Angry Men, and was every bit as good as Law & Order.

Both shows were for adults and weren't dumbed down.
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#18 BklnScott

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

Not sure what we're counting as old but a number of my favorites from the late 80s are still every bit as great today as they were back then - thirtysomething, for example.

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#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

If I liked it in the past, I like it now.  And that ranges from Star Trek and Twilight Zone to Gilligan's Island and Charlie's Angels (all of which I have on DVD).  I've always liked variety and wish there was more of it in contemporary entertainment.

I don't care at all about shows becoming dated because of technological or fashion changes.  Even when I was in grade school I was watching movies and serials from the 30s and 40s and reading books set farther back than that.  Starsky & Hutch isn't dated-- that's the setting.

And I hate this contemporary fashion of branding something "cheesy" because it has style. The current trend toward faux realism is what makes so much modern entertainment tedious.  Twilight Zone isn't cheesy. It's stylized. It has personality. It was written and designed and directed with artistry.  If the new TZ they're talking about comes to pass, it will no doubt be filmed in the same generic contemporary style that everything else is-- and even if it turns out to be a great show, it will still be inherently inferior to the original because of that.

View Postgsmonks, on 31 January 2013 - 01:21 AM, said:

I'm frankly mystified when I see lineups of adults waiting to get in to see movies like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Are they trying to re-live what it was like to be twelve years old, or are they really that immature?  
Maybe they're like me and managed to grow old while keeping their sense of wonder intact. It's not imagination and joy that's dragging down modern society, it's the pervasiveness of adolescent cynicism.
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#20 Lin731

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

Quote

The first thing that comes to mind (forgive me!) is- GEEZE you watch a lot of television!


LOL...I'm 50 years old and those shows cover a lot of years, from little kid to grown up and having kids but YES, I've watched some serious tv in my day.

Oh and whoever mentioned Night Court, LOVED that one!

Quote

While I agree with your still watchable, I disagree with you on Xena and ATeam.


Don't get me wrong, there are far more wince worthy than those two, for me the ATeam made my list because of the endless car/truck rollovers where no one is ever hurt, 50 rounds fired and no one is dead, let's turn a truck into a plane in under 3 hours kinda stuff. Xena...the early seasons I really liked but going back to watch the final few season *gag*. The whole "are they or aren't they lovers (Xena/Gabby and Xena/Aries) was so soppy and over-the-top.
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