Does anyone else enjoy watching old shows, from their childhood or even older than that? I watch more classic television than I do current shows. Sitcoms that were already old and in syndication when I was a boy, the western series I used to love after school, the seventies crime-dramas we watched with mom.
I'm currently watching The Bob Newhart Show. It premiered when I was six and went off the air when I was twelve. My family watched it and I remember laughing a lot at Howard, but I don't think I was savvy to Bob Newhart's low-key humor until later when I was older and watched his Newhart series. I'm loving this show and my childhood crush on Suzanne Pleshette has been rekindled.
Next I'm going to binge The Rockford Files.
It'd be seen as striking back against "woke culture".
The way this septic isle is going I won’t be surprised if reruns of Love Thy Neighbour etc aren’t just around the corner.
I've never seen 'Til Death Do Us Part. Watching an episode right now on youtube. It's weird seeing these unknown characters that I know so well. The physical resemblance between Edith Bunker and Elsie Garnett is incredible.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, I still revere All In The Family and can watch it without being offended by all the bigotry because I'm fairly certain that everyone watching it understood that the entire premise of the show was to ridicule bigotry and reveal the ignorance of Archie Bunker.
I've just finished the entire run of Barney Miller, a favorite in our family when I was growing up. It's still funny and the cast was great, but the amount of stereotypical jokes aimed at Harris, the only black detective, Yemena, a Japanese detective and, to a lesser extent, the Polish Wojciehowicz, was astounding. They were gratuitous jokes that lent nothing to the stories and, looking back on it now, tarnish the rest of the otherwise great scripts.
Oh, and of course Married With Children (hence the avatar). Trail blazing comedy TV in completely inverting the standard sitcom family trope.
To the point of the original post... nothing puts a smile on my face more than stumbling across an episode of Happy Days, Mork And Mindy or Different Strokes. Infact, three or four years ago when our TV networks first started using all their extra available digital channels, one of them started showing old Different Strokes episodes and I came across something I wasn't really aware of previously... the Clarence Clemons episode.
I may have brought this up on a similar thread back on the Oily Pond many years ago, it does ring a bell, but we had some interesting stuff on our TV screens back in the beginning. The beginning being 1975, when we first had television in SA. I think some test broadcasts were run in 1974 but actual programming started the following year. One channel, 17h30 to (I think) midnight. Each night it would alternate, English first, then after the news at 8 Afrikaans, the next night vice versa. No ethnic languages or programmes were included until many years later. Also, in those early years, we had no adverts or commercials.
The state owned and run broadcaster unsurprisingly had a heavy hand in what we were allowed to see. Because of sanctions, we saw little British television. I first saw Fawlty Towers, for example, in the Eighties on VHS as shorts you could hire when you also rented a new release movie.
We got American programmes, but in hindsight most of it was old, from the Sixties and Seventies. Also, much of it was dubbed into Afrikaans… Now, they brought in some shows from places like Germany and other European countries, and dubbed these into Afrikaans, which kind of made sense. But American into Afrikaans when we had an English community? Well, the Afrikaner government was in charge, after all.
In the Eighties it got marginally better, we got a few more channels, and they introduced ‘simulcast’, which was where you could pick up the original English soundtrack on a radio frequency… that was cool.
But we still had to endure stuff like ‘Spioen-Spion’ (Spy Spy) which was actually a show called The Scarecrow & Mrs. King.
Simon & Simon stayed Simon & Simon, surprisingly. I remember a movie called Flatbed Annie & Sweetie Pie, about female truckers, dubbed into ‘Platvoet Annie en Soetkoekie’ (flat foot Annie and sweet cakes)
Thankfully stuff like Dallas stayed Dallas… Even if we saw it roughly 2 years after the rest of the world did. I remember it got to the point where the night it was aired (Tuesday?) restaurants would close as they would have no customers…
I do also recall that we sat, as a family, at the dining room table and had dinner. After, my dad turned on the wireless and we listened to radio dramas while he played cards on the table... Until we got TV. Then we ate dinner on our laps watching whatever dreck was on that little black and white screen. Oh yes, colour TV was around at the beginning, I think, but it was prohibitively expensive.
Good times...! 😂
I catch a lot of racism in all the old shows.
When my oldest kids were younger, I showed them a handful of shows like The Honeymooners, The Dick van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch, because I thought they were important for historical context and cultural literacy. I also showed them a handful of Monty Python's Flying Circus and Twilight Zones and a lot of MASH.
With my younger kids, it's been pretty much just the Python, Twilight Zone and MASH. To my surprise, the Twilight Zone has in many ways aged the best, followed by MASH, followed by Python. The sexual politics of MASH are sometimes completely abysmal, especially in the earlier years. Meanwhile, the Pythons surely do love their blackface and brownface. I don't think it would quite be accurate to call myself a Python fanatic, but I'm not far off...but damn (HOT TAKE INCOMING) some of the show is nearly unwatchable now. (Even as most of it's still absolutely brilliant, as are the films.)
I want to do that, but I'm wary of doing so because a lot of old TV shows I used to love, have not aged well.