Best decade for television?

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matmico399
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Best decade for television?

Postby matmico399 » March 28th, 2017, 4:06 pm

I am not talking quantity of channels in the conversation. There are obv tons of channels for viewing now. I'm speaking of overall quality content.

For me it would be the 1960's. The Twilight Zone, Andy Griffith, The Rifleman, Bonanza just to name a few. The 1970's would probably be second for me.

Thoughts?

Robotrek
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby Robotrek » March 28th, 2017, 9:35 pm

I'd go with the 60's as well, followed by the 90's (where sitcoms were at their height). The 80's was pretty cool for talk shows, or "trash tv" (Morton Downy Jr. can be thanked for that, discovered him when he grilled Ron Paul).

jon
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby jon » March 29th, 2017, 11:25 pm

Gosh that's a good question. I'd love to hear input from some of the older members of the forum. I'm "only" in my mid 30's (ouch). But, I'll go with the 90's. Once upon a time MTV was awesome.

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Atariboy
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby Atariboy » March 30th, 2017, 8:37 am

1960's for sure. Heck, I'd even go as far as to pick a best year, with the transition year of 1965 taking the crown for television's best.

We still had a lot of the high brow dramas that so impressed early 1960's television viewers, the goofy sitcoms of the latter half of the decade were starting to appear while we still had traditional family sitcoms like The Donna Reed Show on the air, many programs appeared in color for the first time that season and some old classics had one last fling in B&W like The Dick Van Dyke Show's final season, and a lot of old stalwarts were still on the air and ending their runs (Or in the case of My Three Sons, Bonanza and Gunsmoke, getting their 2nd winds that saw them live on well into the 1970's).

Just look at the representation 1965 has on DVD/Blu-Ray. 46 seasons are out in their entirety for prime time American television that season (45 if we don't count the upcoming Coronet Blue that was just announced for DVD; Produced for airing in the 1965 tv season, the network sat on it until 1967). Excluding variety shows and game shows, we're only missing a relatively small number of programs, and several of these stand a good chance at appearing before physical media disappears.

Missing from 1965...

Sitcoms: Wackiest Ship in the Army, Farmer's Daughter (S3), The John Forsythe Show, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (S1), Ozzie and Harriet (S14), O,K. Crackerby, Double Life of Henry Phyfe, My Three Sons (S6), Mona McCluskey, The Smothers Brothers Show, Camp Runamuck, Mr. Roberts.

Dramas: Trials of O'Brien, The Long Hot Summer, Lassie (S12), Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre (S3), The Blue Light, 12 O'Clock High, Ben Casey (S5), Run For Your Life (S1), Amos Burke Secret Agent, Slattery's People (S2), Convoy.

Westerns: A Man Called Shenandoah, The Legend of Jesse James, The Loner.

While a handful of these are pretty obscure like Mona McCluskey, it's hard to imagine some of these not making their way out before the end, such as My Three Sons. Still a staple of classic television stations, the 1965 season was one of the program's best for this long running sitcom that premiered in 1960 and ran for 12 seasons (And which like so many other shows, made the transition to color in 1965 with the switch from ABC to CBS for this season).

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Retro STrife
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby Retro STrife » March 30th, 2017, 9:39 am

Usually with these types of questions, people will say the era they grew up in. Ask the same question about music or video games and you'll get the same type of answer. It's easy to think fondly of the "good ol' days". If we're being realistic though, we're living in the best era for TV. Sure, there's tons of trash on TV too (that's inevitable when you now have hundreds and hundreds of channels that must be filled with content), but the best of the best in the past 10 years is better than the best of the best from prior eras. Maybe not in every genre, but overall. As one example, even though it's not my favorite show, I think objectively that Breaking Bad is the best TV drama ever made. Game of Thrones isn't too far behind it.

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Atariboy
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby Atariboy » March 30th, 2017, 10:30 am

In 50 years, we'll see how much of today's television content is still getting some attention. I doubt it will have the longevity of that produced 50 years ago.

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scotland
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby scotland » March 30th, 2017, 11:42 am

Retro STrife wrote: If we're being realistic though, we're living in the best era for TV. Sure, there's tons of trash on TV too (that's inevitable when you now have hundreds and hundreds of channels that must be filled with content), but the best of the best in the past 10 years is better than the best of the best from prior eras. Maybe not in every genre, but overall.


Shows made today have advantages such as larger budgets, better effects, diversity in lots of ways from actors to plots, sex, violence, complex characters, complex plots, and especially telling long form stories. We did get some of that in the past, mainly from the BBC, but by and large, long story arcs work better today because of recording tech so viewers can catch up if they miss an episode.

One of the best parts of yesteryear were that shows had a very big social aspect. With so few channels, and no recording technology, every show was must see tv. One chance to see the Beatles on Sullivan, or Who Shot JR, but even everyday episodes could be special because it was one and done. Shows like Perry Mason made new episodes every week - no reruns until they went into syndication. Shows in syndication all became Shows You Know by Heart. Ask a person of a certain age to 'Sit right back and you'll hear a tale' and you'll have them singing the whole song.

Another big thing for the past were shows were happier. That sounds silly maybe, but the big shows of today tend toward being violent and depressing shows that seem to value being able to shock audiences. Compare Battlestar Galactica from the 70s to 2000s, or Kolchak the Night Stalker to The Walking Dead. I like the Walking Dead, but the unrelenting gloom is also horrrible storytelling.

Finally, the growth of tv has given us lots of cartoons, but kids lost "Saturday Morning". The block from 8am to about 11 used to be given up to kids not going outside to play, but curled up with cereal and toys and watching tv.

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velcrozombie
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby velcrozombie » March 30th, 2017, 11:47 am

Retro STrife wrote:Usually with these types of questions, people will say the era they grew up in. Ask the same question about music or video games and you'll get the same type of answer. It's easy to think fondly of the "good ol' days". If we're being realistic though, we're living in the best era for TV. Sure, there's tons of trash on TV too (that's inevitable when you now have hundreds and hundreds of channels that must be filled with content), but the best of the best in the past 10 years is better than the best of the best from prior eras. Maybe not in every genre, but overall. As one example, even though it's not my favorite show, I think objectively that Breaking Bad is the best TV drama ever made. Game of Thrones isn't too far behind it.


I think that in the future people are still going to be watching The Wire, Deadwood, Mad Men and The Sopranos with the same reverence they watch something like MASH or The Twilight Zone or All in the Family today. I think TV has lost its stigma and has become the home of adult storytelling as mainstream cinema has pushed out medium-budget films in favor of the big franchises and summer blockbuster-style films that can be sold to audiences across the globe. Streaming services (and their need for original content) have provided another avenue for serialized stories with more creative freedom as well.

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scotland
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby scotland » March 30th, 2017, 12:26 pm

All in the Family is an example (in my opinion) of an acclaimed socially conscious even era defining show that few people go back to watch anymore. I don't think anyone cared to watch it even in the 1980s. It was so of the day, that the day passed.

I think many of these modern shows may suffer that same fate. That doesn't mean they are not great shows, but their very success locks them to when they were new. Also, shows with long story arcs may not age as well as reset button shows, or anthologies like The Twilight Zone.

Only time will tell.

Alucard1191
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Re: Best decade for television?

Postby Alucard1191 » March 30th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Great topic! And honestly I'm going to go with more recent, like 2005 and beyond. That time frame is when many shows started becoming genuinely intelligent. The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc. The storylines have gotten much better compared to older shows.

Watch Three's Company, Giligan's Island, Bewitched, or I Dream of Genie. These are all absolutely beloved shows, but watch the episodes close together? And oh my god, you'll see literally the same episodes over and over again. That could work before the era of mass easily recorded media, but the modern age really punishes 'filler' episodes. (Modern age meaning post-2000. Even VCRs didn't really slow that theme down. The 90's shows, like Stargate, Friends, Etc. Do similar episode repeating things like the 60's and 70's did.)

Now that story line HAS to happen in every show, I think it makes shows more solid overall.

Of course, the flip side of that is that reality TV has really taken off as well, which has very much of a dumbing down effect on the populace.

Anyway, nut shell is I second that we're probably living in one of the golden ages of entertainment. Especially if you know where to look.


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