Archive | Featured articles

Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


March 27, 2008

What's your favourite TV decade? And how did you get to see it?

Posted on March 27, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

 

At first sight, this looks like a meme. And it is. Sort of. But it's also about something that's been concerning me of late: the youth of today. Ah, I must be getting old if I'm getting concerned about the youth of today – and using the phrase "the youth of today". It's a short step to the Daily Telegraph from here.

What's your favourite TV decade? In other words, which decade produced the television you love the most? Maybe it was the 60s with its escapism and gritty social realism, all rolled into one. Maybe it was the bleak 70s, or the action-packed 80s? It might even be the 90s, when US television really got into quality products for the first time.

But the second part of the question is slightly different: how did you get to see that TV?

I'm gambling that, to a certain extent, most people's favourite TV decade – if they have a favourite decade – will be the time in which they were growing up. If they were young in the 80s, they probably fondly remember 80s TV. And so on.

But there will be a few who will cite an earlier time, and probably a few who will say that the current programmes on TV are the best we've ever had. I'm very fond of 1960s and 1970s, even though I was either too young to have seen very much of it or I hadn't even been born yet – and there's a whole load of 1950s TV that's very good, too.

I grew up in the 80s when there were just four TV channels available to most people. Back then, network programmers had no problem with sticking old programmes and movies on at primetime. Channel 4 stuck The Addams Family, Car 54 Where Are You?, The Munsters, and The Abbott and Costello Show on at 5pm on weekdays, and The Avengers on at night. BBC2 was quite happy to repeat The Invaders, the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, the Falcon and the Saint movies, and more at 6pm of an evening. ITV littered its daytime schedules with The Sandbaggers and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and stuck The Baron, The Champions and Thunderbirds on at the weekends. And BBC1 would trawl out Bonanza on a Sunday afternoon. That's how I got introduced to the TV classics of the past – as well as a few old bits of rubbish.

Nowadays, you can get all of this on DVD, of course, and with multi-channel TV, there are networks more or less dedicated to old faves: ITV4 is a haven for all those ITC shows (R&H (Deceased), Space: 1999, The Champions and The Prisoner are all on right now); there's the Bonanza Channel (or used to be at least) for anyone wanting to catch Lorne Greene before he boarded the original Battlestar Galactica; and BBC4 will occasionally dredge something up from the archives for a brief season (Steptoe and Son, recently, or Doctor Who, starting on the 5th April).

But not the terrestrial channels. More to the point, you have to go looking for this stuff: it's not right there in front of you when you turn on the TV. Which is all well and good, but how – and this is my big point – are the youth of today going to ever see any of their TV heritage and become interested in it? How will they ever experience the thrills of The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone or The Night Gallery? How will they know the joy of Mrs Peel and Steed's interplay, Carter and Regan's bad driving, or the simple happiness of life in Camberwick Green and Trumpton?

Obviously, learning French, reading classics of literature, and getting a fair understanding of physics, chemistry and biology so they can laugh at homeopaths, particularly French homeopaths, are far more important than tele. But whole lot of effort, expertise, creativity and passion went into creating these old shows, some of which are infinitely superior to their modern successors. Who wouldn't want the original Invaders over its remake, for example? Or, indeed, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) - shame on you Vic and Bob. Some of the shows are historical documents in their own rights and are referenced in books and films of the time; some even changed society altogether. And I think it would be a shame to forget that heritage, just as it would be a shame to forget the literature of the 1960s, say.

Is it going to take parents forcing DVDs on their kids or locking every channel except the nostalgia channels to teach them TV history – not that that's a particularly good way to enthuse kids about anything? Now that MOMI's gone we no longer have the equivalent of New York's Paley Center so that's not an option. Worse still, are the youth of today just never going to be able to relate to old TV, any more than most people can relate to classics of Victorian literature? Should we just let ephemeral old TV disappear into the ether and live in the now?

What do you think?

Read other posts about: , , ,

March 26, 2008

Season finale: Jericho

Posted on March 26, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The final episode of Jericho

So it's all over. It was cancelled; it was renewed after a peanut-based fight back; now Jericho's been cancelled again, after a second season of just seven episodes.

Was all that effort worth it? Has this last mini-season left Jericho a better show than it was at the end of its first season?

On the whole, I'd say yes.

Continue reading "Season finale: Jericho"

Read other posts about:

March 26, 2008

Review: Miss Guided 1x1-1x3

Posted on March 26, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Miss GuidedA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

A third-episode verdict without a first-episode review? What's going on here? 

Well, if certain US networks want to air their new comedy shows so quickly that I haven't even finished watching the first episodes before the third episodes have come and gone (and the show's been cancelled in the case of The Return of Jezebel James), what do they expect?

It saves a bit of time, mind.

Anyway: Miss Guided.

Did you like school? Yes?

You jock douchebag. School sucked. Everyone knows that.

Of course, if you knew then what you know now, it would have been so much easier for you to survive its many trials, wouldn't it? So here's a question: would you go back to your old High School as a teacher and conquer those demons? And have you really changed as much as you think you have?

Continue reading "Review: Miss Guided 1x1-1x3"

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398  

Featured Articles

Marvel's Iron Fist

Season two of Daredevil but done right