Decades

One of the worst things about being sick is the lack of energy.  For me, this translates into watching more tv than usual, which is difficult for me because at any given minute, I can’t find anything worth my time.  I detest reality tv – all of it.  I also don’t like shows in which competitors are thrown off (which is all the dancing shows, lots of the cooking shows and the grand-daddy of them all: Survivor.  I don’t like most cop shows – too dark and intense.  Ixnay on most situation comedies and sports doesn’t do it for me either.

If you tally this up, about the only tv left is nostalgia tv… those couple of stations that are re-running shows from “the good ole days”.   Perry Mason, Barney Miller, Andy Griffth, even MacGyver – I’ll watch these any time instead of American Ninja Warrior or Judge Judy.

In addition to the couple of already existing channels, there’s another one that has shown up the last couple of months. They caught my eye last week with the made-for-tv Perry Mason movies and a lot of old Dick Cavett shows from the 80s.  I ended up watching Perry Mason ALL weekend.  They also run Laugh-in, Wonder Woman, Gunsmoke and even Kung Fu, which I haven’t seen for decades.

So why am I willing to watch all these old shows again? Do I yearn for my youth? Am I too old-fashioned for today’s tv trends?

31 thoughts on “Decades”

  1. i agree and end up watching too much tv and enjoying it but much is old tv

    leave it to beaver and andy griffith are favorites we watch lots of turner classic movie channel, i have movies in record mode stashed for a time when there is nothing that’s on
    i also have newly found netflix and amazon shows that have many seasons to catch up on
    suits. frankie and grace, mozart in the jungle, the latest is stranger things a great scary show with winona rider
    i was just thinking they finally have enough freedom with netflix and amazon that the are going some good stuff but i don’t have time to watch
    i still hope to get to the english castle show you all enjoy but too much gets in my way
    i also like perry mason and at night the follow that with twilight zone and alfred hitchcock
    the documentaries on pbs and films on amc sundance and other plus i like gu smoke and bonanza of old
    sunday is shot with cbs sunday morning and face the nation eating my am but now football is done so i can have an afternoon
    i even haves list of mindless activity like shooting pictures of the hats and sports coats i sell on ebay while turner classic is showing casablanca and some like it hot
    i have a life of plenty on tv like you have on your book list
    that plus my podcasts in the car of ted and on being, i’m booked my edx courses are way too far down on the list to get binge educated
    different strokes
    decade tv i think is the channel you mentioned with laugh in and the old stuff
    good old fashioned story telling
    fiction and nonfiction
    skip reality and crime there is stil some stuff of interest for me

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  2. I have an unusual problem with nostalgia TV. I can’t enjoy it now as vs does because I never watched it the first time around. If you didn’t experience something, you don’t get nostalgic about it.

    My family watched a bit of TV in the 1950s. We enjoyed I Love Lucy, Mr. Peepers, Omnibus and a few other shows. But TV was wretched in the 1950s and our local station didn’t carry much of it. (That’s like the famous complaint about the restaurant that has horrible food . . . “and the portions are so small.”)

    I watched virtually no television in the 1960s, the exceptions being a few CBS documentaries and The Muppet Show. I never saw Leave It to Beaver or Andy Griffith or any other shows. As I recall, I began watching TV in 1971 when PBS came out with Upstairs Downstairs. On the whole, I don’t think I missed much.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    This is another interesting post to me. I think you are willing to watch these old shows because you are sick and bored and what else do you do when you need to rest a lot? I can only read so many books when ill–it takes a very intriguing book to engage me for hours, and only a few books meet that standard.

    I watch old shows for several reasons:

    Barney Miller: fabulous dialogue and characters
    The West Wing: Oh I wish it was really like this
    Bonanza: I try to identify the emerging actors of the time who played Native Americans while made up in dark, unnatural colors. That makes me laugh. I also enjoy noticing the women who are Cartwright girlfriends and their predictable deaths.
    Taxi: Watching Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, and Andy Kaufman.
    Andy Griffith: Pure comic chemistry and timing. And comfort.
    Rockford Files: James Garner was sure handsome.

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  4. As much as I enjoyed the old shows, I don’t find them as interesting anymore. I do enjoy some of the current TV shows — not too many. Mainly Netflix stuff. But yeah, they are more dark, intense, complex and unpredictable with more dramatic stuff going on, and the writing is more interesting than the somewhat predictable fare of the older shows. It’s probably more to do with how the medium is maturing and broaching new subject matter.
    Although I do remember the shows like “All in the Family”, “The Jeffersons”, etc., that did start to deal with difficult subjects with grace and humor. Plus, the outstanding actors like Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton that could bring the subtleties of a character to life.

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  5. Lots of folks like you, VS. Too much on TV now is just filler because stations must provide 24 hrs of TV to generate enough ad revenue to survive. And not much is cheaper than putting on a reality show with “real people” rather than highly paid actors and writers. I’m with you 99% as far as reality shows goes. My exceptions are non-competitive food shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; and the four major golf tournaments–especially the Masters. Now THAT’s a reality show! 🙂

    There’s a certain comfort derived from watching a favorite show repeatedly. You know within the first few minutes if you like the episode you’re watching, so you know you won’t waste time on a bad show. Old sitcoms provide much needed reliable laughter rather than trusting a current show to provide a belly laugh when it may be super-difficult to even relate to the characters.

    My wife loves reruns of all sorts of her favorite shows for their value as background noise when she’s quilting or embroidering or just doing her damn online jigsaw puzzles or solitaire. I don’t get it because I’m not a great multi-tasker with TV as the second component.

    But I can watch Simpson’s reruns endlessly and laugh just as hard now as I did the first time I saw the episode.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  6. I haven’t started any new series on network TV for a long time. Never watched any of the reality shows, except one years ago that was called Sing-Off. It featured a lot of a cappella groups.

    I like to watch some of the old sitcoms from the 70’s. I liked M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, the Bob Newhart show.

    I watch some of the PBS series, especially on Sundays. I remember there was a Masterpiece Theatre back in the late 70’s or early 80’s about Lillie Langtry – I wouldn’t mind seeing that one again. I should see if Netflix has it.

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  7. I’d guess you, like a lot of baboons, are not in synch with today’s trends, VS. Maybe you’re old-fashioned, too, but most current shows are either very dark or very competitive.
    .
    I was able to get the Decades channel in the cities and would watch Barney Miller sometimes, whatever was the binge at the moment for one or two episodes. We chose the most basic of TV options here, and Decades isn’t among the offerings.

    So I watch mainly PBS, and I even skip the later seasons of things like Grantchester and (gasp!) Poldark – if I see that I’m gong to have to clear the calendar for 8 or 9 consecutive Sunday/Wednesday (choir and band practice) nights, and it’s just too stressful. 🙂 The ones I don’t skip are The Durrells in Corfu, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Doc Martin. and I check in on Victoria sometimes. I just looked, and it appears that my favorite, Home Fires, won’t have a third season.

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    1. You can watch at least some of those PBS shows online, BiR, if you do it within a week or so of the original broadcast. That way you can pick your own time to watch Poldark or whatever (at least within that week).

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  8. Like Steve, I didn’t watch much TV as a child. I was always clueless when other kids at school would talk about the various shows they watched; we didn’t even watch Saturday morning cartoons. My mom was far from strict in other ways, but she did limit our TV watching severely. Good for her.

    So I don’t know why you like watching those old shows; I guess it could be comforting because they’re familiar and it doesn’t take much energy (mental or physical) to watch them. Me, when I’m sick, I want to lie in bed and look through a kaleidoscope, because that was my favorite thing in the “sick in bed box” that we had when I was a kid.

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  9. I’m with you; I don’t bother to watch reality TV.
    There are a few modern shows we watch because the writing and characters are so good.
    I really relate to ‘The Middle’.
    We like ‘Speechless’ (course we can relate to some of it. I guess that’s true of most shows; if you relate to it, you’ll like it.)
    Modern Family, and a new one, ‘Kevin (almost) saves the world’ is fun.

    Kelly and Amelia are hooked on ‘The Good Doctor’ but to me, it’s another one of those shows, I don’t want to spare the time to get hooked.

    I love old movies and some of the old TV shows. Typically the writing was so much better! The dialogue! The WITTY dialogue!

    Just yesterday I was able to upgrade our internet. We’re still slow (12Mps) but at least we’re not limited to 25MB / month anymore. It’s 150GB / month now! For 1/2 the price!
    Honestly, any of these services, cell phone, internet, the programs change and if you don’t keep looking, you end up paying more and more because they’ll never tell you about a lower price option.

    We may still not be streaming much for speed reasons, but at least we can watch some You Tube without blowing over.
    Small victories!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You consider 12 mbps slow? Mine is 1.5 mbps. Faster than dialup, but glacial by most people’s standards. Still, if I ask them what it would cost me to upgrade, it’s always about $40 or $50 extra a month.

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  10. I remember watching PBS as I got ready for school when I was in High School. Anybody remember Sunrise Semester, a series of college lectures? Lilias, Yoga, and You? I also got a kick out of a show South Dakota Public TV put on, which was a bunch of dumpy old Nebraska Extension agents answering gardening questions submitted by listeners.

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  11. Most of TV is a waste – especially the reality and game shows (Jeopardy! being the one exception). My go to channels are TCM and PBS. Masterpiece and Great Performances have provided me with so many great shows (The Jewel in the Crown, To Serve Them All My Days, Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited, Danger UXB to name but a few) plus their wonderful mysteries (Vera, Foyle’s War, all three of the Morse series, Prime Suspect, etc.). And, of course, the Ken Burns documentaries. I will watch some sports on commercial or cable TV. I do sometimes watch the nostalgia shows. The Carol Burnett skits still make me laugh. Mom really liked to watch Andy Griffith, Bonanza, and M*A*S*H – I saw quite a few episodes during her last months when I spent a lot of time with her. I think I am too old fashioned for most of today’s police procedurals and shows of similar ilk. The quick cuts, noise, and violence are just too much. Give me shows with good intelligent dialog, characters you can really care about, and a plot that can actually be followed logically.

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  12. OT – We have a young man from Lake City, Iowa over for dinner tonight. A completely random “friend” Hans picked up through selling some of his kayaking gear through Craigslist about nine months ago. He and Adam have been corresponding ever since, and he will be joining Hans to do some woodwork at Will Steger’s homestead in early March.

    Adam is in town as part of a crew installing a new organ, built by his employer, in a South Minneapolis Church. He’s in his early twenties, an organist, organ builder and just delightful. In a few minutes he’ll be playing our electronic keyboard for us. Right now he’s upstairs downloading some sheet music. No TV for us tonight, that’s for sure.

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