Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rant #1,025: TV's Old Shows Are Its Best Shows

I love classic TV, and I love classic situation comedies.

They were well written, well cast, and they dealt with everyday problems that we all go through at one time or another.

Whether they were realistic or not was up to the viewer. But the values portrayed in these shows were those that I believe in, values that have helped shaped me to become an at least somewhat responsible adult.

And right now, there are a virtual cornucopia of channels on TV whose very backbone is based on these old shows, many in black and white.

First, you have MeTV, which shows a full range of not just sitcoms, but also dramatic shows from the 1950s to the 1970s.

You can watch shows like "Leave It To Beaver" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" on this channel, mixed in with shows like "MASH" and "Columbo."

Next, you can turn the channel to Antenna TV, which also has a full gamut of classic TV programming, mainly from the 1950s and 1960s, and later in the day, from the 1970s and early 1980s.

"The Monkees" and "Gidget" are standard fare on this station, and they mix in lots of movies from the era and other programming.

There are other channels that show classic TV through much of their programming day, and advertisers have seen that they can promote their products readily on these stations.

Word is that there are many more such channels in the works, and over the next few years, viewers will actually have a choice between stations that show specific eras of classic TV shows, from the 1950s to the 1980s.

That should be fun, and I am certainly looking forward to the 1960s channel, which hopefully will show my favorite sitcoms from the era I grew up in.

Right now, MeTV and Antenna TV certainly satiate my appetite for this type of programming.

Case in point is what happens during weekdays in my house.

As I am writing this, I am getting ready to record "My Three Sons," the classic TV sitcom,, starring Fred MacMurray, revolving around the Douglas family, first of fictional Bryant Park and later of California.

MeTV is currently showing the color episodes, the shows that ran on CBS from 1965 to 1972, when the family moved to California and they welcomed their first female member of the household, Katy, played by the beautiful Tina Cole.

The black and white episodes of this show, when it ran on ABC from 1960-1965, aren't part of this package, but to me, the color episodes are the real "classic" episodes of this sitcom, as these were the episodes I watched first-run when they were originally on.

Later on in the morning, before I go to work, I flip the channel to Antenna TV, and I record "Bachelor Father," starring John Forsythe, which concerns the Gregg family from Los Angeles.

When I say family, it really is the extended family of Greggs, as lawyer Bentley cares for his niece, Kelly, and the household is run by Peter, the house boy.

This show ran from 1957 to 1962, and it holds the distinction of being the only sitcom in TV history to be first run on all three networks. The show pretty much runs out of order on the station, so one day you get Kelly as an early teenager, the next day you get her as an engaged young lady.

Anyway, that is how it goes in my house every morning, one classic TV show after another, and it gives me something to watch when I get home from a busy day at work.

Why are these shows so popular?

I really believe that people today are searching for their values. Our world is so caught up in being politically correct all the time that we have lost that sense of wonder, that sense of the family unit, that sense of family, period.

The two shows I mentioned do not feature the typical families at its nucleus, but they are families nonetheless.

And while today's sitcoms feature families, they are more often than not completely dysfunctional. The humor is generally found in their faults, not their virtues.

I do believe that people are getting completely turned off by this stance, and are turning back to the shows they watched as younger people to get back to where they were and where they want to be today.

And that is why MeTV and Antenna TV are such popular stations, and a whole gamut of new stations just like them are being created to feed that thirst for not just classic TV, but classic values.

And that is good, isn't it?

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