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Why this is the Golden Age of television


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#1 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:54 AM

First, there are more great show available than ever, and all now in HD and most in 5.1.

Second, we are lucky to be living at a moment in time when we have the best drama ever on television, The Good Wife, and the best sitcom ever on television, Modern Family. Both at the same time.

Third, this moment won't last forever. The TV biz is slowly dying, and may suffer the same fate as the record industry, which is in a complete shambles. Netflix is Napsterizing it.
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#2 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

You're about 60 years late. The Golden Age of TV was the 1950s.
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#3 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

You're about 60 years late. The Golden Age of TV was the 1950s.


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#4 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

Hard to think of it as the golden age when we've got junk like Real Housewives, Jersey Shore or Honey Boo Boo. If any of those are cancelled, just replace them with a show that is on. I'm sure there are suitable replacements for the list :)

#5 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

You're about 60 years late. The Golden Age of TV was the 1950s.

Please.

If you could wave your little magic wand and go back there, would you?

To black and white, 4:3 aspect ratio, cameras the size of a Buick meaning you don't leave the studio, resolution so fuzzy it hurts your eyes, lights that melt the makeup, mono audio so tinny and noisy you can hardly hear it, no captioning, 3 channels on only part of the day (two in most of the country), no zoom lenses, no Steadicam, no 3D, no 4K, no geostationary satellite technology, and most importantly no DVRs?

I didn't think so. If J. Fred Muggs is your idea of a Golden Age (for those too lazy to google he was an actual chimpanzee that co-hosted the Today show) then don't let the doorknob hit you on your way back there.

Using that logic, the Spanish Inquisition was the Golden Age for the Catholic church.

Edited by TomCat, 29 January 2013 - 10:31 AM.

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#6 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:56 AM

Hard to think of it as the golden age when we've got junk like Real Housewives, Jersey Shore or Honey Boo Boo. If any of those are cancelled, just replace them with a show that is on. I'm sure there are suitable replacements for the list :)


And what are there, 20 or so different CSI versions on now? Plus all the L&O variations? At least in the 50s there was some creativity.


Shall we go into the Infomercials?

This is more like the Leaden Age.
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#7 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

Please.

If you could wave your little magic wand and go back there, would you?


I'm trying hard. Recording a lot of Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, (B&W) Dragnet, Racket Squad, Naked City, Sgt. Preston and anything else I can find on the air on the oldies channels. DVDs on the shelf include a collection of 50s cop shows, Wanted: Dead Or Alive and so on.

What special effect they used and stunts they did were real, not CGI. Suspense was done in the script writing, not by splashing blood all over the set and throwing body parts around.

Comedy wasn't 7th Grade 'bathroom humor'.
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#8 OFFLINE   olguy

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:05 AM

Golden age of television technology - okay. Golden age of program content - not so much. The technology is wasted.
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#9 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:15 AM

I am currently in process of watching the entire 'Twilight Zone' series on Netflix. A show from the old golden age, being played back in the new golden age. Where does that fall? Somewhere in the... well you know. :P

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#10 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

And I regularly watch "Lawman", "Matt Dillon", "Have Gun, Will Travel" and others on Encore Westerns.
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#11 OFFLINE   Phil T

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:39 AM

I cherish the 3 channel Black and White TV of my youth. I was thinking of my dad the other day who died before we had a color TV. What would he think of a flat screen HDTV? He bought a TV chassis only because he could not afford the case and a huge rooftop antenna and rotor to pull in stations from over 100 miles away.

This is the TV/radio/phono combo I remember watching Micky Mouse Club on in the 1950's:

http://file.vintagea...6sxcy2iu0jx.jpg

#12 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

Please.

If you could wave your little magic wand and go back there, would you?

To black and white, 4:3 aspect ratio, cameras the size of a Buick meaning you don't leave the studio, resolution so fuzzy it hurts your eyes, lights that melt the makeup, mono audio so tinny and noisy you can hardly hear it, no captioning, 3 channels on only part of the day (two in most of the country), no zoom lenses, no Steadicam, no 3D, no 4K, no geostationary satellite technology, and most importantly no DVRs?

I didn't think so. If J. Fred Muggs is your idea of a Golden Age (for those too lazy to google he was an actual chimpanzee that co-hosted the Today show) then don't let the doorknob hit you on your way back there.

Using that logic, the Spanish Inquisition was the Golden Age for the Catholic church.


I guess if you want to spend your life sitting on your backside and watching TV 24/7, I can understand your position. Technology wise, the 50's and 60's could never compete with the advancements made in the last decade but by the same token, The programming of today will never compete with the programming of TV's first 50 years.

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#13 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:51 AM

And what are there, 20 or so different CSI versions on now? Plus all the L&O variations? At least in the 50s there was some creativity.


Shall we go into the Infomercials?

This is more like the Leaden Age.


Though weren't a lot of shows in the 50s more a continuation or redoing of radio shows? And I think we probably could replace todays reality shows with the game shows of the 50s, though I admit I don't know how many were actually rigged other than Twenty One and Dotto.

#14 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

^ Quite a few of them were, such as Dragnet, The Lone Ranger, maybe Jack Benny ......
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#15 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Golden age of television technology - okay. Golden age of program content - not so much. The technology is wasted.


+1......Hollywood has given up on content and prefers the cookie cutter approach and franchising.

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#16 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Though weren't a lot of shows in the 50s more a continuation or redoing of radio shows? And I think we probably could replace todays reality shows with the game shows of the 50s, though I admit I don't know how many were actually rigged other than Twenty One and Dotto.


^ Quite a few of them were, such as Dragnet, The Lone Ranger, maybe Jack Benny ......


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#17 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

If you can remember watching the DuMont Network, then you can remember the Golden Age.

All of the 60's mention programs in the above posts are not from the Golden Age.
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#18 OFFLINE   Reaper

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

There are a lot of choices now and that's a good thing, but there is an enormous amount of crap out there too. There are less than half a dozen shows that I watch.

#19 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

The Wikipedia entry on the Golden Age of Television is pretty good. But you have to be careful using that "Golden Age" term as it is so subjective. For instance in the Wikipedia entry it says:

By the early 1960s, about 90% of American households had a television set. At that point sitcoms and dramas dropped out of radio and became wholly the domain of television, as did Westerns like The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke. At the same time, shows such as Playhouse 90 ended their run.

In other words, what made the age "Golden" ceased as popular fare took over.

The Wikipedia entry also notes:

In more recent years, the rise of a large amount of critically acclaimed TV dramas has led many to speculate that a new golden age has already begun. Said to have begun roughly around the launch of the The Sopranos, The Shield and The Wire, and continuing with current shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Walking Dead and more have helped to further develop the respect and popularity of acclaimed TV dramas.

I have some problems with this list of the new "Golden Age" shows. Only three of them, "Mad Men", "The Good Wife", and "Downton Abbey", do not rely on violence.

And that really stands out because the prior paragraphs read as follows:

As filmed series, such as Alfred Hitchc0ck Presents and The Twilight Zone, began to dominate during the mid-1950s and early 1960s, the period of live TV dramas was viewed as the Golden Age. Although producer David Susskind, in a 1960s roundtable discussion with leading 1950s TV dramatists, defined TV's Golden Age as 1938 to 1954, the final shows of Playhouse 90 in 1961 and the departure of leading director John Frankenheimer brought the era to an end.

As a new medium, television introduced many innovative programming concepts, and prime time television drama showcased both original and classic productions, including the first telecasts of Walt Disney's programs, as well as the first telecasts of Mary Martin in Peter Pan, MGM's classic The Wizard of Oz and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Critics and viewers looked forward to new teleplays by Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote, Tad Mosel, Reginald Rose, Rod Serling, WIlliam Templeton, Gore Vidal and others.

Most of these programs were produced as installments of live dramatic anthologies, such as The Philco Television Playhouse, Kraft Television Theatre and Playhouse 90. Live, abridged versions of plays like Cyrano de Bergerac, with members of the cast of the 1946 Broadway revival recreating their roles, were regularly shown during this period.

For those of us who do remember watching a snowy picture from the DuMont Network on a greenish-screen Hoffman television set hooked to a 40' antenna attached to a "pipe" sitting on a newfangled device called a rotor, it is tempting to consider that the "Golden Age."

But if a broadcast network next week started running live, abridged versions of plays like Cyrano de Bergerac, with members of a Broadway revival cast, the following week it would be filing for bankruptcy because no gold would be forthcoming.

Each era of television had its "Golden" programming that we remember. The advantage the networks had in the so-called "Golden Age" is that they could experiment and everything that aired last night didn't have to make a profit.

The non-violent shows list in the "new" Golden Age is ironic:
  • "Mad Men" is known as AMC's loss leader subsidized by the network's more violent "The Walking Dead."
  • "Downton Abbey" is part of the "Masterpiece Classic" series on PBS which is a broadcast "Made Possible by Viewers Like You," some other folks who have made really large donations, and the BBC which has its work funded principally by an annual television license fee, which is charged to all British households and businesses using any type of equipment to receive live television broadcasts.
  • "The Good Wife" is on TV-by-the-Numbers Bubble Watch as "on the bubble" because its ratings may not be high enough to earn it a renewal.
In other words, the reality for TV in the U.S. today is quality dramatic violence attracts gold. Quality non-violent drama programming does not. That determines what is on TV. And that prevents me from ever thinking that this should ever be considered The Golden Age of Television. But there is still some "Golden" programming.

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#20 OFFLINE   mreposter

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

Every age has it's gems. For me shows like Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere from the 80s are classics that helped bring compelling writing and complex character development back to television.

Others might point to more recent fare like The Closer, Battlestar Galactica, or the short-lived Pushing Daisies as significant series. Some might even point to the first few seasons of the Real World on MTV as groundbreaking.

Whatever your preferences, there have long been lots of great shows to choose from. Ignore the bad stuff and enjoy the good. The nice thing about TV today is that we have so much access to new and old - so no matter when your favorites were on the air, you can probably find them somewhere.
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