Cephus' Corner

A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.

The Good Old Days on Television - Cephus' Corner

The Good Old Days on Television

March 20th, 2016

Invariably, when we start to talk about old TV shows and movies, and to a lesser degree books, you will find people who say they can’t watch those programs because they are “too old”.  The effects don’t “look good” compared to modern CGI.  They don’t “sound good” compared to modern Dolby 5.1 stereo.  Or, holy crap, they’re in black and white!  The horror!  Well if that’s how you think, then just give up, but keep in mind that the shows you rave about today, those are going to look like garbage in another 10-15 years compared the the newest and highest tech shows on TV.

So why do so many people get so spoiled by modern life that they can’t step back and enjoy something from a different time?  Let’s explore this, shall we?

I suppose I can understand how people can get attached to modern conveniences, but when they become so attached to the exclusion of all else, that becomes problematic.  Modern high definition digital entertainment is the exception, not the norm historically.  We haven’t always had lossless audio, we haven’t always had more pixels on screen than we can possibly see, I think a lot of people are just spoiled by what they experience and that’s a shame.

But this applies to every aspect of these shows.  It isn’t just the effects or the video or audio quality, it’s the writing, the acting, the directing, everything. If you’re not willing to view these shows in the context of the time that they were made, you’re just wasting your time.

I can go back to a movie made in the 1930s and enjoy it just as much as a movie made today because it being in black and white doesn’t bother me.  Neither does the fact that nobody today talks like that.  Neither does the fact that movies aren’t directed that way today.  Or cast that way.  Or that the social views are probably very different to what we hold today.  But the movie can still have merit and be enjoyable if we just let the movie be what it is rather than what we wish it was.

It was only a couple of years ago that my wife and I worked through the entire Universal Monsters catalog, starting with the 1923 classic Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Lon Chaney.  And you know something?  It’s not only black and white, it’s a silent movie, but it is still an excellent film.  I’m also a huge fan of the Charlie Chan franchise that started in 1931, the Mr. Moto series starting in 1938 and the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies that  started in 1943.  And who isn’t a fan of classic Laurel and Hardy and Abbot and Costello?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people, and I find that it tends to be younger people who do this, who are so utterly spoiled by the excesses that we enjoy today.  They expect everyone to cater to them and I guess that means that old shows just magically have to transform themselves to suit the viewer, the viewer shouldn’t be expected to change their views to suit the shows.

Sorry, reality doesn’t work that way.  And yes, you can like what you like, it’s nobody’s business but your own, but if you only like things that were made in the past couple of years, you’re missing out on a huge wealth of content that has been made over the past century.  It might not look “as good” or sound “as good” or have the same modern sensibilities, but you really need to be able to step back and put aside your modern biases and just embrace the best that the past has to offer.  It actually is very good, even if it isn’t in 4K Ultra-high definition Dolby surround stereo in 3D.  Give it a shot with an open mind and see if you don’t agree.

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Cephus' Corner

A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.