Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rambling On About the Telly

True to my word, readers get to be subjected to my peculiar taste in television viewing.

You can run away now, if you like, but I promise that this one won't be as lengthy as the last.

Vintage Vs. Current

It's simple, really. TV shows from the past twenty years or so have nothing on the stuff from the early days. Sure, the eighties had some great viewing - Remington Steele, The Golden Girls, The Facts of Life, Star Trek TNG, and some really amazing cartoons.
I'm sure that there are other shows that I am missing, but quartet of crazy old women in Miami aside, not much of the sitcom era excited me enough to want to revisit it.

Mtv does not count in this catagory. It fed my interest from a musical perspective, and still gave me something to view. 120 Minutes was my favorite two hours of channel 22 viewing all week long.

Stuff that I loved to watch, and still do:
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Addams Family
My Three Sons
Mr. Ed
I Love Lucy

Honorable mention:
Dennis the Menace
The Munsters
(funny, but not as cool as The Addams)
The Donna Reed Show
The Anne Sullivan Show
The Danny Thomas Show / Father Knows Best
Leave It To Beaver
(you cannot possibly think I'd dub my husband 'Ward' and not watch that one?)

One of the coolest gifts I've ever been given was a few years ago. Ward hunted down the entire Addams series in DVD box set form. At that point it was very hard to find season by season - the whole series took some hassle and weeks and weeks of backorder from Barnes & Noble. And for me it was worth every minute.
When the price drops a bit more, hopefully he'll add the Clampetts to my collection, too. I am content to watch the other stuff on the internet now and then, but I love those silly hillbillies.

There are lots of others, too... I watched A LOT of television as a kid. Had a 19" black and white set in my room growing up, and was a horrible insomniac, so the tv was on 24/7. I stayed up far too late, watching whatever appealed to me, and would eventually slide the cable box down to Nickelodeon and let Nick At Nite run all night long.
In addition to tv shows full of people who were aging or dead by the time I was born, I also saw quite a bit of John Wayne that way.

As far as current or fairly recent viewing, I suppose that I watch a lot of nerdy tv. I was a pretty big X-Files junkie, and picked up Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the very first episode (I also own that in box set form, but have no real interest in any of Joss Whedon's other work). I liked Star Trek (still do), and now watch Fringe and Bones, though neither one on a committed basis.
I also like Medium, but again, I'm not heartbroken if I miss an episode.

"Mr. Humphries, are you free?"

Classic television aside, my heart really lies on another continent.

I am positively addicted to British television. My very favorite cartoon is Dangermouse and it doesn't come close to stopping there.

I've watched each series of Father Ted over and over again, and laughed just as hard every time. I have a long standing love-hate relationship with Hyacinth Bucket (and would love to have Chris relent and dole out for the Keeping Up Appearances box series. But he hates the show, so he steadfastly refuses.), and I have come to realize that I'm almost as addicted to Monarch of the Glen, though I like the first four seaons better than the last three.

There are plenty of others, too... The Vicar of Dibley, Are You Being Served?, Hetty Wainthropp... and current standing shows as well, though I see those too infrequently to stay up to speed ( no cable means to BBC channel).
My utmost favorite, though, stars a very young Hugh Laurie, from long before anyone knew him as Dr. Gregory House... Jeeves & Wooster.
Actually I'd have to say that it's a tie between that and the good Fathers of Craggy Island (if you like British humor and you've never watched Father Ted, you should. It's quite good.).

Another thing that we have a decent collection of in our house: Japanese animation.
Somehow we are drawn to the ongoing series. Here we have soap operas, whereas Japan shows things like Urusei Yatsura and Initial D.
Those don't get viewed nearly as often, but they are dearly appreciated.

I often think about this old woman who came into Blockbuster nearly every day before noon and exchanged her single video rental. She'd select one old film, often a noir thriller, though sometimes a comedy or a love story, and on a rare occasion a musical. And always a story attached to it.
She lived alone. Her husband had passed well over a decade before and her children lived outside of the area and were aging themselves. Her cat, the Turner Classic Movies channel and her visits to the video store were her constant companions.
I cannot remember her name for the life of me, but I recall her face and her voice as though she'd been at my front door this morning. It is to her that I owe some credit for some of the films that I enjoy now. They were found by her recommendation.

There you have it. I am a huge dork with next to no life away from my glowing tubes of picture and sound (be they HDTV or monitor screen), books and quirky habits. Somewhere in there falls music and crafting, but that is for another day.