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  1. #16
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    It's the old apples and oranges.

    Television in the 1970s, in the USA, was limited to three major networks and otherwise lots of local programming and public televsion. The amount of money available for production wasn't a lot. Out of that pool of programming, which was largely cheap, there were some truly great things being produced and the quality of those programs influenced a whole generation to go on to create more good things.

    Today, the amount of programming is exponentially larger and the production budgets for some programs are huge. If you took everything into account, the amount of pure garbage now being generated every day is so much more than it has ever been in history--but there's also a lot of good stuff being produced.

    Does the good outweigh the bad?
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  2. #17
    All-New Member RichDante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    It's the old apples and oranges.

    Television in the 1970s, in the USA, was limited to three major networks and otherwise lots of local programming and public televsion. The amount of money available for production wasn't a lot. Out of that pool of programming, which was largely cheap, there were some truly great things being produced and the quality of those programs influenced a whole generation to go on to create more good things.

    Today, the amount of programming is exponentially larger and the production budgets for some programs are huge. If you took everything into account, the amount of pure garbage now being generated every day is so much more than it has ever been in history--but there's also a lot of good stuff being produced.

    Does the good outweigh the bad?
    The good stuff is today is miles ahead of the good stuff in the 70s. That decade did have some very good shows but the bad kinda outweighed the good with lots of cheesy, dated sitcoms, badly animated cartoons that were nothing but Scooby Doo clones and mostly subpar anime. Something like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead couldn't even be made in the seventies, especially due to restrictions at that time.

  3. #18
    All-New Member RichDante's Avatar
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    Some people could argue the 60s would be a contender but honestly there were enough and well remembered shows to carry that decade through (The Flinstones, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Astro Boy), though it is very close to the 70s in terms of being the worst decade
    Last edited by RichDante; 01-11-2019 at 01:58 PM.

  4. #19
    Incredible Member Comic-Reader Lad's Avatar
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    I think what we think of as good TV really depends on when we started watching TV. Since I grew up in the 1970s, I definitely think the 1970s had a lot of great shows, and for me, they still hold up.

    The Normal Lear sitcoms (All in the Family, etc.), MASH, and Soap are still recognized today as being some of the best that TV has ever produced.

    The 1970s was an important decade for sitcoms because the Lear shows helped TV grow up. If you're talking about "corny cookie cutter sitcom drek," then look no further than the 1960s.

    For me, the 1960s gets my vote for worst decade in television history for sitcoms, although the 1970s might have been worse for dramas. The 60s had a bunch of cool, ahead-of-the-curve dramas. So did the 1980s. I'm stuck on which dramas from the 1970s could be considered immortal classics. There were good ones, but I don't know if anything rewrote the rules of television.

    The 1960s sitcoms were generally insipid with witches, genies, monster families, flying nuns, and of course, Gilligan's Island. Any decade that produces Gilligan's Island automatically is in the running for worst decade. At least the 1950s gave us I Love Lucy, Danny Thomas, and The Honeymooners.

    The worst thing about 1960s sitcoms is that they were mostly not filmed before a studio audience so canned laughter abounded. In contrast, the comedies of the 1970s brought back the studio audience in a big way, and they just felt so VIBRANT. Watching All in the Family when Sammy Davis Jr. kissed Archie Bunker or when Edith Bunker faced an attempted rape was exciting because of the subject matter and the electrifying audience reaction.

    I agree that shows like Happy Days and Welcome Back, Kotter haven't aged well, but even at the time they were never critical darlings. They were dismissed as "kidvid," and as kids we did like them. You might as well hate kids who grew up in the 1990s for loving Saved by the Bell. These shows are what they are and they exist in every decade. Today's shows on Disney and Nickelodeon are just as corny and the acting is terrible.

    I think that because of the proliferation of channels and streaming these days, there are a lot more quality shows, but you will see that even these fall into cookie-cutter patterns. A lot of dramas since 2000 often rely on shockplotting and excessive mythologies to keep you watching. And they often don't stick the landing when it comes to resolving all their disparate narrative threads. LOST is a prime example of this--it was good episode-to-episode for the most part, but the whole was a lot less than the sum of its parts.

    You wanna talk "sitcom drek"? Besides the 1960s, look no further to pretty much any sitcom made after 2000. Every one full-to-bursting with insipid, vapid millennials banterquipping about "you know, the whole 'thing where we where we do that thing' thing" to a phony laugh track cranked up to 11.

    Finally, I just wish today's dramas would stop having characters walk away from fires in slow motion with a rap song playing underneath.
    Last edited by Comic-Reader Lad; 01-11-2019 at 02:24 PM.

  5. #20
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    OK, so most of my favorite shows are from the 00's - the West Wing (began in '99), Stewart's run on the Daily Show, the Colbert Report - as well as many of my guilt pleasures like Leverage, the Librarians and Warehouse 13. It also saw the Sopranos (also '99), House, Lost, 24, Deadwood, Arrested Development, the Office (both versions)... but I'm still inclined to agree that the rise of reality television is hard to ignore as a mark against.

  6. #21
    Ultimate Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichDante View Post
    You do realise reallity Tv isnt the only peice of televisiion right? theres still a bunch of scripted shows on the air
    Which is the exact reason that your "The Seventies Are The Worst..." argument has almost zero meat on the bones.

  7. #22
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    What's the criteria? Production quality? Each decade did the best it could. It's not fair to compare them on that.

    Rewatchability? We're all going to have our preferences.

    Creativity? Seems like the most rational basis for comparison to me. On that level, The 00's and the current decade, closely followed by the 70s, are clearly the worst. Even the 50s had more creativity, perhaps because the limitations of the technology forced it upon them. The 80s certainly had the best in terms of creative content and general entertainment value, followed by the 60s.
    Why yes, I AM a Mark Goodson/Bill Toddman production.

  8. #23
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    Yeah the 00s pretty bad.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichDante View Post
    Can you explain why you think this way?
    Simple the decade that gave us All in the Family, Mash, Maude, Mary Tyler Moore, Newhart, Kojack, Rockford, Good Times, The Jeffersons, What's Happening, Sanford and Son, Streets of San Francisco, Dallas, Incredible Hulk, or even Quincy which yes comes off as cheesy today but did tackle tough issues for it's time doesn't lose to the Decade that gave us Survivor, the Osbournes, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Keep up with the Kardashians, Big Brother, and other crap like that.
    Last edited by Conn Seanery; 01-11-2019 at 05:57 PM.

  10. #25
    Ultimate Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokerz79 View Post
    Simple the decade that gave us All in the Family, Mash, Maude, Mary Tyler Moore, Newhart, Kojack, Rockford, Good Times, The Jeffersons, What's Happening, Sanford and Son, Streets of San Francisco, Dallas, Incredible Hulk, or even Quincy which yes comes off as cheesy today but did tackle tough issues for it's time doesn't lose to the Decade that gave us Survivor, the Osbournes, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Keep up with the Kardashians, Big Brother, and other crap like that.
    Columbo/"Swan Song"

    Don't even get me started on Good Times. It's the only card that decade needs to have the winning hand.

  11. #26
    Astonishing Member AndrewCrossett's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say that any decade of television has been "bad" on balance. Every decade had great shows and every decade had stinkers. But the '00s was the decade when reality TV and stuff like three-nights-a-week game shows threatened to push out scripted TV entirely. There were some great shows in that decade, though... Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, etc. and if there had been as many venues for shows as there are now, it might have been as good a decade as this one.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCrossett View Post
    The 1870's was a pretty terrible year for TV.

    Seriously, maybe the 2000's. Specifically that zone between the end of cool syndicated genre shows and the beginning of "peak TV." There was a time there when TV was just dominated by reality shows, paint-by-number procedurals and derivative suburban-family sitcoms. There were some good shows in there, but good luck finding them.

    Nowadays we still have dumb reality shows, procedurals and sitcoms, but now there are plenty of much better options with streaming and cable.
    Quote Originally Posted by RichDante View Post
    There were problems but honestly the era youre talking about gave birth to a lot of great innovative shows, some could argue that that are better than now. The 70's however hardly had any of that, theres hardly any noteworthy series from the seventies worth remembering, unless someone gives me 20 shows from the 70s that are ACTUALLY worthy of being standouts, then the 70s is honestly the worst decade for television
    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post
    1970's is really a bad year, I agree. That is when the 1979 oil crisis, 1973 oil crisis, Vietnam War defeat and Iran hostage situation happened. Arab-Israeli relations have also worsened.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCrossett View Post
    Obviously it's going to be a matter of opinion...

    All in the Family
    Kung Fu
    Barney Miller
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    The Carol Burnett Show
    Maude
    M*A*S*H
    The Dukes of Hazzard
    Sanford and Son
    Monty Python's Flying Circus
    The Muppet Show
    The Odd Couple
    Hawaii Five-O
    Saturday Night Live
    The Bob Newhart Show
    SCTV
    Happy Days
    Taxi
    The Rockford Files
    WKRP in Cincinnati
    Columbo
    Quote Originally Posted by RichDante View Post
    Only half the shows you posted are really anything that is worth substanstial, the others are extremley dated and cheesy with really corny acting, stock plots and cliched characters, seriously have gone back and watched Happy Days, Sanford and Son, Dukes of Hazzard, Maude, The Carol Burnett Show, The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show and Odd Couple they are the really dated and cheesy, good for their times but have not held up as well. The others Iagree but most of the good ones have been perfected both in comedy an drama in the decades succeeding it.

    As for the previous decade like I said during this time we had airing at one time or another (I'll just consider latest 90s as 1999): The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, Lost, Deadwood, 24, Freaks and Geeks, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, The West Wing, Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, the X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights, Firefly, Damages, ER, Sons of Anarchy, Veronica Mars

    Some of those shows are definitely better than others. Some are the most ground breaking to air and paved the way for the shows we are watching now. Yes, some of those shows either were ending or dying during this period or just starting or got worse as time went by. There are also many other shows I could list from this period and I didn't even touch comedies, which they are a ton of too.

    But other than reality TV and it's effect being correct like you said, I think most would describe this period as the complete opposite of what you said and say it is one of the best periods of television, not the worst
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Gee, other than now where, with streaming and specialty services, you get a lot of quality shows, I would have thought the 1970s was the most obvious for quality TV shows from the three networks.

    I remember on NEWHART, Peter Scolari's character was depressed because the commerrcial TV shows he loved from the 1980s, like MANIMAL and THE A-TEAM, had been replaced by quality programming and Bob consoles him by saying these things come around and soon all this quality programming willl go away and the crass commercial shows will make a come-back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyke View Post
    I agree about the 1970s being perhaps the worst for television overall (lots and lots of junk sitcoms, bad fashion, and pointless variety shows), but almost all those shows listed were groundbreaking or instrumental in their own way, several of them being watershed moments in TV history.

    I also wouldn't say many of them are that dated, either. But even if they were or they aged badly, that doesn't mean they didn't make some kind of impact or leave some positive impression on the landscape. All in the Family was topical. Barney Miller melded TV and stage production aesthetics. Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, and Sanford and Son brought diversity in a white male dominated industry (and Carol Burnett *just* got a lifetime achievement award named after her by the Golden Globes). The Muppet brand is still running strong. M*A*S*H is one of the gold standards of sitcoms that studios still try to reach to this day. Hawaii 5-0, the Rockford Files, and Columbo helped spawn today's thrillers and procedurals (Columbo even had a brief, but funny, crossover with Alias!). And more than enough literature's been written about SNL, SCTV, and especially Monty Python. The Odd Couple showed that TV adaptations of big movies can work, and the Bob Newhart show may not have been the first show to star a stand-up comedian, but it was among the biggest to show that a TV show can be an extension of their stand-up, setting an example for Seinfeld and the like. Cheers follows in the same vein as Taxi, and WKRP showed that the workplace comedy can apply to non-conventional settings.

    And to be clear, the worst period of television is still bound to create some gems. They shouldn't be written off like the rest of trash television.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    It's the old apples and oranges.

    Television in the 1970s, in the USA, was limited to three major networks and otherwise lots of local programming and public televsion. The amount of money available for production wasn't a lot. Out of that pool of programming, which was largely cheap, there were some truly great things being produced and the quality of those programs influenced a whole generation to go on to create more good things.

    Today, the amount of programming is exponentially larger and the production budgets for some programs are huge. If you took everything into account, the amount of pure garbage now being generated every day is so much more than it has ever been in history--but there's also a lot of good stuff being produced.

    Does the good outweigh the bad?
    Quote Originally Posted by numberthirty View Post
    Which is the exact reason that your "The Seventies Are The Worst..." argument has almost zero meat on the bones.
    Everyone missed the joke Andrew was making. He didn't say the 1970s was a bad year for television. He said the 1870s. Because television didn't exist in the 1870s So if you wanted to watch something on television in the 1870s you were out of luck. Every decade prior and up to the 1900s were also a bad year for television. It wasn't until the 1909 that you could find something to watch on television. And even that wasn't all that interesting.

  13. #28
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    I can't believe people are saying the 2000's

    -The Sopranos (ran 1999-2007)
    -The Wire (2002-2008)
    -Man Men (2007-2015)
    -The Office (2005-2013)
    -Dexter (2006-2013... so all the good stuff)
    -Friends (ran halfway through the 2000's)
    -Buffy (1997-2003)
    -The West Wing (1999-2006)
    -Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
    -South Park (started in 97 and ran through the entire 2000's, many would say it's best era occured in there)
    -It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (started in 2005)
    -The Shield (2002-2008)
    -Entourage (2004-2011)
    -Futurama (1999-2013)
    -24 (2001-2010, albeit there was the half day revival in 2014)
    -Scrubs (2001-2010)
    -Lost (2004-2010)
    -Spongebob Squarepants (

    Even Breaking Bad started in 2008.

    Like wtf, it was probably one of the most important era's in television and completely revitalized drama shows. Yeah you could argue it also had reality television. But big deal, so pioneering an extremely popular drama that gave us things like Survivor, American Idol, and the Bachelor which were staples of television is somehow a con? The amount of content exploded. Cable really hit it's stride in that decade.

    It's arguably the best decade for quality of television

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokerz79 View Post
    Simple the decade that gave us All in the Family, Mash, Maude, Mary Tyler Moore, Newhart, Kojack, Rockford, Good Times, The Jeffersons, What's Happening, Sanford and Son, Streets of San Francisco, Dallas, Incredible Hulk, or even Quincy which yes comes off as cheesy today but did tackle tough issues for it's time doesn't lose to the Decade that gave us Survivor, the Osbournes, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Keep up with the Kardashians, Big Brother, and other crap like that.
    It's very easy to list the best things of one era and then the worst of another. But it's not a remotely fair comparison. The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Dexter, Breaking Bad all ran in the 2000's. Quality wise they are way ahead of any show you mentioned. If all you care about are sitcoms okay I guess another decade might have that beat.... but then a huge chunk of Friends aired in the 2000's which is arguably the biggest sitcom ever.

  15. #30
    Ultimate Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KNIGHT OF THE LAKE View Post
    It's very easy to list the best things of one era and then the worst of another. But it's not a remotely fair comparison. The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Dexter, Breaking Bad all ran in the 2000's. Quality wise they are way ahead of any show you mentioned. If all you care about are sitcoms okay I guess another decade might have that beat.... but then a huge chunk of Friends aired in the 2000's which is arguably the biggest sitcom ever.
    Negative.

    Good Times alone is greater quality than every single one of those shows added up and multiplied by two.

    I'm not going to say they are lousy, but they ain't even in the same league.

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