Friday, September 23, 2011

Old Shows Worth Watching

It's natural to ask, "what's next", but sometimes it's just as rewarding to ask, "what worked". Here a few shows that can still deliver the goods, even decades or years later.

The Sandbaggers—A simmering, taut thriller from the UK that takes a realistic look at the men and women who have to make the decisions when spies are in the field. Set in the middle of the cold war, it’s espionage without the cocktails and witty repartee.

The Avengers—Campy, stylish, witty, surreal. A superhero show before superheroes were popular.

The Dick Van Dyke Show—I could make a joke about how women should watch this show as a lesson on being a dutiful wife, but that would undermine the sheer joy of watching this idyllic half-hour of television. Still quite funny, both intentionally and unintentionally.

Fawlty Towers—A mere 12 episodes, this PBS-staple (or at least it was during pledge drives) feels more like a 3-ring circus or a stage play than a TV show. And that’s a very, very good thing.

Frasier—One of the smartest and well written shows ever. Skip college—a master-class in comedy writing.