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"Dated" telly and film reviews

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Showing 1-25 of 64 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2011, 19:05:02 BST
After encountering yet more silly reviews that feature the term "dated," a term that is among the most annoying of ones used, it seemed a good time to comment on that.

If one buys a dvd made in, say, 1974, then you should expect it to look like 1974, unless it is set in another time. To say it is "so terribly dated" is just silly. If I buy a dvd from a certain year, I want it to look like it, for if I bought a seventies one and it looked like 2011, I'd be extremely disappointed.

Another theme some misguided reviewers use, is to assume that because older stories take more consideration and have more style and sophisticated dialogue and characters behave with some decorum, that it is dull, or that the acting is poor or "wooden". I don't think I'm alone in thinking that acting from decades ago is often superior to what one finds, for the most part, today.

I will happily gather my "dated" dvds around me and continue to watch good quality stories and fine acting, and ignore the rubbish!

Who else feels the same?

Posted on 18 Jul 2011, 02:40:57 BST
[Deleted by the author on 18 Jul 2011, 02:42:40 BST]

Posted on 18 Jul 2011, 02:41:17 BST
Susan faust says:
I agree with what you said. I don't think in terms of dated or dates etc. A program or film is just what it is. I'm watching falcon crest dvd's and i think its great, i do remember when the film stock looked new and it has faded somewhat but it doesnt seem terribly old fashioned to me?. People are too fussy today and expect unrealisticness with so called vintage tv programming. The 1980s does'nt look nearly old and as dated as people try to make out, all decades have good and bad aspects. I love acting and tv from decades ago, i am 38 and i like the fact there was'nt the filthy language that today's tv plagues us with, theres always to some degree been sex but then it was much more subtle and that is nicer and more acceptable, i agree people do say silly things for the sake of saying them. Long live Delisciously 'Dated' tv.

Posted on 19 Jul 2011, 13:52:18 BST
Last edited by the author on 19 Jul 2011, 14:40:21 BST
Anne - I couldn't agree more! How I wish I'd started this discussion myself. How many times have I read 1 star reviews of classic movies or TV series that go something like


I'm only exaggerating slightly, too! Anne, we're kindred spirits. Give me intelligent, properly paced drama over zap zap fast edited CGI infested rubbish any day. Yes to Roddenberry's Star Trek, no to Abrams'!

Posted on 20 Jul 2011, 02:14:12 BST
I knew, from reading this forum, that there are many kindred spirits in this! Yes, Christopher, that's just the sort of misuse of language and grammar one usually finds on those sort of reviews!

I don't even like the way so many programmes are filmed now (and I'm not old, I hasten to add!) they often look so cold and distant. Although the older method of filming television is often knocked, I prefer shows when they were filmed on video in a studio, as they had a warmer, more intimate feel, as if you were there, almost like a play. When productions did not have the computer graphics, they had to rely on creativity, ingenuity and good scripts and actors, which I'd rather have over some flashy special effects any day. When you watch something a bit older, you have to meet it part of the way and use your imagination too.

I felt like starting this discussion after watching an episode of Paul Temple, which I liked, and then read some reviews of the series here (some very favourable, others downright vicious) before buying it.

Posted on 20 Jul 2011, 14:39:20 BST
Agreed and it's not only in the TV forums, also in the music ones. I was only born in the 70s but postively like the look and feel of certain 70s shows that I' ve only seen on recent repeats or DVD like 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads', 'Porridge' and The Good Life. Although I enjoy much recent more so-called edgy comedy it's a pleasant change to watch older stuff that's not chocka with expletives and in yer face sex.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2011, 14:49:52 BST
Last edited by the author on 20 Jul 2011, 15:05:52 BST
Well, Anne, I can remember Paul Temple from it's original broadcast, so I'll leave it up to you to decide if I'M old! As you clearly are indeed a selective viewer, allow me to recommend a 70s series to you - apologies if I'm preaching to the converted - Crown Court.

This was a legal drama unlike any other - the stories were fictitious, the judge, the lawyers, the witnesses, the accused were all played by actors - but the jury was made up of members of the public who would follow the examination and cross-examination of the witnesses and debate the case as if it were real. They would then deliver an unscripted verdict, and sentence would be passed on that verdict by the judge. This created real tension, as the viewer would also follow the case and come to his/her own decision. There was only one set, the courtroom, and the only costumes were the gowns and wigs worn by the legal eagles. The viewer's perspective was watching from the public gallery. Crown Court was basically men in wigs talking, but it was utterly compelling. There are six 4-disc sets from Network and I guarantee you'll love it! Just a few words of warning - the first episode on vol one, disc one is the pilot and is unlike the rest of the series. No jury, a scripted verdict and we go out of the courtroom. Secondly, you'll be so hooked you'll have to order the other 5! And finally, the bitter frustration that there are only 6, with poor sales making further releases unlikely! Enjoy!

Posted on 22 Jul 2011, 02:16:10 BST
No, Christopher, remembering Paul Temple the first time around doesn't mean you are old! I think I may have been born the year the series began, or around there!

Thank you for your recommendation, I have not seen Crown Court but it does sound good from your description. I am used to "men in wigs talking", being a Rumpole fan!
Funny it's on Network, it seems most of the dvds I've bought the past three years are from them!

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jul 2011, 12:28:05 BST
Last edited by the author on 22 Jul 2011, 12:29:16 BST
That comes as no surprise - Network is THE company for quality vintage British TV. There are SO many more series I could recommend for you, but I won't do so unless you want me to - that would be a little presumptious, I think, as the list is as long as both your arms.

I also love Rumpole Of The Bailey. Rumpole himself was a marvellous creation - an establishment figure who was a bit of a rebel.

Posted on 23 Jul 2011, 13:02:13 BST
I still buy VHS videos! There's so much stuff that will probably never make it on DVD, I can't resist looking on eBay and charity shops for them.
People have gotten used to the idea that the picture has to be perfect, hi-def, sound coming out from four speakers etc but ultimately if it's not worth watching no amount of gadgetry will make it better!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2011, 14:35:02 BST
Anita says:
I would happily buy DVDs from Network, but as they almost never have subtitles, I'm a lost customer for Network. In fact it's a shame, as there are many things I'd like to own

Posted on 23 Jul 2011, 23:02:15 BST
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Posted on 24 Jul 2011, 11:35:32 BST
pb752 says:
I have quite a lot of dvds of programmes that were made in the 50's /60's and 70's. Some of the episodes I watched at the time when I was young and it's great to now have them on dvd so that I can see the complete series. Many of them are in colour as well of course, but even if they are in black and white and the picture isn't that great, that is still ok with me. One thing that is noticeable with a lot of those older series is the amount of smoking that went on. Several people can be in a room and many would be puffing away and there'd be clouds of smoke everywhere. You don't see nearly as much of that these days. I also like spotting the various actors and actresses in those older series that went on to appear in lots of others in the years that followed.
Quite a lot of people are far too quick to find fault just because a series might be in black and white, or that it doesn't have any special effects or because the actors have long hair etc etc. They overlook the fact that many do actually contain some very good stories.

Posted on 27 Jul 2011, 13:00:34 BST
E. Richards says:
British television today is absolute rubbish! Yes,there is the odd decent programme shown occasionally,but by and large the majority of television programmes should be consigned to the dustbin.

Posted on 28 Jul 2011, 07:48:40 BST
AmazonFan says:
Anne, I am another kindred spirit. I'm buying lots of DVDs of "dated" films and TV series and as far as I am concerned a good story, well acted and with good dialogue, beats most (but not all) of the recent efforts that rely heavily on CG special effects. And I can remember listening to Paul Temple on radio (before we got TV here in NZ) - that dates me!

Posted on 28 Jul 2011, 16:35:48 BST
R. A. Caton says:
I don't mind if material is dated but it does need to be noted; it's most noticable with comedy, because topical comedy is usually the stuff that hits the spot and raises the roof at the time. Go forward a few years, however and you start to need a degree in history to understand the jokes.
Examples? Spitting Image, Drop The Dead Donkey (although at least they idicated what was in the news before the show started) or even that classic ITMA (It's That Man Again - radio 1939/1949 ask grandad). Ted Kavanagh made this point back in 1948, noting that he'd had to dig deep to understand a gag from 1943.... This is always going to happen; only stuff that doesn't depend on current events like The Goon Show transcends time....

Posted on 26 Aug 2011, 12:23:35 BST
One of the most enjoyable aspects of predominently studio based dramas such as Upstairs Downstairs was that essentially you were seeing a stage play on television, albeit with a few close-ups. Therefore the acting and script was what moved the piece along and provided the drama. Today, every TV director is trying to emulate the movies, so much screen time is wasted with artistic establishing shots and spohisticated zooming, tracking and moving camera techniques, whether it's appropriate or not. There are also many more fast edits as they seem loathe to allow a shot to develop for more than ten seconds without cutting to another angle. And what's more, all of this has to be coated with a continous soundtrack overlaying the dialogue. Many of these soundtracks are unmemorable and serve only to tell the viewer, "this is your cue to feel something' because what's going on onscreen isn't sufficiently convincing to move you emotionally without it. In the attempt to make every TV drama 'filmic' we have ended up with, for the most part, less gripping television, but a lot of very poorly executed, low-budget 'films'.

Posted on 27 Aug 2011, 12:24:14 BST
Last edited by the author on 27 Aug 2011, 12:54:14 BST
Algy says:
we get so many 'Brainwashing' terms now.....

'Dated'....'you Couldn't POSSIBLY do it like that now'....'it just wouldn't work like that today'....etc

another was: 'Old football is just so slow....'
(I've got old games on tape & DVD that give lie to that total fallicy for sure...and they play up & down the pitch...not 'ten times back & forth across it before we dare go forward' and 'let's all chase after and gather around the Referee...' ...all the time !!)

all these blanket derision terms are just UTTER NONSENSE !

- and normally such 'brainwashing' is done by media people offering up third rate claptrap that has little or no genuine creativity...and no 're-watch value' at all...

Re-makes of older films tend to be complete piffle too...the acting is weak, one dimensional & often shallow, done mega fast and all too predictable...with obligatory 'stereotypical' token characters of race, gender, etc inserted....(even 'invented' and added where not originally present....) - characters often being 'Re-gendered' too....

while in modern TV the 'on camera' time is far less...things go at a zillion miles per hour ( mainly to hide plot weaknesses) and very little scope is given to building up credible characterisations, believable dramatic plots, and decent story solutions....speed is used to gloss over faults and create the impression of great 'panche', 'style' etc...when it's really to hide LACK of substance...

If an older show moves at a slower pace...so what ? (try to have some kind of 'attention span' - you need one in real life you know !)

These days also an obsession with 'gritty' has invaded alot of modern TV...it really means it is trendily 'anti percieved middle classes' has an obnoxious miserable charmless attitude & normally filled with bad language (but note never any 'four letter words' in supposed REAL soaps are ever used...nor are Manchester City in 'Corrie' & Leyton Orient in 'Eastenders' ever mentioned - which is rather odd...!) ....

...and this 'Gritty' obsession really just covers the total LACK of 'charisma' and stronger genuine acting talent (plus writing talent) in modern TV characters & shows (often Films) too....all things that were once the foundation of strong TV in the past...

thus 'dated', etc is used as a term of derision against the past....but really it's a swear word term used by those lacking the talent to make anything half decent today...!

Posted on 27 Aug 2011, 12:37:39 BST
Last edited by the author on 27 Aug 2011, 12:55:34 BST
Algy says:
Re R.A Caton's post - some of The Goons is now dated too...

- e.g. who is John Snagge ? (I know...but many today will not have ever heard of him....)

it's the writing in comedy....that's the key thing

today some are frankly 'afraid' to laugh at NON 'PC' aspects too...

a couple I know find Stan and Jack chasing female clippies in 'On The Buses' disgraceful...yet they howl with laughter at a gay guy chasing another man in a 'modern' comedy show !!!
- both are largely the same sex based comedic scenarios

- their 'modern prejudices' are somewhat bigoted and rather strange I feel....

Posted on 27 Aug 2011, 14:00:04 BST
I agree that we've been sold 'gritty drama' as the new paradigm for TV. As an avid watch of 'classic TV series' like The Saint (with Roger Moore) part of the fun is spotting the social changes which have taken place and therefore stick out like a sore thumb. Just because they make you chuckle doesn't for a second undermine the drama. You just have to use your imagination to take you into a different time and place. No where is this more obvious than on the issue of age. One example has since become an oft quoted phrase for my wife and I, and is from an episode of The Saint about a rich, arrogant, wealthy man cheating on his wife with a younger woman. His wife is a perfectly presentable lady, if slightly frumpily dressed, to whom he addresses the remark, "Look at yourself woman, you're thirty-eight!". At this point his teenage mistress laughs mockingly in the background, mad laughter being very much the main characteristic of evil characters in this genre of television. I'm not saying you'd replace an evening watching the best contemporary TV with these DVD's, but they are great to put on at bedtime to enable you to drift off into sweet dreams and harmless fantasies. You would do that watching 'The Wire'.

Posted on 27 Aug 2011, 14:04:31 BST
I like both older and newer TV, I have seen episodes of The Prisoner and Quantum Leap and think they are excellent shows, and I also like quite a few older TV comedies such as Fawlty Towers, Dad's Army, Monty Python, The Good Life, and while I'm not as big a fan, I do find shows like Porridge and the Morecambe and Wise stuff to be charming and enjoyable, not what I'd rush to watch, but I'll enjoy it if someone else is watching it. I'm a huge animation fan and think that the amount of quality animated series has substantially increased in the last two decades, both from the u.s. and japan, although there was probably more good animation from the u.k. in the past, as the only good stuff I can think of that's more recent is various Aardman projects such as Wallace and Gromit and Rex the Runt and a beautiful animated film from ireland called The Secret of Kells, but there wasn't that much good stuff here even in the past compared to the amount of quality stuff coming out of the other two aforementioned countries in the past couple of decades. Though unfortunately some of the best earlier anime such as Future Boy Conan, Rose of Versailles and Touch are not available with English subtitles or even English dubs on DVD (or VHS, or Blu-Ray).

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2011, 02:51:33 BST
I agree with everything you wrote there Foden. The scenes flashing by so fast that one can't take anything in properly. The continuous soundtrack is also ubiquitous, with the music trying to make the scene so dramatic, so much of the music being almost like a cliche' and none of it being distinctive.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2011, 03:06:16 BST
All true Joey, I agree completely! I think people tend to use those overused terms to seem "in the know" about it. That awful "gritty obsession" is deeply unpleasant too. They don't like to make many programmes with more refined characters these days, it has to be in the tough city streets.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2011, 12:47:54 BST
sam lowry says:
as you rightly point out many "dated" programming from the 60s, 70s are superior to what passes as entertainment these days--is the X-factor, or any other dross going to be available in 40 years...
Probably not...

Posted on 31 Aug 2011, 10:06:10 BST
I suppose I'm coming into a time when some of my shows are starting to become "dated" at least in their appearance. I think that the thing is with movies and TV at the end of the day is the quality of the storytelling, writing and acting. In my honest opinion Star Trek the original series looks extremely dated (I haven't seen the updated version with new CGI) but the series harks back to a time with good writing and storytelling, so you can look past the external and still enjoy it.

For me the mid-90s until the early 2000's were a golden era in science fiction TV. Where CGI and production values rose in order to better tell the stories. While a show like Babylon 5 can look dated in its appearance and its once state-of-the-art CGI shows its age, it's storytelling is second to none in a science-fiction show. Some people even when the show was new couldn't get past the lower production values and failed to see some great long-term storytelling spread over the entire five seasons. Yet the stories told were timeless so as the years roll by the show looks even more dated but the stories remain relevant. Great TV and movies keep you watching them over and over through the years and decades. Today everything is so disposable and hardly worth watching the first time round, let alone decades later.
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