TV shows that aged well?

Over Christmas, I found myself watching an episode of Rising Damp. For non-Brits, you can watch it courtesy of youtube. It did not age well.

In contrast, I have been watching a lot of the old Addams Family TV shows recently. I remember watching these as a kid in the early 90s and loving them, even though they were already pretty old. Almost twenty years later, watching as an adult, I still think they are really good quality shows. Other than it being in black and white, it doesn’t feel dated to me at all. In fact, I was quite surprised at how racy some of the jokes and interactions are for such an old show.

It seems to be that a lot of old shows - comedies particularly - only have appeal in a nostalgic sense, and seem out of touch or even cringe-worthy today.

Which shows do you think have stood the test of time? Which failed? And what do you think it is which makes a show able to survive? Is there some special thing which needs to be included (or left out) to ensure it can still be appreciated (in a non-ironic way) by future generations?

And as a bonus question - which of today’s shows will still seem good in thirty years?

All In The Family is the first show that comes to mind when thinking of jokes and premises that you couldn’t get away with today (though I’m thinking in it’s day some of the things they said and did, especially with regards to ‘gender roles’ and racism, where a bit more normal)

Other then that I think that the Dick Van Dyke show and the Mary Tyler Moore show have stood the test of time…oh, and Taxi.

Todays shows in thirty years? Maybe The Office, Cheers, It’s Always Sunny.

Fawlty Towers is still funny.

The Dick Van Dyke Show, while very much a product of the early 60s, is still very watchable, & quite funny.

Soap has stood up very well, and still seems very racy by today’s standards. By comparison, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” looks very dated.

“Will & Grace” is lalready looking creaky. So much of its’ humor is based on references to then-current/now old news pop culture items. And the show had a constant parade of guest stars, many of whom were already past their prime when they appeared on the show.

“Law & Order” reruns still hold up though.

Correction: Hilarious.

the Phil Silvers Show?

I find “Soap” to be terribly dated. I think “Dick Van Dyke” is a good example of shows standing up to age. So does “I Love Lucy,” if you can ignore the celebrities that are long since past, the plots would still work.

Oddly enough I find “All in The Family,” to be very dated, but here in Chicago it runs on WWME-CA which bills itself as ME-TV (Memorable Entertainment TV) and it’s very popular. I can’t figure out how young people can relate to that. Archie and Mike arguing over Nixon? Other than the question is “What happened to Sally Struthers?” I see no current questions. (I mean, Struthers had some dangerous curves in her youth.)

I recall shows like “Laugh-In” and “One Day At A Time,” and “Alice,” seem very dated to me.

When WWME-CA was running “Good Times” it proved to be #1 for African American viewers and that is showing on a low power station or the subchannel of WCIU channel 26. So somehow the current African American community in Chicago can identify with something on that show.

I havent seen it in forever, but I’d imagine Barney Miller would hold up well.

**Taxi **is the only TV show aired before the 90s that I liked.

I no longer think that most of it is. But maybe that just means that I have not aged well, rather than FT.

Second “The Addams Family.” Though some of the plots are standard sitcom, even if slightly skewed, it is odd even today.

I’ve been using Netflix watch some of the shows I saw as a young kid. I’m watching “Have Gun Will Travel” now, and it stands up very well, with a lot of the plots dealing with serious issues. You can see a lot of early Star Trek plots in it (the one I just saw had a faked death) and a lot of Star Trek guest stars.
We watched Secret Agent/Danger Man also, which also stood up well. Not so “The Man From UNCLE.” I liked it as a kid, my wife loved it, but it was unwatchable. The first few shows, anyhow, had stupid and unbelievable plots.

We started watching Married With Children lately – hadn’t watched at all since its original run, and I think it’s aged well – if you like that kind of humor.

Got that on DVD, & it does.

TVLand puts on “Bonanza” reruns. That one was a favorite of my family back when - we’d all sit around the TV while my mother combed out my sister’s hair (butt-length, washed once a week without modern conditioners – eek!).

It is completely, totally, unwatchable today. I can’t watch more than 30 seconds before I have to change the channel.

Third the original “Addams Family”. Gomez and Morticia had the most passionate relationship of any married TV couple from that era – and perhaps one of the most realistic.

Plus, Carolyn Jones was a serious babe, not that I noticed, being only seven or eight at the time.

I could be showing my age, but MASH seems timeless to me.

Talk about Barney Miller holding up, the other day I was watching an episode on WGN (I’m in New Orleans, btw) and one of the plots points was that the staff had to get swine flu vaccinations! My wife walked in and was like “What?” (she was born in 1978).

“MAS*H” is still a show I enjoy, though it’s not the best. The comedy is often creakier than the drama, which I think is unusual based on the responses above. “The Andy Griffith Show” has episodes that I love, but the show as a whole holds up badly. “Cheers” seems to hold up well to me.

Babylon 5, while I still consider myself a big fan, has held up really badly.


I caught a couple episodes of that a few weeks ago. Probably been decades since I had seen it. I also thought it held up very poorly. And the old man was quite the asshole…