Old TV shows that retain their charm
Today on one of the oldies cable networks, I watched a really old show, The Flying Nun, with Sally Field. I watched it as a kid and remembered enjoying its upbeat but not cloying tone. Of course, being about nuns, it tried to show people doing the right thing and reaching out to others, but it was never syrupy or maudlin. It starred Sally Field in her second series (after Gidget, where she played a California surfer girl), and she had just the right combination of bubbliness and susbtance. The "supporting nuns" included two great character actors, the staid Mother Abbess (played by Madeleine Sherwood) and the salty older nun, Sister Jacqueline (played by Marge Redmond). Sister Bertrille, Field's character, could fly on the trade winds because she was very small and wore a very large "winged" cornette on her head. That fantasy element was reflective of a lot of shows in the sixties, but it was done in a low-key way and added to the perception of Sr. Bertrille's buoyant personality.
One of the neatest elements of the show came back to me as I watched the rerun. It was set on Puerto Rico, so it featured a lot of Latinos and Latinas playing regular and guest roles. Of course, because it was a comedy, many of them weren't always dignified. But the characters were generally positive portrayals and the actors weren't forced to speak as if they were stereotyped illiterates. There was also a bona-fide heartthrob, on whom I had a huge crush for years, the handsome Argentinian actor Alejandro Rey. In those days, a Latino leading man wasn't very common. I can't guarantee that he was the only Latino playing a lead role on TV at that moment, but he was certainly one of the few. So my good feelings about the show turn out to have a positive cause for several reasons.
You can see that Sally Field didn't just become a splendid actress when she turned thirty. She had the spark and believability right off the bat. That's so nice to look back and see.
Does anyone else have a long-vanished TV show that they're equally happy watching today? Some other ones I love (these comedies have a lot more substance than The Flying Nun) include Barney Miller, WKRP in Cincinnati, and MASH.
Favorites in our house are MASH (my favorite of all time), The Cosby Show, and Friends. None of which I guess qualify as "vanished" as they are all in syndication on several networks.
I have 3 old favorites & they are all old British comedies: "Are You Being Served?", "Waiting for God", & the one about the 3 old men..."Last of the Summer Wine". I never tire of watching the reruns.
Well, maybe I should say "vintage" instead of "vanished." After all, I saw The Flying Nun on TV also. I love MASH and Cosby also. Much of the appeal of both those fine shows (in addition to the splendid writing--what a revolutionary concept for making a good show!) lies in the interactions between the characters. A long-ago reviewer once said that in addition to all of its obvious strengths, MASH was also a great depiction of a workplace of any sort, not just a battlefront one, because of the way colleagues kept one another going during difficult times and through grueling tasks. That's why so many viewers can identify. One thing that was so extraordinary about this show was that every time a character left, an even better one seemed to replace him. BJ Honeycutt and "Chahles" Emerson Winchester both upped the ante when they replaced Trapper John and Frank Burns, and though I loved Henry Blake, no one could equal Sherman Potter--no one. That show just kept getting deeper and deeper through the years, and the inspiration never wore out.
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
Merrywidow, I don't know the British comedies at all. I'll have to seek them out. For me, the big British shows are often the mysteries, like Foyle's War and all the Agatha Christies. And so many of the historical "costume" shows, of course.
I've been catching old episode of The Waltons and a few of Little House on the Prairie. Wasn't a huge fan of the latter when it originally aired, but I can understand it's appeal better now. There's sort of a comfort in going back to simpler times.
MASH, The Cosby Show, A Different World, Friends and Frasier are also popular reruns - Oh, and The Wonder Years.
I've been re-watching Quantum Leap, a sci-fi show with a really neat premise, that the guy time travels and takes over the body of someone in the recent past (from about 1954 on, which was the guy's real birth date).
One of my favorite shows ever was West Wing. What writing.
I used to enjoy both The Waltons and Little House. I wonder how many kids started reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books because of Michael Landon's show.