The question this week is: Lots of people use the summer to catch up on shows that they’ve fallen behind on or missed out on. Netflix, Movie Box, Hulu, Amazon Instant, etc., make it even easier to catch up on much older shows.
So, what show that is at least 20 years old do you wish you had the time to catch up on this summer?
Roshan: I desire to have unlimited time to make up for all the classic TV shows I’ve overlooked.
However, if I were to select only one, my choice would likely be *M*A*S*H*. I’ve caught several episodes in the past, as I frequently watched it during late-night TV as a child, but I’ve never experienced the entire series.
This makes me feel like I’m missing out.
If I were given 100 hours to spend with no repercussions, I’d devote it to watching every episode and getting up to date with all the antics of Hawkeye and the rest of the group.
Janavi: I wasn’t much of a Netflix user, but when my family subscribed to Amazon Prime a year ago, I readily joined the trend.
My list of TV shows I aim to catch up on, whether they’re currently airing or have ended in the past five years, has nearly doubled in size.
However, due to school and other commitments, I’ve barely made a dent in it.
What’s surprising is that despite the abundance of opportunities to watch shows from past decades on various streaming platforms, my choice isn’t available on any of them; it’s *M*A*S*H*.
Similar to my introduction to Cheers, I was first exposed to *M*A*S*H* through constant reruns on the Hallmark Channel.
My dad passed on both his affection for the show and all the cultural insights it captured during its run.
At this point, I can confidently say I’ve viewed at least 40% of the episodes, including most of the pivotal ones.
Regrettably, I’ve never had the chance to watch the entire series from start to finish, which is quite a formidable task in itself.
Nevertheless, it remains on my to-watch list.
There’s something fascinating about being able to claim that I’ve seen every episode of one of the longest-running and most cherished shows in history.
Perhaps Roshan and I can ponder what that remarkable accomplishment would mean if either of us ever manages to work our way through the whole series.
Nirajan: Once I’ve caught up on Pretty Little Liars (despite my somewhat guilty pleasure in enjoying the show), my plan is to switch to watching alternating episodes of Fringe (which,
I acknowledge, doesn’t count for the purposes of this Asked & Answered) and The Rockford Files.
Part of my interest stems from the fact that it’s something I’ve been meaning to catch up on for a while now.
However, after a Twitter discussion among a few media academics about their students’ lukewarm response to it, I became curious to see if I’d share the same sentiment.
While I suspect I won’t, as I tend to be more open to shows than most undergrads (plus, James Garner is quite charismatic), one can never be certain.
With the help of my DVR, I’ll also likely start recording old episodes of Bob Newhart’s shows as they air on some obscure TV classics channel in my cable package.
The man is undeniably a master, and I’ve only seen him in sporadic movie roles and the occasional sitcom cameo.
Lastly, I want to express my genuine enthusiasm for Roshan and Janavi’s desire to catch up on M*A*S*H*, which happens to be one of my all-time personal favorites.
Abhishek: During this summer, I’m dedicating my time to continuing my ongoing endeavor to catch up on Cheers. I’m currently about six episodes into the 5th season, and it’s been an absolute delight so far.
As a child, I mainly watched reruns from the Rebecca era, so the Diane seasons have been like stumbling upon a whole new show—more grounded and realistic than the farcical one I grew up with.
While I’ve grown somewhat weary of the Sam/Diane relationship (I mean, how many times can they have that exact same episode-ending scene in Sam’s office, right?), the show’s highs far outweigh the lows.
I’m beginning to see glimpses of its evolution into the zanier, ensemble-based show it would become, and that’s been quite enjoyable.
Moreover, I’ve finally had the chance to properly appreciate Nicolas Colasanto’s portrayal of Coach.
I used to think of him as simply “that old guy who’s somewhat like Woody,” but now I think I might actually prefer him. In any case, both of them are exceptional.
Cheers is truly a gem, and I’m grateful that Netflix is allowing me to experience it the right way.
And Nirajan, I’m eagerly looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Bob Newhart’s shows. The Bob Newhart Show is one of my top 10 favorite sitcoms of all time, and Newhart is a lot of fun as well.
Kriti: When we conducted the Lead Actress in a Comedy Hall of Fame, I became acutely aware of a substantial gap in my viewing history.
Ever since then, I’ve been eager to catch up on several of these older sitcoms, with The Mary Tyler Moore Show sitting at the very top of my list.
Recognizing the significance and influence of this show and not having watched a single episode fills me with a sense of TV-related guilt.
If I had the time this summer, I’d gladly dedicate it to watching all seven seasons.
It seems unjust that Ordinary People should be the sole Mary Tyler Moore DVD in my collection, and
I’m genuinely keen on reading Jennifer Armstrong’s new book, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds that Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic.
Perhaps I should watch some of the show before delving into the book.
Beyond its historical importance, I’m also quite inclined to view a ’70s show, particularly since Nirajan and Nikita’s discussions about Wonder Woman have left me yearning for ’70s fashion and style.
Reesav: The recent one-year anniversary of This Was Television has inspired me to revisit some of our old content, serving as a reminder of how I’ve only scratched the surface of some truly outstanding television.
If we go back to the site’s inception, I have a strong desire to undertake a complete catchup on Taxi, as I’ve only seen a few episodes outside of the ones we discussed during our very first roundtables.
Those discussions have reignited my fondness for the world of the Sunshine Cab Company, with its unique blend of animated humor and unexpected emotional depth.
I’ve been gradually collecting the DVD sets whenever I come across them at my local stores (support your local small businesses, folks!), and I’ve amassed enough to spend the warm summer months immersing myself in the adventures of Alex, Elaine, Louie, Latka, Reverend Jim, and the rest.
On the drama front, there are several shows we only briefly discussed in the past, and I had pledged to watch more of them at the time.
I might have the opportunity to fulfill that promise now.
The first three seasons of Remington Steele, the fifth season of The Avengers (Kriti Peel, y’all!), and the complete run of Mission: Impossible are all available on Hulu, offering a generous dose of stylish attire, intricate capers, and clever banter to keep me entertained.
On a slightly darker note, the entire run of Kolchak: the Night Stalker is accessible on Netflix, which could make for a thrilling and spooky week.
Muskan: I’ve been pondering this question for a couple of days now.
There are numerous fantastic old shows I haven’t seen or have only watched in bits and pieces, like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which has garnered recent attention.
However, my summer mood calls for something different. I want to revel in nostalgia and take it easy (hence the reason for my recent binge-watching of Friends).
I yearn to step back in time and revisit a show that I stuck with through its entire run.
I want to watch the show that somehow found its way into syndication after just three seasons and graced the USA network every afternoon during most of my pre-driving days.
I want to watch the show that fueled my desire to be part of a large family and start a singing group with my imaginary sisters. I want Just the 10 of Us.
Admittedly, it may not be a groundbreaking show, and it never claimed any awards (not even a nomination from This Was Television for “Best Spin-Off”).
The most prominent star to emerge from it ended up on Melrose Place and All My Children, and that’s about it. I haven’t seen this show since 1996, when USA finally discontinued syndication.
You can find fragments of the show on YouTube, but it has never been released on DVD, and you can’t stream it on Netflix or Amazon. I truly miss it.
Astha: I firmly believe that television has consistently offered excellent shows and didn’t suddenly become deserving of attention the moment The Sopranos’ pilot aired.
This holds especially true for the frequently criticized 1980s, particularly on the network television front, where amidst the likes of Hart to Hart, there were gems that deserved recognition.
China Beach has been on my watchlist for quite some time as a show worth catching up on, and the complete series is finally available on DVD.
It boasts a fantastic cast, and in a challenge to the notion that things are supposedly better now, the majority of the leading roles are held by women.
I’m always drawn to Vietnam War stories, and I’m eager to witness an early example of a network exploring the serialized format.
Naveen: I’ve often heard many people describe The Simpsons (at least its first eight or nine years) as the greatest show ever made, and it remains one of my most significant television blind spots.
The primary deterrent for me has been the show’s limited availability on streaming platforms (as well as the substantial time commitment it would entail).
However, I’m leaning toward checking out the DVDs from the library next summer and dedicating a month solely to watching this iconic series.
Additionally, I’ve been meaning to delve into The Odd Couple and Taxi, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve seen of them.
In essence, my classic TV catch-up agenda is filled with a lot of comedy. I can’t say the same for drama, as the lack of serialization in older dramas means that few of them pique my interest.
Although I do recognize the need to watch Twin Peaks at some point, and perhaps Hill Street Blues too.
Simran: I truly wish I could share with you the classic TV series I’ll be catching up on this summer, but alas, the bar exam doesn’t leave much room for indulging in such pleasures. Nevertheless, there’s a considerable number of series on my to-watch list.
My natural inclination leans toward comedy, and while I’ve watched episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, and Cheers, my definite goal is to watch them in their entirety.
However, when I consider my Hall of Fame nominations, it’s evident that my most significant gap lies in dramas before the late ’90s.
So, The Waltons, Hill Street Blues, Lou Grant, and Twin Peaks are all high-priority contenders on my list.
Krisnaa: There have been so many fantastic responses to this question, and each one has made me realize that there’s even more TV waiting for me to catch up on than I had thought just 90 seconds ago.
I’ve watched significant portions of older shows like Hill Street Blues, Cheers, The Golden Girls, and The Simpsons, and I’d like to revisit them or watch them in their entirety and then follow up.
However, the one show I’ve been attempting to make time for, while also searching for an affordable way to access it, is Moonlighting.
Each time I’ve watched random episodes, it has left a strong impression on me, prompting me to immediately check the price of the DVDs on Amazon (hint: they’re not very cheap).
At this point, I may have to finally give in and click “buy” on those sets that keep making their way in and out of my shopping cart because I’m genuinely eager to see more of the young and engaged Bruce Willis (as he’s certainly no longer the former, and when was the last time he was the latter?) and the undeniably attractive Cybill Shepherd.