Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I've been watching a lot of old TV shows recently, courtesy of DVD box sets received as presents at Christmas and for my birthday (thanks to S and A!). The Muppet Show, despite featuring a lot of guest artistes that I've never heard of (Miss Juliet Prowse, anyone?), and being broadcast in the late 1970s, I had worried that I would not find it as enchanting as when I watched it during my childhood. Some shows prove to be boring when watched as an adult - Bagpuss springs to mind - but The Muppet Show isn't one of them. The jokes are still funny, and the puppets' expressions are expertly done. Waldorf and Statler (the elderly hecklers) probably get the best lines, but there are great musical and sight gags as well as the verbal ones. And the theme song is ludicrously catchy!

And the other TV series I've been re-watching is The Professionals. I never watched these when they were originally broadcast, being too young, and so came to them as an adult. It's difficult to justify liking it in these politically correct and post feminist days, but if you can watch them as a relic of the late 1970s, and not try to apply our own standards, they are quite fun. There's a lot of shooting, and fighting (and the occasional gratuitous shot of a barmaid's boobs), but there are other issues which are still relevant today - like how to counter terrorism - as well as those which are out of date - like the dealing with the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. The most startling episode to watch was one dealing with racism - which wasn't shown at the time of the original run because of its subject matter - and the attitudes on display from certain of the main characters is quite shocking. I'm unsure whether the show undermines its main point by its ending, or whether it points the irony. You do actually feel liking and sympathy for Bodie (Lewis Collins) and Doyle (Martin Shaw), despite the violence and womanising, because they can show surprising sympathy and humanity themselves.

Anyway, on with Arrested Development, series one...


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