Friday, April 13, 2012

Seeing Through Wiser Eyes

I was prowling the Web earlier today, when I stumbled across a new feature in the A.V. Club blog. A number of staffers there were asked to respond to this interesting question:
Sometimes we relate to pop-culture differently over time, not because it’s changed, but because we have. Maybe it’s something we grew into and matured enough to appreciate. Maybe it’s the opposite, and nostalgia has made that pop-culture represent something to us that it didn’t have when we first encountered it. What pop-culture did you come to appreciate over a long time period?
Among the responses was one from Noel Murray, who has apparently changed his mind about some of the classic televised crime dramas we’ve discussed in The Rap Sheet:
I already liked boring-old-people music and boring-old-people movies when I was a teenager, so nothing much has changed there. What has changed over time is how much I’ve grown to love the TV detective shows of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. My parents gobbled those shows up when I was a kid, but aside from the playful ones, like Remington Steele and Moonlighting, they were all pretty much white noise to me. Then sometime after college, a fellow film buff hipped me to the cinephile bona fides of Columbo, which I became obsessed with when it was airing on A&E every afternoon. From there, I got hooked on Mannix, Banacek, The Rockford Files, Ellery Queen ... heck, these days, I’ll even watch a Matlock or a Murder, She Wrote on a lazy Sunday afternoon when there are no games I want to see. The appeal of these shows is partly their formulaic familiarity, but even more, it’s that their heroes are so clever and witty and resourceful, and it’s so rare on TV that we get to sit and watch people think. Solving mysteries along with these detectives serves the same purpose as working a crossword puzzle: It helps keep the mind sharp as we age.
You’ll find the complete collection of remarks here.


Dorothy James said...

I very much like the idea here of "sitting and watching people think." It does apply in a lot of the old TV detective shows, and in a way it explains the attraction of a lot of detective fiction. At any rate it gives us a good excuse for "enjoying" murder and the detection of crime.

Sextonblake said...

I always enjoyed those 70s detective shows as a kid, but I've come to love them as an adult. Just recently I started on the McCLOUD season 1&2 box set, and it really is pure joy to watch. Those characters such as McCloud, Rockford, Banacek, Columbo are the television equivalent of pulp characters, and deserve to be treated with respect by TV historians.