The Impact of Classic TV on Today Can Still Be Clearly Seen
Many classic TV shows of the fifties, sixties and seventies continue to have a major impact on contemporary viewers, decades after they left the air. This is highlighted by the success of TV Land, a cable channel devoted exclusively to reruns of many fondly-remembered shows, including The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza and The Beverly Hillbillies, many episodes of which are available to be viewed for free on their website. Many catchphrases from these classic shows have also entered into popular usage, including “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” from The Flintstones, “Aaay” from Happy Days and “Baby, You’re the Greatest” from The Honeymooners.
The impact of classic TV shows on today can also be seen in their influence on the series that followed. For example, the gritty realism and focus on procedural detail pioneered by the 1950s series Dragnet was crucial to the success of subsequent cop shows that followed, from Hill Street Blues and Cagney and Lacey in the 1970s all the way to more recent hits such as Law and Order and CSI. Law and Order’s creator, Dick Wolf, even remade Dragnet in 2003; the updated series, however, was not a success.
But the most notable way the impact of classic TV shows on today can still be seen is in the sheer number of movie remakes they have inspired. Successful movies that have spun off from classic series include the live-action The Flintstones, the Star Trek series of films and The Addams Family movies. In recent years, however, movie remakes of many classic TV shows, including Bewitched, Get Smart, Sgt. Bilko, Leave It to Beaver and McHale’s Navy, were flops, showing that the filmmakers had clearly failed to grasp what drew audiences to these shows in the first place. Fortunately, these series continue to enjoy a healthy after-life in syndicated re-runs and in DVD box sets that are eagerly snapped up by viewers looking to relive their childhood memories.