In November 2011 Peggy Noonan wrote a column about the two golden ages of TV, for which she was giving thanks that year. Here’s what I wrote about my TV memories in 2011.
“Looks like I missed both golden ages. My parents didn’t have TV when I was growing up so if I ever saw Playhouse 90 (1956-1961) I don’t remember it. I was just too busy going to school, dating or working at the drug store to sit down and watch TV. And of the second group I’ve only seen Law and Order (now in its 20th season), and much of it only in reruns--miss Jerry Orbach. Hardly ever watch it these days--too predictable. The others in the second golden age I’ve never seen. [Noonan cited "The Sopranos," "Mad Men," "The Wire," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "ER," "24," "The West Wing," "Law and Order," "30 Rock." ]
Over the years we’ve enjoyed Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) both when it was current and later in reruns; Mary Tyler Moore (1970-1977) and the spin-offs Rhoda and Phyllis; Love Boat (1977-1986) was great for seeing all the stars not usually seen; Cheers (1982-1993); the Bill Cosby Show (1984-1992) and still laugh and identify with the family situations and love the fashions [aside: unfortunately that memory has been tainted by recent sex charges]; Murder she wrote (1984-1996) with Angela Lansbury was never missed and we enjoyed it in reruns too; Golden Girls (1985-1992) although I think I saw this mostly on reruns; Murphy Brown (1988-1998)--great ensemble cast; Frasier (1993-2004) again mostly seen in reruns; Ellen (1994-1998); some of the movie channels like TNT and AMC for the movies I never saw when they were current; Third rock from the sun (1996-2001)--hard to believe Tommy is almost 30 [now 34]; we enjoyed Dharma and Greg (1997-2002); Monk ([was]still current and watching it tonight); The Closer ([then] now in the 5th season).
And remember the great variety shows--Sonny and Cher (1971-1974), Donny and Marie (1976-1979), The Captain and Tennille (1976-1977), Hee Haw (1969-1993) and now we even watch Lawrence Welk, which we never would have done in the 1950s and 1960s, as archives were dusted off with added interviews from the “Welk family” (1986- current) for its old time slot on Saturday evenings (tomorrow will be the Thanksgiving special on PBS). “