Time is a fickle mistress - how did it age?

In the Smart Home thread, @Melizmatic and I ended up in a conversation about the movie Electric Dreams. It’s a movie that by all accounts shouldn’t have aged well what with super early computers, and a 80’s music video movie format that should have dated it. But it’s still charming.

And then on the other hand, I remember how mindblowingly futuristic The Matrix seemed when I watched it for the first time and I thought it would always feel that fresh. And on a second viewing, the entire premise that everyone in the future travels through the landline phone system makes the whole movie kind of laughable.

What other movies and tv shows work that seem like they shouldn’t? And which ones that you thought would be classics end up looking super dated?


Or, is the mass movement away from landlines part of the Machines’ effort to prevent people from moving freely into and out of the Matrix?

I find that despite its inaccurate depiction of how Artificial Intelligence has evolved, and its Cold War-era mentality, Wargames has aged surprisingly well.

On the “dated” side, I thought that the first couple seasons of Scandal were good, and provided an interesting idea of what the next Republican president might be like. After Trump, and #MeToo, and the actual ways that elections tend to be rigged in favour of Republicans… Yeah. I’m going to say that, in retrospect, it doesn’t hold up all that well.


2001 comes to mind. It’s both a classic and dated in its second half. No more Pan Am, gender roles are different now then portrayed (though they could always change again), and of course there’s the year right in the title. And then there’s the absolute whiteness of pretty much everyone in the film.

Thing is, we could have things like the moon base by now if the political will had been there. So 2001 now portrays a 2001 that could have happened but didn’t.


I recently read Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book. I love her work, but the book, which switches between 2054 AD and 1348 AD, was written in 1992. Much of the 2054 part of the plot hinges around characters not being able to get in touch with other characters because of lack of access to landlines.

OTOH, the fourteenth-century sections of the book hold up remarkably well. :wink:


I grew up in the golden age of sitcoms. During the 80s and early 90s, without cable, there were thousands of sitcoms to watch. Each network (ABC, CBS, NBC, and later Fox) had a competing lineup most every night. Outside of prime time and on the local independent channels, syndicated sitcoms from the 50s through the 90s played almost all the time (at least from 5am to 2am - I wasn’t much better with my sleep habits as a kid). So much happiness, laughter, good times. I still have the theme songs stuck in my head; I used to use them to tell the time.

Then the writer’s strike hit and they almost all got replaced with reality shows and drama. It was like a great superpower empire got wiped out overnight. There are still sitcoms, but nothing like the way they dominated back in the day.

Of course, we have easier access to the old ones than ever before, on demand. And there is a comfortable feeling of nostalgia when that theme song plays, but mostly they really don’t hold up well. A lot of the characters, the jokes, the situations, are rather uncomfortable in today’s culture, especially if you try to watch them with your kids.


Heh… Star Wars. Mind you I still love the film but I saw it on the fancy 20th anniversary release and was all wait Alec Guinness is the only one here that can act worth a damn and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why it did so well for a look back at 1930’s movie serials.


Hmmm… Maybe I’ve been influenced by later revelations (and seeing Guinness in better roles) but these days I watch and think he’s phoning it in. Everyone else’s relative lack of ability and game enthusiasm perfectly suits the quite naive material. It’s not like Buster Crabbe was much of a thespian either.

And what of Peter Cushing?


Oh yes thanks. Like Christopher Lee in the movies that shall not be named he had been doing that sort of B movie stuff for so long they know how to make it work in that sort of film.


Hey, LotR was only a decent adaptation (especially of Saruman’s character), but not that bad.


No no those George Lucas films that were supposed to be related to Star Wars but I just can’t think of them as such.

LotR had some eyerolling moments though.


Oh, right, the film tie-ins to the Star Wars: Racer game!

That was a pretty cool game, I must admit. Too bad the movies didn’t hold up as well (and they completely dropped the racing premise after the first one, which was odd).


I’ve been re-watching Friends recently to see how well it holds up, especially in light of the homophobia criticism. I’m currently mid-season 2 and so far it’s reputation is holding up. It’s sharp, witty, warm and surprisingly funny if you’ve managed to avoid watching it to death in endless reruns.

There are some duff notes. There are some gay jokes, although they’re nowhere near as bad or as frequent as for example The Big Bang Theory. There’s Ross’s anger at his ex-wife’s lesbian partner, although Ross is generally portrayed as unreasonable. There’s also Ross’s attempts to ‘nice guy’ his way into Rachael’s knickers. Actually, getting rid of Ross would be an improvement. But apart form that it’s standing the test of time far better than I thought it would.


I also find the sitcom format dated. My daughter recommended the reboot of One Day at a Time. I watched the pilot. There was a lot to admire, especially Rita Moreno who is such an amazing, vibrant presence. But, I just cannot abide the format anymore.


We love the old Perry Mason shows, mainly because of being Raymond Burr fans, especially his voice (“isn’t it TRUE???”). But some of the motivations for murder seem really silly. A child out of wedlock? OH NOOOOOO!!!