Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Guilty Pleasures (Teevee)

HDNet routinely runs older series in high definition--but I was surprised to see Hogan's Heroes on their programming list. Apparently the original series was shot on film, and some industrious soul has gone to the trouble of converting episodes to high-def. Okay, it's not perfect--the image is more like 14:9 instead of 16:9--but it's still remarkably clean and sharp for a series from the 1960s.

Of course, the high-def is lagniappe for me. I watched the show pretty regularly from its 1965 premiere until its cancellation after (I believe) seven seasons. Sure, it's a silly premise, and it trivialized prisoner of war camps, blah blah blah... but I nevertheless enjoyed the broad humor of the series, the ensemble cast, and the charm of Bob Crane. Now, of course, we're told that the charm was only superficial, but so what? On the screen, Colonel Hogan was a noble rogue, an amiable enemy of the Germans and an affable leader of his ragtag troops.

I've watched about a half-dozen episodes in high-def so far; none of them is particularly memorable, but they are remarkably consistent in quality--if you like one of them, you'll probably like them all, and if you dislike it, don't even try another episode...

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I was 12 years old when the show premiered; at the age of 12, when your family has just added its first color television, prime-time network fare is almost irresistible--and we never forget those shows that fascinated us as kids.

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