Good television

Good television

As I was watching Netflix’s new series, “Stranger Things,” I felt like I was watching a show that sent me directly to my childhood through a worm hole, sending me back to the times when I was first discovering thrillers, R-rated movies and Stephen King novels… 

Reading the reviews and comments on the web, it appears that millions of people all around the world have thought the same way. They watched the show and loved it with a very specific feeling: Pure nostalgia.
This shows that millions of kids had the same childhood all over the world… 

It’s hard to imagine, but many people do share the same memories.

But wait… How can a kid in the United States, Turkey, France or New Zealand share the same memories?
Let’s go back in time for a while… Back to the times when Turkey was introduced to the magical world of television…

In 1968, Turkish government officially started broadcasting on one television channel. Black and white television to be precise, and it stayed that way until 1982.

In the late 1980s, aside from the government’s official TV broadcasting company TRT and its subsequent channels, private broadcasters emerged. New media outlets, broadcasters called Star TV (which still exists as one of the leaders) and Teleon were the new windows for us to discover the world from that time on. They brought us new series that were sweeping over American audiences, R-Rated movies, blockbusters, cult ones and many productions that were watched by millions during that period. 

Between the late 1960s and 1980s, many Hollywood productions were brought into our homes through TRT, as we were already familiar with series such as “Dallas,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Little House on the Prairie” and so on. 

Actually those series were more than “familiar,” to us; JR was the bad guy in our father’s office, Jill was the “glam” girl next door that our brothers fell in love with, Laura was our beloved imaginary friend that kept us company while playing house. 

Series like the “Twilight Zone,” “The Love Boat,” “The White Shadow,” “Growing Pains,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Married With Children,” “Bewitched” and many more were shown and loved by the Turkish audience already thanks to TRT. Most of the productions were brought to the Turkish audience many years after the original release date, however. For instance, “Bewitched” started in 1964 and ended in 1972 but the release date in Turkey was in 1976. There were exceptions but most of the time, we were years behind. 

But this changed drastically in the 1990s.

Following the birth of new private television channels, new up-to date productions, new movies and series were to come… 

That’s when we started to share the same childhood. We were introduced to “McGyver,” “Miami Vice,” “Baywatch”… Or some heart-warming comedies like “Charles in Charge,” “Alf,” “Full House,” “Perfect Strangers”…

As a teenager, I really enjoyed series like “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Sweet Valley High” and “Melrose Place”… And I remember I was “exposed” to soap operas like “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Santa Barbara,” etc. after school at home… (Hi, mom!)

That could very well be considered as the “Americanism of all childhoods in the world” but to me, it was a beautiful one with many well-made universal productions that I was able to watch on TV. 

I remember the first time that I watched “Nightmare on Elm Street” on Star TV back in the early 1990s. I remember the first time that I watched “E.T.” 

I remember the thrill; I remember the coldness on my neck.

I remember sitting on the rug in front of the TV watching the creepy “lady” that was played by Anthony Perkins on the remake of the Psycho with my brother, shivering on a very hot day at summer at home… 
I also remember watching “The Cosby Show,” (although that feeling of heart-warming nostalgia has been spoiled by “Mr. Huxtable” himself, recently) waiting for my father to come from work as my mother prepared dinner for the family…

It also feels like a lazy Saturday, watching “The Visitors” and freaking out every single time I see there is a green alien lying under the fake human skin of Diana, played by Jane Badler.

Or playing FRP while sitting around a campfire that we started in the garden of an abandoned, half-demolished cottage next to our summer house…

Everybody’s amazed to see how Netflix’s new series “Stranger Things” make us feel. It’s a perfect homage to the 1980s and 1990s series and movies, but there’s more to it: It makes us feel the way we felt in those years. 

Maybe we’re not particularly hooked on the series itself. We’re hooked on the feeling. This pure, warm feeling of nostalgia…

And this shows that we are in a new era of period television, or to be precise, series making. 

It’s not about fuzzy wigs, very well made furnishings or the “look” of the series alone. It’s all about recalling the audience’s feelings.  

In this dark phase of the world, I would never say no to a time-traveling opportunity via a well-made television series. 

Plus, this is really good television.

And it’s never done this good before.