It's true. Strangely, how do you class a programme as dated?
I've been thinking about this, and there are a few things. Some are technical, and can't be helped:
- 4:3 ratio, obviously.
- Poor resolution - again hardly their fault.
- Few camera angles - I suspect that cameras were proportionally more expensive, so scenes tend to be shot from a more limited set of angles than is the case now.
They are things that you just have to allow for, and don't really matter. Some things do seem to have changed though I stress that I am only talking about my experience - we don't watch masses of TV dramas etc:
- Dialogue can be clunkier and less convincing.
- Plots can have more holes.
- Characters can be less well-developed and lack the full three dimensions.
I realise that much of this won't apply to a great many things, but these are the sorts of things that I notice.
I read a book by Steven Johnson about how popular culture has evolved, and become steadily more complex. I'm not a gamer, but from what I see they are almost infinitely more complex than they were thirty years ago. And dramas used to have fewer characters and each episode would be largely self-contained. Now, better series like House of Cards, Battlestar Galactica
etc etc require you to keep track of multiple story arcs which come and go - as well as vast suites of characters whose interrelationships shift and flux.