I was watching M*A*S*H today and thinking about how much I still love that show. It got me thinking about why there's such a connection with some shows, no matter how old they are, and how some other ones that you've seen decades ago and loved then, now were so dated. Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that M*A*S*H was a period piece even then, but I thought that wouldn't explain some other classics such as All in the Family, Golden Girls or even I Love Lucy.
I Love Lucy is even more of a standout in that it was obviously done in the early years of TV. Sets were barely realistic, but still, it looks relevant still when watched today.
I think much of it has to do with the realism of the characters, the honesty in which they're played, but a lot has to do with the general atmosphere. There has to be something believable about the surroundings. In M*A*S*H it was evident. Even though shot in the hills of California, it LOOKED believably like an Army mobile hospital in Korea.
Even I Love Lucy on its rough sets was believable as a tenement apartment in New York.
So, how does that relate to writers? The stories you write need to be timeless to stand up when someone picks them up decades after you wrote them. Are the scenes believable? Do the characters ring true? Is the atmosphere palpable? These are the things that classics are made of. It doesn't matter what time period you write about or in, what matters is if it will still strike a cord decades down the line.