Wow. First off, a huge thank you to DrewL, Maxwell, and our other industry professionals for bringing in some really great knowledge to this thread. This is the kind of thing that keeps me coming back to the AVS forum on a regular basis!
Now, I would definitely classify myself as an OAR stickler... For movies. However, I really feel that TV is a different breed. Sure, TV still has directors, cinematographers, DPs, etc., but unlike a movie where a two hour film is shot over a period of months, all of the principal photography for a 40-45 minute TV episode generally has to be completed in one week or less. The idea that each shot is carefully scrutinized for composition seems a bit far fetched to me. I would think that it's more likely positions are roughly blocked out, and once a good take is in the can and doesn't go outside the safe zone they move on to the next setup. That's not to say that anyone who works on TV is unprofessional, or we shouldn't consider intent when making a new home video release, but I do wish that in this case we as consumers could have a choice between the 1.33 and 1.63 framings. Preserving the vertical framing seems like the best compromise to me, and I really think that opening to widescreen will pay dividends.
Speaking specifically about the DrewL/Maxwell example, the 1.33 DVD frame looks too tight to me, and the 1.66 frame, although it has extra dark space on the left, feels more natural. Most likely that's because of what MovieSwede said: In an era of 20" TVs viewed from across the room, closeups had to be uncomfortably close to capture the nuances of a performance. I really do think that on my 70" screen I'm going to want to see some breathing room on the sides.
I guess I just keep thinking back to that tweet saying that consumers should be allowed to see examples and vote on the choice between 1.33 and widescreen, and now I may just have to always wonder what could have been.
Movies look their best when they look like movies. More Patton-esque remasters!