A Golden Age Of Television...Its Swan Song?*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Dr. Bogenbroom, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SHTV Thread Starter

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I've read comments about how we're living in a (if not THE) golden age of television. To include Soprano's is a bit of a stretch, but I think that show is a general consensus of when this enlightened era was ushered. I do not disagree. An over-abundance of content to digest.

    I'm currently watching Critical Role, a weekly live-streamed dungeons and dragons game played by professional voice actors (one of them being Taliesin Jaffe (the wooby kid from Mr. Mom)). Each show/episode lasts ~2hrs, is commercial free, and is thoroughly entertaining. This is just one example of a "show" I'm spending my limited resource on, at the expense of a traditional "show".

    I'm relatively old, and I'm already choosing a new form of TV which doesn't follow any traditional models in lieu of the standard. I've got to be inclined to think someone half my age (a late teen/early 20something) does this much more so than I. How much longer are we going to get these high budget, high quality, traditional TV shows?
     
  2. I find that the ambitious TV shows on HBO such as The Wire and The Soprano's were the beginning of the period.
     
  3. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    I'm not sure what would lead you to think this way. If anything, the amount of great shows will only increase, if only because the sheer volume of content would dictate that some of it is going to be excellent. The vast majority of it will be crap. But that will still leave enough for us to keep coming back. If you think about it, as a percentage of the amount of shows produced, we can probably say that the 70's were actually the golden age of TV, because there were only three networks, with a high percentage of great shows in relation to the amount made. The great shows of today just seem greater because there are so many other terrible ones.
     
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  4. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Sixties was a good decade for kids TV.
    50 years later incredible television for adults with HBO etc.
     
  5. Radio Jammor

    Radio Jammor Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    That's just a terrible comment. Shows get better over time in the same way everything improves that we do and create and make. What has really driven the change in the last 20 years or so has been the ability of TV to attract the people that were in movies, as well as the better writers, who now take advantage of longer story arcs that TV shows have taken advantage of, since Babylon 5.

    Whilst movies have improved in terms of spectacle and CGI, they are struggling in terms of creative talent, because TV is now giving writers and actors the ability to create characters with greater depth than they used to.

    I might add that it is no coincidence that so many British and Australian actors are starting to appear on US TV - and particularly talented black British actors, who are getting better opportunities is US TV than they are and have in the UK.
     
  6. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    Respectfully disagree. It is true that movie folk are slumming more and more on TV these days, but one only has to look at the explosion of cheaply made reality shows, which are a huge chunk of cable programming now (and a large slice of over the air network programming) to see how far we've fallen. The idea of "Peak" TV sounds sexy, but it truly ignores the vast wasteland of lowest common denominator flotsam we're fed.
     
  7. Radio Jammor

    Radio Jammor Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    I think you give yourself away with the "slumming" crack. You think TV is inferior regardless because you've always understood that the movies were always better - and until very recently they were, but you haven't realised that TV has taken the mantle.

    I don't disagree that there is a pile of junk out there, but that's because every one that can is trying to get on the bandwagon and not everyone is capable of the highest standard of output (and let's face it, not everyone wants it or can 'get it').

    Movie audiences are plummeting. The cost of making them is too high and the cost of seeing them is too high, so only safe, guaranteed commercial successes are being made on the big screen, that people are going to be willing to shell out for. But creativity is losing out because movie companies are not taking risks.

    That in turn means that the real opportunities are in TV, and where TV today is enabling top talent to develop characters and stories over many episodes - something which the movies cannot replicate.

    You can't tell me that those TV characters in the 70s were as well-developed compared to today, no matter how fond you (or I, for that matter) are of them.
     
  8. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    I think the best of TV nowadays can compete very effectively with the best movies, but this is an infinitesimal percentage of shows at this level of quality, and they're usually on HBO, which is really a movie studio that plays on TV. I still think the vast majority of movie people think going on TV is a step back. But don't get me wrong-I think there's a lot of quality shows being made. It just takes a helluva lot of effort to find them anymore.
     
  9. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SHTV Thread Starter

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Heh, you guys are focusing on my first paragraph. The overreaching intent of the question is...these highly entertaining "shows" available on the internet, for free, without ads, NOT produced by major studios...how does the old model (the one we're currently in...even accounting for the Netflixes and Hulus...) survive enough to keep giving us the amazing content? I think it's going to be increasingly difficult.
     
  10. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    And nothing remotely as good since then . . .

    I've watched a lot of recommended shows since and many were simply "dark," as if that were an end in and of itself. But the shows either lacked the wit and range of THE SOPRANOS or the reach and ambition of THE WIRE. Most have been like MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, all premise and no execution.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  11. Radio Jammor

    Radio Jammor Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    Well we're closer than we started, but still miles apart.

    The best TV does more than compete with the best movies. They are able to provide more complex & therefore rewarding entertainment over a longer period of time.

    You still draw this line where you believe either movies are at least as good, and that movie people are stepping down - which again comes from a historic perspective - but if movies are still better, why are so many writers and actors stepping away into TV? They might, like you think or hope it is temporary, but where is this movie resurgence going to come from, if not from TV itself?

    You're right, I did get into this thread to deal with the above aspect of it.

    The reason that I haven't gone any further than that is because a) I get where you are coming from and b) my answer to your question is, I don't know.

    I don't know that these impending changes will impact on the quality of the TV shows we see currently. I'm inclined to believe that if the quality drops, so will the ratings and therefore so will the income, so the quality has to come first.

    People have gradually improved the standards and variety of TV because people have gradually expected more and TV has gradually delivered more. If the TV shows start stepping backwards from that, then so will the audiences.
     
  12. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Long Island
    The golden age of TV was the 50s into the early 60s. The 50s had all of the great anthology shows and then the early 60s had all of the great dramas, The Defenders, Naked City, Route 66, The Nurses, East Side West Side, Mr. Novak, Ben Casey, The Eleventh Hour, Dr. Kildare, Breaking Point, Bus Stop, For the People, Espionage and others.
     
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  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    One interesting element: the Writers Guild just chose all their nominated TV shows for the annual WGA awards, and for the first time, not a single traditional American network show made the cut. All the shows were from HBO, Netflix, Showtime, AMC, and the "alternative" channels. I have no doubt that the networks are reeling over the competition they have to endure, because the other channels have higher budgets, (frequently) no commercials, and far fewer restrictions on language and nudity.

    I think we have been seeing kind of a second "golden age" of television in terms of the quality of the writing, the acting, the directing, and all the technical elements. Something like Game of Thrones could've been a pretty damned good feature 20 years ago, and here it is, every week on HBO.
     
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  14. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    It's not for nothing that the current age of tv has been been termed Peak TV.
     
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  15. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    When the only traditional network drama to make any inroads against the big content providers like HBO and Netflix is "This Is Us", you know things are tough for them. That show is a cloying, manipulative mess-if I wanted to cry this much I'll just watch the news, thank you.
     
  16. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    It don't mean a thang if it ain't got that swang
     
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  17. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida, Central

    Not disputing that you truly believe this was a great time in TV, but I am somewhat of a TV fan and really do not see much following for any of these Shows years later.
     
  18. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida, Central
    I have seen numerous Bad shows from the 60s-90s era, and consequently do not think there was an abundance of truly great shows during the 70s and 80s specifically.
     
  19. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida, Central
    Breaking Bad
    Better Call Saul?
     
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  20. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Defenders, Naked City, Route 66, and East Side West Side all have at least cult followings today.

    Route 66 is absolutely invaluable for its location footage of a now-vanished America. But dramatically it can be rather slack.

    As can Naked City, though it does sometimes offer more complex characterizations than usual in TV. Similar to R66 it's watchable for its NYC locations and theater-based guest stars.

    I've only seen one Defenders. It was preachy but a bit nuanced in its story of a Jewish professor who defends the free speech rights of a Neo-Nazi student. I certainly prefer it to any of the Law & Orders that so obviously ape it (with some Naked City thrown into the Arrest & Trial format).

    I've watched two East Side West Side episodes, and for me it doesn't hold up at all. Was it really considered so great at the time, or was it just bleeding-heart do-goodery that got it good reviews?

    Curiously the OP does not list two programs that definitely do hold up, The Fugitive and Combat. OP also neglects the several great westerns airing at the time -- for that form, this era truly was a Golden Age.
     
  21. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Today is the Golden Age Of TV, and the reason has nothing to do with Game of Bad or Breaking Thrones.

    Today you can access so much of the best TV has produced throughout its history: live dramas from the '50s that after their production became little more than rumor; cult favorites that didn't last long enough to make rerun heaven; documentaries and rare news footage; musical performances from superstars or obscurities (I still can't get over the fact that I got to see a 1965 clip of Shirley Matthews on Canadian TV singing her lost girl-group classic "Big Town Boy").
     
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  22. milankey

    milankey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, Ohio, USA
    I watch fairly recent shows on dvd like Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Justified, Fringe, etc and I don't think tv has ever been as good as those type shows.
     
  23. aforchione

    aforchione Forum Resident

    Location:
    Englewood, Florida
    There was a lot of garbage shows in the 60's and 70's, just as there is now. I think the biggest drop-off in quality is in sitcoms, or dramedy's...they generally suck now...no original ideas...and this whole genre of shows about millenials who don't work, get high all day, screw up constantly but somehow manage to live in million dollar apartments are the absolute worst.
     
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  24. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    What about Master Of None, The Incredible Jessica Jones, The Big Sick, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Crashing, Love, Veep, Red Oaks, Dear White People, Catastrophe, BoJack Horseman, Speechless, The Detour, to name a few...
     
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  25. aforchione

    aforchione Forum Resident

    Location:
    Englewood, Florida
    OK, sucks, sucks, stupid, boring, ok, sucks, lame, ok, sucks, silly, sucks, silly....lol
     
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