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

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

  1. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    I guess it's Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, Get Smart, I Dream Of Jeannie, The Addams Family for you!
     
    Dan C likes this.
  2. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    1960s kids tv was great, for kids.
     
  3. aforchione

    aforchione Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Englewood, Florida
    And My Mother The Car!
     
  4. I think many writers/producers struggle with how to effectively put together a story arc that both moves the narrative forward and serves the need of the network. The British have the right approach--it's as long as it takes to tell the story effectively. The Sopranos, while it did have a vague story arc for various seasons was, largely, a series of shorter ones in service of a season with a larger one that might be in the background. Not all shows should have a series of story arcs (for example The Orville has gone back to individual episodes that, largely, stand alone although there is a background ongoing story, i.e., the relationship between the captain and the first officer, that pop up periodically. It doesn't however, dominate the show. Every network for the most part wants that story arc now because that style of storytelling is in vogue.

    Execution and style over substance can only last so long and some of the shows have that issue while, as much as I enjoy The Man In The High Castle, it is confined to one style of storytelling and the pacing was at times glacial as the producers created the world around the characters. They have forgotten one of the bits of best writing advice I ever got--sometimes the world the story takes place in features a background that is implied, inferred without having to dig into it other times it is an essential part of the story. A puzzle is only enjoyable if all the pieces fit and it has the picture that is on the cover of the box and really the puzzle for its own sake rarely does well or leads to inconsistent storytelling. Once everyone stops speculating as to what the real "picture" is and they find out, they will often times be disappointed if the build up is too large.

    Well these shows are anywhere from four years old to over a decade. Doesn't mean that they aren't worth investigating but I would suggest selectively trying some of the more recent shows. You'll be surprised at the quality.
     
  5. To an extent--it's also because there are so many shows being produced compare to before as well that are of pretty high quality but there is a fair share of crap still out there.
     
  6. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    More and more I'd say. Your assessment is quite wrong.

    The future is Netflix, Amazon video and Disney's new streaming service. They will be competing and apart from movies the plan is obviously to have high quality original content. So you can sit at home and watch film quality series on your TV.
     
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  7. Dr. Bogenbroom

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

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I read that Netflix is spending 8 billion on original programming in 2018. I don't think they're going to be able to do that in a decade's time. There is only so much time in a day. I was an early Netflix adopter. I was also an early Netflix leaver. It is particularly easy since I can sign up for a month, catch up on the few shows I'm interested in, then leave again.

    Again I'll point to the example of Critical Role. A "show" I watch regularly with hundreds of hours of content already even though it's only at most a couple years old. I'm an old demographic and already I'm trading the traditional for something which does not follow the model which brings us this great programming.
     
  8. Benno123

    Benno123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I always assumed the peak of TV, the golden Age if you will, was 1985 to 1989 when Small Wonder was on. Anything before or since ....





    :D :righton: :laugh: :wiggle: :tiphat: :pineapple: :D
     
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  9. James Slattery

    James Slattery Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Long Island

    Unfortunately, most of these shows that I listed are impossible to see today. The Defenders finally got a DVD release but only the first season, which was the weakest. CBS programming head, James Aubrey, was nagging them to make the show more like Perry Mason, i.e., trite and formulaic. It wasn't until late in that season that the show found its niche and really took off. Once it did, practically every episode is great.

    I didn't list The Fugitive or Combat, which ARE great shows, as are The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock, Slattery's People (another one impossible to see), The Great Adventure and a few others that belong.

    ESWS had a few misfire episodes but was a very hard hitting show with topics not covered on TV at the time, and barely shown since. Plus Scott is great in the part. 2/3 of the way in, they changed the format and had him go work for a congressman, and those episodes are not nearly as good.
     
  10. James Slattery

    James Slattery Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Long Island
    Really?? How can you do that? Tell me where you can see Playhouse 90 and Kraft Television Theatre, the 2 greatest live dramas of the 50s? Yes, Decades runs some Studio One, maybe 5% of the hundreds that were produced. Or the 2 season early 60s show Play of the Week? Last I checked, all of those are sitting on 2-inch in UCLA's vault. How about the US Steel Hour? Armstrong Circle Theatre? As for filmed shows, there are plenty of those that are inaccessible as well.
     
  11. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I agree, and it's fascinating the way things have flipped. It seems to me that people just are more eager for high-quality, high-drama, extended narrative, and TV has never been more able to deliver that than now. I've noticed that a lot of blockbuster movies have done that too, running nearly three hours in some cases, but you can only do that so often in a world where people can have high-quality entertainment in their homes. And I remember that in the old days there were many blockbusters like Lawrence Of Arabia which were longer than even the longest movies of today, but these days people are more eager to view long-form drama at home. Also, I will very ignorantly speculate that perhaps television can afford to take more risks in attempting to tell more ambitious, complicated and unusual stories, whereas in movies it seems that everything's got to press all the buttons and be tied up with a tidy bow. Movies seem to me to be more predictable and boring. TV is, well, a lot of it is also predictable but strangely not so boring! :laugh:
     
  12. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Yes, with movie budgets now it's very difficult to take risks. A great series like Legion would never happen in a film, too far out.

    Fargo is a great example of the beauty of the extended narrative, great show (series 2 was brilliant). And Game of Thrones is like 3 or 4 great films ever season.

    The whole 'boxset binge' culture is really popular in the UK now with Netflix replacing buying boxsets, and I think that is really the way it will be for the foreseeable future now. Also here people don't have much spare cash so TV is your friend.
     
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  13. Radio Jammor

    Radio Jammor Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    That's an excellent critique of that particular show.

    It's funny, but I'm seeing comparisons arising in this thread to one in the music forums about whether there is an audience for new rock. There are people here who are locked-in to their ways and their views and to their own particular time-periods, from which nothing produced since can touch.

    I suppose I am not like that. I'm happy to look out for that next show. When I was young, it often came from, 'Hey I recognise that person, they were in <TV show> and I liked that, so this might be good, too.' That has evolved into something much more complicated, but I know what to look out for and it isn't often that I miss something new that I think I might like. Which is why TVoD & downloads are wonderful, AFAIAC.

    In short, I'm always looking for the next show, because I know that eventually, TV shows will end and I will want to see something else to replace it, and preferably something better.

    Not that that is always so, mind. I'm a sucker for a :cop: or emergency services procedurals ( I :love: you Hill Street Blues!). I have my penchants. But my, how they've changed, whilst also staying the same.

    I don't see TV going backwards. I see it going forwards. What I suppose could happen is the death of cinema and TV merging with movies in our PPV/Freeview services. That may actually do the world of movie-making a favour.
     
    Deesky likes this.
  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I watch about half of these, and they're very good. We just started Bojack Horseman this week, and man, that is a mean, wicked, nasty, downbeat, depressing show.
     
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  15. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    You don't have to watch their whole catalog in a day. :D But seriously, that's their whole business model - to develop an ever growing library of original content in order to keep existing customers (who want new content not already seen) and to attract new subscribers with a rich back catalog of material.

    Their production budgets have been increasing every year and as long as they can keep getting new subscribers (as they currently are), there is no reason to think that this trend won't continue into the future.
     
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  16. They have become major players and as the networks decline and vanish, there's the chance that Netflix has made a bit for survival just as Amazon as to a degree (Hulu to a lesser degree). Ultimately, we will have a finite about of streaming channels just as we did networks.
     
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  17. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    I think there will be a bunch of streamers, but only a handful will be relevant to the average subscriber as much more than that, the costs start to mount up and managing many more subscription channels becomes unwieldy.

    Over time, if there are too many low to moderately popular streamers, they will likely either fold or be sold to the bigger players, or perhaps they'll just become production houses to the remaining streamers.
     
    wayneklein likes this.
  18. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    Netflix is throwing a lot of s*** to see what will stick, some are great (Godless was amazing...well, almost) a lot of their shows are decent and some stink, trying to buy the marketplace and its working. I don't know, theres a lot of good shows but a lot of crapola.....I guess its the same as the old days just. bigger.
    I mean the 70's gave us silly shows like the love boat but also shows columbo
     
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  19. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    The other way to look at it is Netflix funds a lot of diverse content for all kinds of tastes. What you may consider to be crapola, others will find interesting (and vice-versa). This strategy ensures that there is always something for everyone, wherever they are in the world. It's worked well for them so far.
     
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  20. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident


    true, cant argue with success, i like amazon more mainly because they have a much deeper old movie well (my thing) and better site navigation, hulu is probably my second, theres at least one Netflix show that keeps me hanging on tho, i try a lot of them but usually bail after one ep
     
  21. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Netflix just cancelled a bunch of shows, and internally it's being said that the upper management is angry that they don't have a show as big as Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. So they're gunning for shows of that level.
     
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  22. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    Same thing Anazon wants. They just canceled pickups for a bunch of pilots, as none of them were GoT worthy! I think it's a mistake to focus so much on 'tentpole' shows at the expense of diversity, as they could go down the same road as the movie industry with their blockbuster fixation.
     
  23. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident


    yeah each one wants to nail down top dog status with a "must watch" show. I think Netflix has Stranger Things but House of Cards is being 'retooled' and not much else is getting huge buzz, maybe Narcos. Hulu scored big with Handmaids Tale
     
  24. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    The 80s has been called a “golden age” and I have to agree. The high quality writing and (for the time) production values of “Hill Street Blues” and “St Elsewhere” laid the groundwork for the type of dramatic television we take for granted now. Before then it was impossible to dream of a series as layered and with so many interwoven plot lines. Then you’ve got brilliant comedy like “Cheers” and revolutionary cable concepts like MTV...the 80s was awesome.

    dan c
     
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  25. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    Is the hyperbole warranted? You haven't seen a single series in the past several years which is "remotely as good" as The Wire? The rationale for posts such as this is to get a reaction. Congrats.
     

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