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

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

  1. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    So, to further the point, comedy is relatively mediocre at best compared to drama. I mean, you had to drag in dreck such as The Big Sick to make your point?! Ugh.
  2. rockerreds

    rockerreds Forum Resident

    When Everwood was cancelled that was the end for me.
  3. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    I think we are missing the true heroes of this age...more venues. More diverse audiences and demographics to target. More places to place quality tv shows leads to more tv shows. And by law of averages, half of them ARE going to be, "better than average".

    Everything else comes from that. Now every cable netlet wants its' own breakout Sopranos, be it WGN's Manhattan, or The History Channel's Einstein; they all want that tent-pole that defines them. Who knows, maybe someday Home Shopping Channel will break through with a long-form drama loosely based on Death of a Salesman.

    The Wire didn't inspire Battlestar Galactica...but in the aggregate, it did inspire somebody else to try making it for a cable network, instead of ABC.
  4. Except we've ALWAYS had that lowest common denominator. I think it's probably proportionally about the same. There tends to be a rose colored glasses approach to TV form the 50's-70's for a lot of folks. The reality TV series as such supplemented game shows in many respects and moved into prime time. Yes, they are everywhere but we've had an explosion of channels that have to fill time. We won't be able to sustain the amount of channels that are out there between streaming, cable and youtube channels--there's much more than anyone can consume.
  5. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    The other thing to remember is, now the media-producing companies outright own the networks, AND the cable netlets, and in some cases the streaming services too. This means, the producers are still producing the same amount of crap-vs.-series that aspire to be better...only now they choose where they're going to show it: the network that has Jerry Springer in Daytime, or the cable channel where they can say what they want without viewers griping to the FCC. Marvel has a llock on ABC (Disney, ya know), Warner feeds DC superhero shows to The CW. Or, if they like, they can order the character to make a shorter story, one that would take, oh, 90 minutes to tell...and there it goes out to your local popcorn outlet. Marval also chooses if they'd rather do the series for Hulu or Netflix, or FX. They've got the bull by the horns. So for some media moguls, it's no longer, "How can we get Hulk onto teevee?", but "Hmmm, which venue would be the best exploitation of this character: broadcast, cable, streaming..?"

    With this flexibility also comes the change in sequential storytelling, to tell a compelling arc of a storyline without wetting ones' pants that the series might die on broadcast before they get to the Christmas finale where they were gonna introduce Mucus Man, who is scheduled to start his own series in Spring. Now they know where the story's going, when it's going to climax, and whether they have the flexibility to go into another arc if the newtork or netleet likes it. Remember when Lost had to stretch the "mystery" out another two seasons, while half the innernetz had already guess it, and finally left a lot of people sitting there going, "that's...it...?" Well, if they had a better deal with a better television/video venue, that wouldn't have happened; "Ya want more? Well, we're not stopping this train, we had a deal...tell ya what, howabout we do aonther series, later on, this time just about Saul...?"
  6. One man's dreck is another man's treasure. The Big Sick was pretty highly regarded by critics and most viewers.
    Billy Infinity and Deesky like this.
  7. Part of the problem with "Lost" was a great premise not thought through. When I used to write scripts, I would know the beginning and the end of the story and have a rough structure between the two but my first and final acts were there. They might deviate a little bit if I discovered something interesting in telling the story along the way but that rarely happened (for me at least). A lot of folks work from the end backwards. "Lost" worked from the beginning forward throwing in meaningless clues just for the sake of keeping the audience involved without thinking through the result and how difficult it would be to tie everything together.

    I guarantee that the writers of "Breaking Bad", "The Wire" knew exactly where they wanted to go before shooting a single scene.
    prognastycator likes this.
  8. Luvtemps

    Luvtemps Forum Resident

    I'm gonna say it...today's tv sucks-too much sex-cussing-sex-cussing-poor plots-bad acting-and this ain't about being older...it's about-TERRIBLE SHOWS!!!
  9. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Real Wild Child

    New Zealand
    Standard Terrestrial TV is dead IMO. There's nothing really worth watching on there (unless it's the odd repeat of a classic show).

    All the shows I watch come from the likes of HBO, Netflix, and the odd one from Comedy Central, FOX and Adult Swim (Most the likes of South Park and the Seth McFarlane material).
  10. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    It's not an opinion I share. They're completely different genres and so have totally different measures of 'greatness'.

    The Big Sick was a thoroughly enjoyable and wonderful movie (which made back over ten times its budget, if that matters). How anyone could call this dreck really is beyond me.
  11. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    They didn't know they'd have to have an ending, or even an explanation, because they didn't think it would ever get that far. As you know, television drama (especially ABC television drama) at the time had three components: the beginning, the middle...and the inevitable letter-writing campaign leading up the even more inevitable cancellation. Beside, this was quite the David Lynch sort of creation (you know - reality didn't matter...just so long as you had a creepy guy walking backwards, and film noir babes. "They're not plot "holes"...they're plot "features!"). Since they never intended the thing to be stretched out beyond the script "beats" they were after, they never intended such a payoff to be so less momentous than the sensation of telling the story.

    YES, of COURSE everybody knew Breaking Bad was a much more focused drama that really was careening towards both a dramatic, a character-metamorphosis and a plotted climax. That's what I was saying: "No, you want more? Well we're just gonna end the 'meth' thing here...but we can give you more of the good writing, action and suspense in the dramitc sense without having to disturb Walter's arc - whaddya say to a prequel." Go ahead, read the post again.

    But, no - I dont' believe while Walt and Mr. Chicken were cookin' drama in the desert, the crew was plotting to spin the whole saga into a "Origin of Saul" show. Sometimes, ya just have to put off building the pool, until you get the house finished.
  12. I don't know if they realized they needed an ending or not in the beginning but by the middle of the first season, I would have thought about how to close off the show. Sure, it was less of an issue at the time of course but I wouldn't call this a Lynch sort of show as it was far too mainstream and hardly concerned with its symbolism--Lynch is driven of course by symbolism and the arty approach (sometimes a wee bit too practiced for my tastes). I do think that they continued to add stuff on without thinking through the end game (including borrowing from Stephen King with the kid that got abducted which borrowed from King's Gunslinger series). The first two seasons are really good and even when Locke becomes not Locke (smoky), it continued to be very good but, like "The X-Files", they realized they needed an ending. Heck the series was created on a challenge by an ABC executive who came up with the basic concept, threw it at Abrams and Damon Lindelof. I admire that they were able to deliver on such a strong opening episode. I don't think that Carleton Cuse and Lindeloff were able to deliver something that would satisfy fans everywhere simply because they added mystery upon mystery. The approach they took was episode or at least with small story arcs but not always offering a dramatic resolution that worked. I know that Cuse learned from it as he took a much more structured approach to his succeeding series (same with Lindelof and "The Leftovers").
  13. The best comedies hold up to the best dramas. Easily just a different endgame.
  14. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Only in the context that it was more about the way it made you feel than the way everything fit together, that's what I was getting at. Obviously not to the extent that Lynch does, of course.

    I'm actually more in awe of Mike Straczinsky's taking on Babylon 5: a syndicated show with a definite 5-season structure, which he couldn't have possibly guaranteed would stay the course (and as it turns out, did not). The pitch, of being more of a beginning, middle and end version of what Roddenberry was doing with TNG, seemed sound enough, since this would be good counter-programming against Trek, to siphon off some of a competing stations' ad revenue. But in the end, he had to shorten it, then stretch it out again once some of the story's "beats" had already been shoved ahead of schedule. Still, even with a "series finale" that had to run early in case the show wasn't renewed (and they have to fight that battle every year - sheesh!), he tied it up nicely, wonky pacing notwithstanding.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  15. True, it certainly was going for that element of mystery and weirdness.
  16. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    I guess by your standards the golden age of 70s cinema with all that sex and cussin’ and acting and violence sucked too.

    dan c
  17. VEEP is "ok"? That tells me exactly how much I should regard your taste in sitcoms. :agree:
  18. That's not my recollection. As a kid then I thought TV was pretty crappy with a few exceptions.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  19. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Nothing grab yah?
  20. Get Smart, Saturday morning cartoons, The Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family, F-Troop, McHale's Navy. Later in syndication, Star Trek, Leave It To Beaver, The Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits.
  21. Luvtemps

    Luvtemps Forum Resident

    The 70's were still tame compared to today's so called Golden Age.
  22. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    You'd be wrong in the case of Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan, the head writer, said they never knew where the story was going. Sometimes they would intentionally put the characters into a corner, to see if the writing staff could find a way to write them out of it.

    And Jesse was supposed to die in season 1, and became the 2nd most important character in the show.
  23. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    When are we going to get an in-home service that has cataloged every worthwhile tv series from the last 60 years that we can explore at the push of a button? That will be the golden age.
    bartels76 likes this.
  24. I wasn't suggesting that they knew every single turn of the story (and yes, I knew that Jesse was supposed to die but they fell in love with the performance and character) but I'm sure that Gilligan knew that Walt would die in the end. There are details as a writer that some will work on more than others and the lovely thing about writing is that you can discover things about characters along the way. It also doesn't mean that you can't change those fates as a writer either having a resolution in mind is altogether different. Using a different ending than you had in mind is different than not knowing ho wit will end.
  25. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    I like Netflix but don't they know you can't 'make' a show like GOT or WD. Something just captures the public imagination and then explodes. But you can never tell what that thing will be. Zombies were a horror sub genre, no-one had any idea that would capture an audience so big, same for GOT.
    Deesky and Vidiot like this.

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