The Current Golden Age of Television

Television is currently in a new golden age. Few other times in the entire history of television has there been this many quality shows on this many different networks been on during the same time period. A big part of this has been a trend of film actors and writers/directors/producers deciding to do television instead of film, as there is more creative freedom and more consistency in working with one group of characters for an extended story arc. For example, filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) Frank Darabout (Shawshank Redemption) and Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) have all worked in television recently on Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, and Boss respectively. Meanwhile, many strong supporting cast film actors such as Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), William H. Macy (Shameless), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) and Don Cheadle (House of Lies) have flourished in leading television roles. Also, more networks have become real contributors to the overall quality of original television as AMC and FX have joined the ranks (if not surpassed) the likes of HBO and Showtime as far as original content. This is not simply an opinion either; the ratings prove that viewers currently love this trend of continuingly quality television. While there may have been other eras where the very best shows on television were arguably better than they are now (think early 2000s The Sopranos, The Wire) the depth across genres and networks is what makes this current era special.

To convey this idea, here is a list of all the quality television shows broken down by network with the season that each is currently in or soon to be listed in parenthesis.

Qualifications for quality television show:
1) The show must be scripted and at least in the process of a 3rd season, a show becomes quality when it has continued success (unless viewership or critical reception is too much to ignore)
2) The show must be generally acclaimed by critics and have high viewership. If either is overwhelmingly high it can cancel out the other. (When Arrested Development was on: unanimous critical acclaim + low ratings = still quality)
3) Programs with higher quality earlier seasons that have declined since still make the list, depending on how steep the decline is.

AMC:
Breaking Bad (Season 5)
Mad Men (Season 6)
The Walking Dead (Season 3)

FX:
American Horror Story (Season 2)*
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 8)
The League (Season 4)
Louie (Season 3)
Sons Of Anarchy (Season 5)

HBO:
Boardwalk Empire (Season 3)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 9)
Eastbound & Down (Season 4)
Game of Thrones (Season 3)

I do not consider True Blood to be quality television. (You read that correctly)

Showtime:
Californication (Season 6)**
Dexter (Season 7)**
Homeland (Season 2)*
Nurse Jackie (Season 5)
Shameless (Season 3)

NBC:
30 Rock (Season 7)**
Community (Season 4)
The Office (Season 9)**
Parks and Recreation (Season 5)

CBS:
The Big Bang Theory (Season 6)
How I Met Your Mother (Season 8)**
Two and a Half Men (Season 10)**

Comedy Central:
Futurama (Season 7)
South Park (Season 16)

ABC:
Modern Family (Season 4)

FOX:
Family Guy (Season 11)

PBS
Downton Abbey (Season 3)

*Good enough to make list despite rule 1
**Not as good as it was at one point

There you have it, there are at least twenty-nine “good” television programs that are on the air currently. The varying programs mean more opinions for viewers and as long as quality programming is being watched, it will continue.

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4 Comments on “The Current Golden Age of Television”

  1. “I do not consider True Blood to be quality television. (You read that correctly)”

    ^ Hahaha. I have to admit, I do watch the show. It’s SO frustrating because it has so much potential to be something more but something inside me makes me want to watch the next episode… and the next…

    I can’t wait for DEXTER’s next season. That last scene in the season 6 finale was killer. (Har! Har!)

  2. sex2poetry4life says:

    You consider Family Guy quality television? Ewwwww….

  3. I read the books that the True Blood series was based on……
    The series stinks when compared to the books. I hate it when something good gets turned into trash.

  4. Where did you actually pick up the recommendations to publish
    ““The Current Golden Age of Television You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Blog”? Thank you ,Dewitt


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