The Golden Age of TV Is Over

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Danja, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Danja

    Danja Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  2. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I don't get it? Is this supposed to be sarcastic or ironic?
     
  3. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    Not over. Just evolved. The headline drips of sappy melodrama to the point most of the modern television faff, regardless if it's streamed or broadcast - whatever - is robotic by comparison.

    Some would opine the golden age of television was 1950-something to 1980. Or 1970-early-2000s. And how "golden age" is defined - meaning acting, script originality, amount of money thrown to make it, or what not just means there is no real consensus.

    Broadcast is "free", meaning commercials by sponsors are chucked in every x minutes for products whose costs are also raised a bit higher on the shelf to help pay for those commercials. Any streaming service should (ideally) not have commercials at all or for nothing apart from its own services. Some services offer tiers with limited or no commercial content. The latter is better, I want the cost of my butter to be lower. Just think of the cost per advert and how that is distributed across each unit of product sold. Those Stupor-Bowl ads for booze no longer seem so entertaining once you consider how much it costs to make one? Over $5 million per 30-second commercial. It's cheaper than making and printing coupons to clip as well, never mind the "electronic" equivalent and the tangents that goes into as if people think everything is oh-so-straightforward in the way Barney and Tipsey tell us.

    Oh well. People will not miss the days of when one service, cable, districted based on where they live, cost less per month considering all the equipment needed back then compared to the equipment needed now.

    The same will go for video games too, due to direct connections and increasingly complex anti-piracy measures. Thankfully, with piracy being eliminated, prices will probably go back down to pre-1990s game levels when it was impossible to copy a microchip on a silicon board.
     
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  4. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    The last broadcast-TV show that we followed was The Big Bang Theory, and we caught the last few seasons of that on streaming services, sometimes days after the initial network airing on Thursday nights at 8pm.
     
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  5. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I’m curious what they’re basing that determination on. A personal feeling that there aren’t a lot of shows they like right now?

    Or does he just want streaming services off his lawn?

    I guess, yes, a lot of my favorite shows from the last decade either just ended or are just entering their final season. But I do not claim to be psychic and thus can not say we’re not about to see the next great crop.
     
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  6. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with the article. Everyone wants to be Disney including stuff that used to not to like Netflix,Amazon,Fox which is Disney HBO being the most painful one. Thankfully got enough old stuf,movies included,music,books,sports and some new stuff and maybe a life if I could just romantically impress a lady to help run out the clock before I die someday. Jason
     
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  7. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I wish the article had spent some time explaining why 1999-2019 was apparently considered the golden age of television. It's hard for me to accept their argument that it has ended when I don't quite understand why/how/whether it existed in the first place.

    I THINK what they're trying to say is that past 20 years were the golden age because the rise of more cable channels and streaming services allowed for more experimentation. They had the money and freedom to take risks that broadcast channels did not. And this resulted in an exciting crop of unique, interesting, and sometimes niche shows that could not have existed otherwise.

    I guess that is true. However, that doesn't necessarily say anything about the actual content of those shows. For me personally, I actually think The Sopranos ushered in a disappointing trend in television to make shows feel more dark and gritty. In an effort to be more realistic, a lot of television over the past 20 years has been downright depressing. I had to stop watching shows like The Walking Dead or Deadwood because, although well produced, I had to wonder about how these shows were making me feel every week. Do I want to come away from the television feeling shittier and more hopeless than I did before? No thanks.

    I actually long for the TV and movies of the 90s, when things felt more light-hearted and just plain fun. Television didn't have to be so damn serious.

    All that is to say that the "golden age of television" seems to be a relative term. I'm also not totally buying their argument that we've suddenly transitioned to a new phase now. In terms of how TV is produced and distributed, maybe so. But in terms of content, that remains to be seen.
     
  8. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't really like calling it the Golden Age, because it tends to be very subjective depending on who you talk to. I think it's different for everybody. I prefer just referring it as the Digital Age where much of what is out there now is offered digitally, much of it being offered by competing streaming platforms.

    That said, while I think competition is a good thing, I think we may be reaching a saturation point. We certainly have a lot more choice than we used to have all competing for our attentions, but I think there comes a point where some of them will fall as we can't possibly support them all.
     
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  9. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I definitely believe we are in the golden age of TV and that it probably started in the late 90's. I also can't imagine anyone thinking the 1950's, 60's, through the 80;s, could have been included in that golden age.

    I also do not see this golden age ending anytime soon because competition breeds quality. Content providers have seen that high quality shows are what drive subscriptions.

    Of course, not every single show on every single cable station or streaming service, or broadcast network, will be great, but the sheer number of truly great shows across the spectrum will remain much higher than in the distant past.
     
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  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    1999-2019 is considered a Golden Age because it sort of lifted the limitations on TV series. You can be dark, you can be serial, you can ask for viewer investment. You can apply the kind of production value and top tier actors you can get in movies.

    Whereas in previous eras even good shows were limited because they needed that 30 share, so they couldn’t alienate any segment of the audience. They had to please everyone a little, instead of picking a smaller audience and pleasing them a lot.

    Now that they don’t need to please everyone with every show, they can say “We know what these particular 5-10 million viewers want. Let’s give them EXACTLY what they want. Forget whether those other 200 million care for it.”

    Also, you have cases before this era like Twin Peaks where the director set out to do something cool and artistic, then the network interfered and watered it down. In the 2010s you can do weird, dense, artistic stuff and not get the network interfering with your creativity.
     
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  11. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    The Sopranos also kicked off the era of the anti-hero, and a wave of shows followed featuring not-so-good characters that many of us admired anyway.
     
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  12. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You used a funny example being that the Tin Peaks revival / continuation / sequel had all kinds of network interface, tons of it. At the end of the day it came out for the best, but the network still tried to screw with it.
     
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  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Can you go into more detail?

    Was it as extreme as forcing them to reveal the killer?

    I know there was lots of negotiation with the network over length and such and it almost didn’t happen but I’m not aware they forced Lynch to change the script or direction.

    There’s also Lost vs Alias, starting in 2001 and 2004 only a few years apart toward the start of this period. One they forced the writers to dumb down the premise after one season, and the other was allowed to stay weird and complex.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  14. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. The revival was going to be 6-8 episodes, have budget issues, to the point that I think Showtime canceled it for 2-3 months. I didn't even watch any of it and read about all the drama that was going on. Use Google.
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I mean there's still lots of negotiation over budget, runtime, etc, production details like that. But my point is, once all those details were set, Lynch wrote the script he wanted. He wasn't told halfway through that he had to go against his plans.
     
  16. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes he was, that's what you aren't getting. Showtime planned on 8-10 episodes and a set budget, they announced it with that in mind. Then after the announcement there were stories after stories of Showtime and Lynch fighting about budget and episode counts and many other things. I think even Lynch went 'fine' and left the project at one point, that's when Showtime finally just went 'do what you want'.

    And in the end Lynch got what he wanted, but it was a mess before getting there.
     
  17. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. Whenever I hear someone talk about the "Golden Age of Television," what they're really doing is stroking themselves for watching a bunch of super-depressing stuff that makes them feel sophisticated. I've never had even the slightest inkling to watch something like Dexter, Mad Men, or The Sopranos. I gave up on Game of Thrones & The Walking Dead after only 1 season. And while I forced myself through 3 and a half seasons of Battlestar Galactica, I've yet to drag myself across the finish line for the final 10 eps. :sigh:

    I'm also really annoyed with just how heavily serialized TV has become. I'm all on board with an ongoing plotline that rewards the attention of longtime viewers. But at the same time, I think it's important for there to be some kind of reward for just sitting through a single episode. There are a lot of shows that strike the right balance but those tend to not get much mainstream critical acclaim.

    It's like a return to the old Hollywood studio system of the 1930s-'50s, back when the big studios all owned their own theater chains. I feel like we'll be seeing a collapse in the streaming model within the next decade, particularly when it comes to making new movies. I've watched a handful of Netflix original movies and they've all been awful. That isn't surprising when you consider that theatrical movies need to be good enough that they inspire you to get off the couch, drive to the theater, and pay just to watch A SINGLE SPECIFIC MOVIE JUST ONE TIME. On the other hand, streaming content just needs to be good enough to not compel you to turn off the TV. So why make good content when you get paid up front and can just make mediocre content?

    And with every studio trying to create their own streaming service, people will become more circumspect with their spending and the only ones that will survive are the ones with massive name recognition. Netflix was savvy enough to get into the game early and end up being synonymous with streaming, so they'll probably survive (much to the chagrin of every studio out there). Disney is one of the biggest names in entertainment worldwide, so they'll definitely survive & thrive. Warner Bros. isn't as strong as Disney but has a lot of IPs to draw from (DC, Lego, Looney Toons, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, etc.) as well as the most robust back catalog of classic movies out there. Everyone else will probably need to partner up with each other (or with one of the big 3) in order to get big enough to compete.
     
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  18. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed. I've seen many of them, but I only consider a very small handful to be great. Actually, my favourite Netflix movie may be The Red Sea Diving Resort. It's fantastic. But I think you make a good point. It's just disappointing to see most of them be so average. I've learned to keep my expectations in check when viewing Netflix movies these days.
     
  19. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IMO, one of the reasons it's called the Golden Age of TV is not just because the shows since the late 90's have been overall better than what came before, it's also because of lack of quality in what came before.

    What passed as "drama" in so many 60's and 70's shows was one dimensional stories populated by one dimensional characters. There was no subtlety, they seemed to feel the need to make sure everyone in the audience receied a step by step tutorial so that they knew who done it before the last commercial. The detective show were the worst. Almost nothing that happened was unexpected or controversial.

    My mother used to love these shows. She would complain bitterly is the story didn't conclude in one hour. Yeah, she hated the two-parters. The shows had little depth or complexity, likely because the networks saw those things as ratings killers. It's like they knew my mom personally.

    There were some exceptions of course, Playhouse 90, Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents etc, but for the most part, the networks kept it simple and boring.
    I think any competently written one hour screenplay is going to have a beginning, middle, and a discernible end. The end may not be the end of the overarching story, but simply the end of a single episode.

    What I think happens is that because we know a show is serialized and there is an ongoing overarching story, we tend to overlook what is an actual end to the episode at hand. A lot of times an individual episode's ending in a serialized show is subtle, but if you look closely enough, it's there. The endings to stand alone episodes are easier to see sometimes because we know there is no more story.
     
  20. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Golden Age of TV been over since the turn of the century.