Golden Age of Television Series

A Few Reasons Why Television Has Gotten So Much Better
Since its invention, television has played a large role in our lives. Be it election debates or famous finales, television has a lot more of an emotional pull on our heart strings than we’d like to admit. And as society progresses, so do our favorite television stations. They have started creating shows that bring in audiences like you wouldn’t believe, from captivating dramas like Breaking Bad that make the entire country root for a meth dealer and classic comedies like Friends that have an entire generation hitting on girls by asking, “how you doin’?”

Television is a multi-faceted medium and that allows for a great deal of improvement. But what exactly is causing this paradigm shift in media consumption? Hopefully, this post will help answer that question with a few insights into what makes TV tick. After all, there are still some good shows with laugh tracks, right? Right?

We Have The Technology
The obvious reason for television’s progress is general societal progress. Crisper cameras, higher quality sound, more experienced writers and additional avenues to pursue success in the television business obviously make for much better series. And with more and more opportunities for success popping up, especially compared to the film industry, television makes a solid case for affordable immersion into an in-depth storyline.

But the production of television is not the only thing that creates higher demand for the nearly century-old technology. The consumption side of television has developed into a nearly unrecognizable landscape with the invention of Netflix. The ability to stream shows instantly has increased the amount of shows watchable and therefore has increased the overall viewership. Watching an entire series doesn’t take three months anymore; it only takes a day… if you’re willing to forego a little bit of sleep.

The Tribe Has Spoken
The model for acquiring television viewership has significantly changed over the last few decades. A few short decades ago, the landscape was dominated by series that did their best to please everyone. Producers believed that creating content that was not only universally enjoyable but also purposefully inoffensive would bring in the largest audiences. They made it accessible to the most people possible. And they thought, as so many of their shows quoted, “what could possible go wrong?”

But as we’ve seen in recent years, shows have taken a somewhat irreverent tone when addressing societal issues, whether or not their content is viewed as politically correct. The most popular shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Lost, Dexter and Homeland all deal with the more unsavory elements of society with spectacular results. From drug abuse to serial murder, the topics covered in current television do not follow the former rules of widespread acceptance.

This has made people not only invest their time in the entire series but also to spread the word avidly and effectively. This shift has come from producers and creators focusing on narrow, niche markets and creating extensively storylines with elaborate productions. This focus has created excellent television that precludes the record-breaking audiences that you see frequently watching finales every year.

Live Long and Prosper
It is no secret that movies ruled the media landscape for a long time as the respected medium. A significant reason for this is that movies had longer to develop a story. The format called for a standard 90-minutes as opposed to the 22-minute television episode (or at most 44-minute episode) so film simply had more legs to stand on. But thanks to viewers being more invested in television shows and technologies like Netflix, television series can create elaborate storylines that zig and zag several times before a conclusion.

As television and film continue to strive for programming that is “more real,” television can take the advantage because it allows for a (somewhat) realistic 20-episode season to solve a murder rather than a mere hour and a half movie. While movies often stick to the three-act plot well-established in theatre, television is able to take advantage of elongated storytelling to build characters and provide further exposition. Television series have exploded in popularity because they meet the needs, technologically and comprehensively, of its viewers.