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It's been said that, for the past 10-20 year, TV has become better than American movies, on average. (It certainly stands to reason that as movies become dumber, viewers would go anywhere they could to find more challenging entertainment, and TV producers were glad to fill the demand.)
"it has been said " ? WTF ? TV is now crap... the decline began about 15 years ago but has accelerated in the last ten. I could give numerous examples but you're in lala land so I won't bother
All I know is (I don't actually have the time to follow any series closely and I've NEVER paid to watch any cable show - library DVDs exist, after all), while SNL is no longer funny except for maybe the openings and the Weekend Updates, first we had ER, Friends and The Sopranos in the 90s, and since then, we've had Lost, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, The Office, The Big Bang Theory, The Wire, Game of Thrones...the list goes on. I don't enjoy talent shows because they're so damned loud and hyped (despite the real talent and hard work involved), and I've never watched reality shows and I don't see their point. (Many critics feel the same way.)
But, if you can tell me how and why the bad outweighs the good these days in TV, especially compared to the movies, I'm all ears. Was it really ANY better in the late 1970s, when MASH was slumping, All in the Family was leaving, and Welcome Back Kotter and Three's Company were all the rage?
This is not a matter of dramatic shows per se; it's all types of programming. GOT is so much better than any thing else ever on TV or in movies it truly is in a class by itself ( even though the series ran out of cannon after season 5 , and that is one hell of a story in itself ). The other series you mentioned are mediocre. I did watch Lost straight true on DVD long after it had concluded. It was so bad, so over the top goofy, it was in the so bad its good category. Worth mentioning that Bruce Davison's , a real talent , performance was the only example of real " acting " in the show.
Over all I'll break this down into two areas :TV films and series and everything else.
As someone who has spent countless hours searching for and watching what has been on TV since the early 80's when cable turned the wasteland into a treasure trove of good entertainment I may be the best person anywhere to recount what has been lost. The reason for the decline has been the dumbing down of America. In part due to immigration and the greater focus by companies on Blacks, in part just the awareness by corporations and organizations that the TV and movie audiences are comprised almost entirely of people who are not bright or lack good taste or both.
Channels such as Bravo, A & E, History Channel, History Channel International , Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel Science Channel would frequently show first -rate material. Now they are largely garbage bins that
feature poor recreations of events rather than information or strong narration. PBS and Smithsonian stuff can be good to great or dumbed down or in the case of PBS bias ( read Liberal )... don't confuse me as being a Republican, I'm Green/Libertarian if those labels are required for identification.
Films on TV have gone from as good or better than theater offerings because they stressed story, cast, performance and dialogue over action and spectacle to Hallmark blandness or Lifetime slop because that's what their audiences want. In recent posts I've reviewed several TV films that are on You Tube . The audience prefers people who are are as bland as they are to people who are their betters...or it wants salacious drivel.
TV films in the 70's were pretty mediocre and all looked the same. but starting in the early 80's all of the networks began showing high quality material, ABC, NBC and CBS...that's a lot of film. In addition Lifetime Movie Network would produce many, many strong mystery films with female leads.
The devastation of TV is especially evident in the deterioration of the U K imports. UK films and series were until about ten years ago the apex of media entertainment. PBS and A & E had them as the crown jewels of their programming. Now all UK media companies and even the BBC have chosen to go for the biggest audience rather than make the best product possible. It comes down to pushing third rate dialogue and performance for an audience that is comfortable with the common place.
My own intelligence which is strongest in abstract thinking is painfully aware of the difference between imaginative dialogue and talented performance vs. stuff that is hack writing and people whose dramatic talent is centered on stock physical movements and script readings.
Then there's the removal of " specialty " niche programming such as CourTV ( the best view of the heart of darkness ever... not of the defendants, but in the prosecutors, cops, judges, juries and the horrid audience for the show...mean - spirited middle - aged women ) and the Chiller Channel which from time to time financed some effective, if not great films and showed others that never make it to any other channel.
PBS and Smithsonian still show some really good stuff but in comparison to what was available say ten/fifteen years ago the TV river has become a stream.
All of the above is why today's TV, which is with few exceptions aimed at a low I Q, unimaginative, thin - skinned mass audience, basically sucks...certainly light years better than the wasteland of the 50's 60's and 70's but far back in the rear view mirror from its golden period from about the early 80's to maybe ten years ago...each division of these years had its special strengths.
That's it in a nutshell