The Third Golden Age of Television

The Meaning Of “Mad Men”

Ahead of its series finale airing this Sunday, Nathan Blake looks back on AMC’s Mad Men, where its characters are at, and the show’s major themes. *This post contains plot and character developments in the series. So consider this a…SPOILER ALERT.*

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Cathode Ray Colonialism

–Scott Stalcup

Critics like Alan Sepinwall and Brett Martin champion the current productions that constitute the developing Third Golden Age of Television.  Existing predominantly on cable and pay cable channels, the programs were less subjected, or not subjected at all, to FCC regulations regarding obscenity.  Nor were they subjected to pandering to advertisers.  Thus, by having limited-to-zero commercial interruptions, seasons on cable had a shorter length.  As a result, “it meant tighter, more focused serial stories [and] less financial risk on the part of the network, which translated into more creative risk on screen” (Martin 6).  This, in turn, shifted storytelling from “bottle” episodes to “the equivalent of countless movies” and at the production level thereof (6).  Fantastic though it all sounds, the mother country got there first.

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“Bloodline”: A Strong Addition To Netflix’s Lineup Of Original Series

For anyone still unsure that Netflix has created the model for the future of TV, the arrival and quick renewal of freshman drama Bloodline is the best argument yet in favor of the online streaming giant. Netflix’s success also sits in contrast, at least for now, to some problems faced by AMC and HBO, who not very long ago were the giants of television. That’s right. I used the past tense and I mean it. (more…)

The Trace of Cultural Ignorance: Russians and Middle Easterners of “24”

— Emma Ohanyan-Tri

November 6, 2001 is not the day when terrorist attacks, major assassination attempts, or mass murders happened in the United States. However, many American viewers who watched the pilot of 24 –one of the most popular TV series that promotes torture and cultural ignorance— saw November 6, 2001 as the day when a group of terrorists attempted to assassinate the U.S. presidential candidate. (more…)

“24:” An Argument for why TV’s Third Golden Age is not Restricted to Cable

–Nathan Blake

Much has been written in response to the belief, popularized by Brett Martin, that television has had three golden ages; the most recent of which consists of long form TV, primarily on cable. It is understandable to believe that the networks have contributed little in terms of the increased quality of scripted TV in the past 16 years. Most of the offerings by NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX in recent memory has consisted of derivative medical dramas, cop shows, Friends-esque sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory in particular) and, most recently, a new wave of comic book adaptations such as Marvel’s Agents of Shield and Gotham. A few exceptions since 1999 bear mentioning though and deserve at least a modicum of credit for the TV renaissance. There is Lost, perhaps the most polarizing network show of the last two decades, along with Friday Night Lights and Scandal. But the earliest example is probably FOX’s 24; a blood pressure raising, real-time spin on three types of thriller genres: Political, espionage and action. (more…)

“Orange Is The New Black:” How Did She Do It?

–Ruby Mayorga

What makes for good television? Is there a formula that can be repeated or does the success of the show rely on other elements outside of the formula? Can these extra elements be created or must they present themselves naturally? The unprecedented success of shows that take the public ‘by storm’, such as Orange is the New Black, brings these questions to mind. (more…)