You may have heard that we are living in a glorious age of television, one where the biggest movie stars leap unceremoniously from the cineplex to the now-nontoxic small screen. An era of event programming and limited series, where stories of anti-heroes and the underbelly of the American Dream are being revealed simultaneously on broadcast networks, cable channels and streaming services. Television suddenly has become prestigious.
You may have heard all this, but that doesn’t make it true.
“It’s not like TV has suddenly become amazing and great — it’s always been amazing and great,” declares Under The Dome executive producer Neal Baer. He should know, having earned his stripes for almost 30 years on network shows such as Law & Order: SVU and ER. Baer has seen TV’s long arc bend back many times. “There was crap, but I could start listing path-breaking television series that thought about racism and drug abuse,” he says.
What’s new today is that TV is a creation of quantity as much as quality, with many more outlets and platforms to grab high-value consumers’ attention with content that up until just a decade ago would have made its home solely in the movies. We have traditional TV trying to recoup some of the luster it lost to non-advertiser-supported programming, but either way, the economics and creativity sit squarely in the small screen’s favor. One need only look at anthologies such as HBO’s True Detective or limited event series like Fox’s 24: Live Another Day or CBS’ Under The Dome to see that the torch is being carried on. (more…)