1999 Saw the creation of what i consider one of the greatest television shows of all time, The Sopranos. Ground breaking in production and writing, Sopranos took an almost movie format, cramming 50 minutes of breath-taking acting and storytelling into a single episode. An all star cast, lead by the brilliance of James Gandolfini, for the first time presented a show that was realistic, showcasing humanity in all of its glorious flaws and triumphs. The Sopranos did not win over all viewers as some people still preferred a more sugar-coated approach to television, but what it did was bridge the gap between cinema and television. This has never been more evident then today as a number of celebrated cinema actors are starring in television shows, such as Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards and the recent Oscar award winner Matthew Mcconaughey in True Detective. The Sopranos paved the way for shows such as The Wire and Breaking bad, which are just as thought-provoking and brilliant.
There seems to be a formulaic approach to television in our world today. We are still stuck with the mindless crime shows and comedies that seem to draw an absurdly high amount of viewers daily. After the pioneering sopranos in 1999, there has been a string of stylised sophisticated dramas being released on the competing AMC and HBO. It was also the late 90’s that saw the birth of two of the largest reality T.V. shows of all time and signified the death of humanity as we know it. After the Real World was a success in the early to mid 90’s, survivor and big brother were created and were met with unparraleled success. The majority of current prime time is filled with a litany of reality shows, which also consume social media forums and create the possibility of ‘audience participation’. Viewers ares now allowed to vote for their favourite characters via SMS, get constant updates on Facebook and follow everyone involved on twitter. Although there is a golden age of television occurring , there is an overwhelming stream of reality television that are actually heavily scripted and seem to celebrate and reward idiotic behaviour. An article published in Elite Daily highlights the detrimental effects of reality television:
If you are like me at all then you love to waste a bit of time…ok a lot of time. Some people indulge in exercise, some people like to raise money for charities, for me it’s all about sinking into the couch and forgetting about my mundane reality for an hour (or several) with a riveting T.V. show. Luckily for me, I have grown up in what can be considered “a golden age” for television. Ignoring the barrage of reality T.V. shows and predictable poorly written crime shows that stranglehold the prime time on free to air, I sift and search else where for the good stuff. What i attend to achieve with this blog is to create a better understanding of how television has changed over time. I want to explore how social media has affected it and how piracy threatens it, but at the same time talk about some of the great television shows of the modern era. So stay tuned in!