All genres seeing trend of cinema-quality shows
Audiences have always loved anti-heroes. In 1999, HBO introduced Tony Soprano, the mobster who dominated televisions and hearts of critics until 2007. The Sopranos paved the way for silver screen quality delivered straight into living rooms across America, but it was a shaky start. Dexter, a show about a serial killer with a murky moral code, was a similarly popular Showtime series, though its quality took a dive in later seasons.
The current masterpieces — Breaking Bad and House of Cards — have proven themselves as the more solid series. We’re finally in the era of the small screen, perfected. And each show primarily features a man who would be the villain in any other tale.
Walter White. Meth lord. Frank Underwood. Power-hungry politician (and murderer).
I’m not sure why the general public fixates on bad boys — I’m one of them (Breaking Bad and House of Cards are my favorite shows), and I can’t put my finger on why I’m drawn to characters who I would absolutely loathe if I knew them in real life.
But I’m happy about it nonetheless. This trend of quality television is starting to trickle down to other genres — Girls and Silicon Valley come to mind, both excellent comedies on HBO — and even into network comedies, like New Girl and The Mindy Project. Laugh tracks aren’t the worst, and shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother (minus that finale) will always hold a special place in my heart, but they’re indicative of a simple, kind of primitive comedy.
This phase of Bad Boy television is drawing to a close, and while the shows produced under this umbrella are some of the best to ever air, what they signify is much more exciting. They represent a turning point in television, one half-a-century in the making. Netflix, HBO, even Amazon Prime — these direct to consumer “channels” have finally popped the cinema bubble.
We’ve finally reached the pinnacle of television. It might even be a problem — there’s almost too many quality shows on television to reasonably keep track of. But that’s never a bad problem to have (unless you value a healthy social life).