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Golden Age of Television (2000s–present)

In the United States, the current Golden Age of Television has been a period widely regarded as being marked by a large number of high quality, internationally acclaimed television programs.[1][2][3][4] Various sources have identified the beginning of this period as the early 1980s,[5] the late 1980s-early 1990s,[6] the mid-to-late 1990s,[7] or the early 2000s.[8] It is believed to have resulted from advances in technologies of media distribution,[9][10] as well as a large increase in the number of hours of available television, which has prompted a major wave of content creation.[11]

Its name refers to the original Golden Age of Television which occurred in the 1950s. It has also been referred to as the "New", "Second" or "Third Golden Age of Television" ("third" being used when a period in the early 1980s is considered a separate second Golden Age).[9][12][13][14][10][15] The era has also been called Peak TV.


French scholar Alexis Pichard has argued that TV series enjoyed a Second Golden Age[16] starting in the 2000s which was a combination of three elements: first, an improvement in both visual aesthetics and storytelling; second, an overall homogeneity between cable series and networks series; and third, a tremendous popular success. Pichard contends that this Second Golden Age was the result of a revolution initiated by the traditional networks in the 1980s and carried on by the cable channels (especially HBO) in the 1990s.[17] Film director Francis Ford Coppola thinks that the second golden age of television comes from "kids" with their "little father’s camcorder", who wanted to make films like he did in the 70s but weren’t permitted to, so they did it for television.[18]

Shows such as The Sopranos (which first aired in 1999), Six Feet Under (2001), The Wire (2002), Deadwood (2004),[19] Mad Men (2007), Breaking Bad, (2008), and Game of Thrones (2011), are generally considered the basis of the so-called Golden Age of Television, (i.e. the new creator-driven tragic dramas of the 2000s and 2010s).[15][20][21] The Writer's Guild of America vote for 101 Best Written TV Shows includes a complete foundation of the current Golden Age of Television.[22]

Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice has argued that the current golden age began earlier with network shows like Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (both of which premiered in 1993), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).[7] Matt Zoller Seitz argues that it began in the 1980s with Hill Street Blues (1981) and St. Elsewhere (1982).[23] Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku has said that Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005) should be considered a part of the golden age of television, and recommended "the sophisticated kids show" to others.[24] With the rise of instant access to content on Netflix, creator-driven television shows like Breaking Bad, The Shield (2002), Friday Night Lights (2006) and Mad Men gained cult followings that grew to become widely popular. The success of instant access to television shows was presaged by the popularity of DVDs, and continues to increase with the rise of digital platforms and online companies.

The increase in the number of shows is also cited as evidence of a Golden Age, or peak TV. In the five years between 2011 and 2016, the number of scripted television shows, on broadcast, cable and digital platforms increased by 71%. In 2002, 182 television shows aired, while 2016 had 455 original scripted television shows and 495 in 2018. The number of shows are rising largely due to companies like Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu investing heavily in original content. The number of shows aired by online service increased from only one in 2009 to over 93 in 2016. John Landgraf, the CEO of FX Networks, has stated that the amount of television series being aired during peak TV could be overwhelming for the viewer to choose from, especially for critics obligated to review as many shows as possible, which results in a decreased output of television series in the future.[25][26][27][28][29][30] An increasing reliance on rebooting and reviving existing franchises led to widespread belief that the Golden Age of Television was ending in the late 2010s,[31] with the caveat that some of these reboots (such as Girl Meets World[32] and One Day at a Time[33][34]) share the positive reception and complex character development of original shows of the era.

Characteristics of this golden age are complicated characters described as morally ambiguous at best, questionable behavior and all, complex plots and eager forays into R-rated territory.[35][36][37]

List of selected important and notable figuresEdit

List of selected important and notable outletsEdit

List of selected important and notable showsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The new, new TV golden age - CNN
  2. ^ Plunkett, John; Deans, Jason. "Kevin Spacey: television has entered a new golden age". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  3. ^ Stephen McGinty: A golden age of television? - The Scotsman
  4. ^ ITV share price: Broadcaster calls for retransmission payments -
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Why the Golden Age of TV Was Really Born in the 1980s-Vulture
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Making A Case For The ’90s, Television’s ‘Other’ Golden Age-UPROXX
  7. ^ a b c d Zacharek, Stephanie (2015). "Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Fills this Buffy Fan with Despair". The Village Voice. Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ The golden age of TV is dead; long live the golden age of TV|AV Club
  9. ^ a b Carr, David. "Barely Keeping Up in TV's New Golden Age". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  10. ^ a b Welcome to TV's second "Golden Age" - CBS News
  11. ^ Simon, Jeff (March 31, 2015). "Who put these shows on the air and why?". The Buffalo News. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "The CB Guide to the New Golden Age of Television". Canadian Business. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  13. ^ Weisenthal, Joe; Robinson, Melia. "16 Things You Never Knew About The New Golden Age Of TV". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  14. ^ Pichard, Alexis. Le nouvel âge d'or des séries américaines. Editions Le Manuscrit.
  15. ^ a b Reese, Hope. "Why Is the Golden Age of TV So Dark?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  16. ^ TV's golden age is real: The end of channel surfing The Economist
  17. ^ Pichard, 2011, p.11
  18. ^ Francis Ford Coppola: 'Apocalypse Now is not an anti-war film' The Guardian
  19. ^ Saraiya, Sonia (May 30, 2019). "Review: The Deadwood Movie Gives the Golden Age Series What it Deserves: a Fitting, Emotional Sendoff". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  20. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (24 June 2013). "Brett Martin's 'Difficult Men' Sees a New Golden Age for TV". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  21. ^ Plunkett, John; Deans, Jason (22 August 2013). "Kevin Spacey: television has entered a new golden age". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  22. ^ "101 Best Written TV Series List". Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  23. ^ Why the Golden Age of TV Was Really Born in the 1980s - Vulture
  24. ^
  25. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (18 August 2015). "'Peak TV in America': Is there really too much good scripted television?". HitFix. HitFix, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  26. ^ James, Meg (16 December 2015). "2015: Year of 'peak TV' hits record with 409 original series". LA Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  27. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (16 December 2015). "Peak TV: Surge From Streaming Services, Cable Pushes 2015 Scripted Series Tally to 409". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  28. ^ Leslie, Ian (2017-04-13). "Watch it while it lasts: our golden age of television". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  29. ^ Flint, Joe (2016-12-21). "Peak TV Still Going Strong With 455 Scripted Shows in 2016". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  30. ^ Koblin, John (2019-04-12). "Hollywood Upended as Unions Tell Writers to Fire Agents". The New York Times. p. B1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  31. ^ Adalian, Josef (February 1, 2018). "Why Network TV's Obsession With Reboots Isn't a Bad Thing". Retrieved April 17, 2019. My former Variety colleague Michael Schneider, executive editor of IndieWire, captured perfectly the jaded response many had to last month’s reboot news: “Anyone else getting the sense that broadcast TV is embarking on its Farewell Tour by playing all the hits one last time?” he tweeted.
  32. ^ Sabienna Bowman (January 7, 2017). "Girl Meets World Has Become a Landmark Show for a New Generation of Fans". Bustle. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  33. ^ "Best of 2017: Television Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  34. ^ "Best of 2018: Television Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  35. ^ Why Is the Golden Age of TV So Dark? The Atlantic
  36. ^ New Book Challenges Myth That TV's New Golden Age Is Just A Boy's Club Hollywood Reporter
  37. ^ Tired of TV's Golden Age The American Prospect
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i The 90 Best TV Shows of the 1990s-Paste Magazine
  39. ^ The 15 Best Comedies On TV Right Now-CINEMABLEND
  40. ^ a b c d e The new, new TV golden age-CNN
  41. ^ a b c d e Why the Golden Age of TV Was Really Born in the 1980s-Vulture
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The Great Sci-Fi TV Boom of 2018-The Ringer
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Trench, Rob (2015-09-24). "10 Best TV Shows from the Golden Age of Television". Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  44. ^ David Lynch: Even now, in a TV golden age, too hip for the room?-Chicago Tribune
  45. ^ a b c CNN’s The 2000s: A Look Back at the Dawn of TV’s New Golden Age-The Paley Center for Media
  46. ^ a b c d Are We Close To A Second Golden Age of TV Animation?
  47. ^ TV Stars Discuss the 'Second Golden Age of Television'|Ashby Dodd
  48. ^ a b c d 'Documentary Now!': Bill and Fred and Seth's Excellent Adventure-NBC Southern California
  49. ^ shonda rhimes, queen of network tv, has signed a deal with netflix-i-D
  50. ^ BBC-Culture-We should thank Buffy for today's 'Golden Age' of television
  51. ^ The Trouble With Our "Golden Age" of TV|The New Republic
  52. ^ a b c d e f g h Are we really in a 'second golden age for television'?-The Guardian
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ’30 Rock’ Is The Most Rewatchable Comedy Of TV’s Golden Age
  54. ^ a b c Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele Are Ending “Key & Peele” After This Season-Comedy Bureau
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Faith and the New Golden Age of Late-Night TV-RELEVANT Magazine
  56. ^ and the New Golden Age of Late-Night TV-RELEVANT Magazinetv
  57. ^ [1]
  58. ^ Elisabeth Moss is the Queen of Peak TV
  59. ^ Stephen Colbert Won't Save Us, "Game of Thrones" Isn't That Good: This "Golden Age" of TV is a Big Sham-Films for Action
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest TV Shows proves we're really in the Golden Age of Television-Consequence of Sound
  61. ^ The golden age of TV-The Irish Times
  62. ^ a b c "The golden age of TV". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l How America fell in love with British TV-Telegraph
  64. ^ a b "Making A Case For The '90s, Television's "Other" Golden Age". UPROXX. 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  65. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Thoughts on the Aughts: What made the Golden Age of TV glow? - Chicago Tribune
  66. ^ Rugrats Is Coming Back to NIckelodeon-TV Guide
  67. ^ The Golden Age of TV is Now | On Wisconsin
  68. ^ Disney Channel's Golden Ages-Odyessy
  69. ^ Watch: House Style in the Golden Age of Comedy Central-Indiewire
  70. ^ a b c d e f The Golden Age Of Animated Television
  71. ^ ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Renewed for a Sixth and Final Season - Variety
  72. ^ a b c d e f The Emmy Nominations And TV’s New Golden Age
  73. ^ a b c The 'Golden Age of TV' Has A Lot of People Worried — Here's Why-Fortune
  74. ^ 13 Reasons Why: Season 1 Review - IGN
  75. ^ a b The Golden Age of TV is Now|On Wisconsin Magazine
  76. ^ David Lynch: Even now, in a TV golden age, too hip for the room?-Chicago Tribune
  77. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The 30 Best Animated Shows Since The Simpsons|Vanity Fair
  78. ^ a b c New Netflix shows won't return you to golden age of TV drama...
  79. ^ Freak TV: Welcome to the Golden Age of Weird – Rolling Stone
  80. ^ a b c d How we entered the “second golden age” of TV
  81. ^ America fell in love with British TV-Telegraph
  82. ^ a b A Case For The ’90s, Television’s ‘Other’ Golden Age-UPROXX
  83. ^ [2]
  84. ^ a b c 'American Idol' And The Golden Age Of Reality Television-TVBlog
  85. ^ a b The best TV shows this week: Dear White People gets a 10-part spin-off|The Guardian
  86. ^ [3]
  87. ^ Why the Golden Age of TV Was Really Born in the 1980s-Vulture
  88. ^ a b Twin Peaks ushers in the second Golden Age of television
  89. ^ How ‘Jane the Virgin’ Became a Sleeper Hit – Rolling Stone
  90. ^ Are We Still in the Golden Age of Television?-GeekDad
  91. ^ Even better this time round: The Crystal Maze, Twin Peaks and our golden age of TV reboots
  92. ^ [4]
  93. ^ How the binge drop led to a golden age of TV characters|Datebook
  94. ^ The 50 Funniest TV Comedies of All Time-Complex
  95. ^ a b c d 'American Idol' And The Golden Age Of Reality Television-TVBlog
  96. ^ a b c Can We Watch Enough for TV's 'Golden Age' to Last?-AdAge
  97. ^ How TV Became Art-The New Yorker
  98. ^ In the “Golden Age” of Television, Spring Is The New Fall
  99. ^ [5]
  100. ^ "Gateway Episodes: The Thick of It". Slate Magazine. August 4, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  101. ^ "Veep and The Thick of It: A Study in Transatlantic Profanity". Airship Daily. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  102. ^ The ‘Golden Age of TV’ Has A Lot of People Worried — Here’s Why|Fortune
  103. ^ Meet the dramedy queens: the women who built TV’s new golden age-The Guardian
  104. ^ There's Nothing on TV Quite Like Yellowstone, but That Will Change|TV Guide

External linksEdit