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Golden Age of Television (2000s–present)

This Golden Age of Television has been marked by the production of a large number of internationally acclaimed television programs in the United States.[1][2][3][4] The period began in the late 1990s[5] or early 2000s.[6] It resulted from advances in technologies of media distribution,[7][8] as well as a large increase in the number of hours of available television, which prompted a major wave of content creation.[9]

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 second Golden Age).[7][10][11][12][8][13]


French scholar Alexis Pichard has argued that TV series enjoyed a Second Golden Age in the early 1990s 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. Alexis 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.[14]

Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Lost, Six Feet Under, and The Wire 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.[13][15][16] The Writer's Guild of America vote for 101 Best Written TV Shows includes a complete foundation of the current Golden Age of Television. [17] Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice has argued that it began earlier with network shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Babylon 5.[5] Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku has said that Avatar: The Last Airbender should be considered a part of the golden age of television, and recommended "the sophisticated kids show" to others.[18] With the rise of instant access to content on Netflix, creator-driven television shows like Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, and The Shield 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. 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 saw 455 original scripted television shows with an additional increase projected for 2017. 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 United States has reached "peak television", where the amount of television series being aired 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.[19][20][21][22][23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Leopold, Todd. "The new, new TV golden age". CNN. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Plunkett, John; Deans, Jason. "Kevin Spacey: television has entered a new golden age". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  3. ^ McGinty, Stephen. "A golden age of television?". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  4. ^ McIntosh, Farquar. "ITV share price: Broadcaster calls for retransmission payments". Invezz. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd. "The golden age of TV is dead; long live the golden age of TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Carr, David. "Barely Keeping Up in TV's New Golden Age". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Cowan, Lee. "Welcome to TV's second "Golden Age"". CBS. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Simon, Jeff (March 31, 2015). "Who put these shows on the air and why?". The Buffalo News. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The CB Guide to the New Golden Age of Television". Canadian Business. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Weisenthal, Joe; Robinson, Melia. "16 Things You Never Knew About The New Golden Age Of TV". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Pichard, Alexis. Le nouvel âge d'or des séries américaines. Editions Le Manuscrit. 
  13. ^ a b Reese, Hope. "Why Is the Golden Age of TV So Dark?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Pichard, 2011, p.11
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ "101 Best Written TV Series List". Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (18 August 2015). "'Peak TV in America': Is there really too much good scripted television?". HitFix. HitFix, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Leslie, Ian (2017-04-13). "Watch it while it lasts: our golden age of television". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-08-13. 
  23. ^ 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.