Monday, December 13, 2010

An Introduction to The Best Televised Fiction of the New Millennium (So Far...)

There used to be a time when it when pretty easy to get away with saying, "TV sucks." That time was the 1990s, and any decade before, but pretty much since the turn of the century, television has been proving to be a predominant medium for engaging cinema. These days, audiences and producers alike seem to be willing to give television more credit. By giving the craft, feel and value of movie producing an additional blessing of continuous storytelling, cinema's scope has widened to allow for larger casts and crews to focus on a form of narrative fiction as powerful as the best novels, movies or songs. Television has become perhaps the best and most resonant form of artistic entertainment in this day and age.

Seasons have replaced novels, and TV shows can now becomes better than the best book series, while retaining the cinematic sensibilities that make movies so mind-blowing. And since premium networks have removed shows from the rigorous standards of FCC regulations, the format has opened to allow for highly realistic (or fantastical) portrayals of dramatic or comedic ideas, regardless of riskiness of content. Thanks to their episodic nature, these ongoing shows can deliver truly deep characters and rewardingly rich story lines and rival the imagination in delivering a whole new world.

Of course, with the emergence of higher quality television, there has also been a rise of "trash TV" that has polluted airwaves as much as some shows are savings them.  I suppose this is all proof of balance in the universe, but it is odd to me how much garbage is gaining popularity everyday. Funny enough, a large percentage of this horrible programming falls under the banner of "reality" TV, a sort of antithesis of the type of shows I hope to highlight, that relies on stock situations under the pretense of "catching it all on camera" (yet still pays  a staff of writers).

As much as I love to play the critic, I tend to focus on the positive over the negative. Mostly, this is because I do not see the point in letting everyone else know what I see is lacking in a subjective artform. I figure it must just be me. But I will sing the praises of what I find to be enhancing our time on this earth. So in loving tribute to the shows that have gotten this cinema junkie hooked time and time again to such great heights, I present an ongoing list covering the crème de la crème of high quality fictional television series.

The entries contained within are written in no specific order. I am not about to try to rank these shows for myriad reasons; suffice it to say that just because one show is listed before another does not necessarily mean that it's the better show. It's merely the order I choose to go. I hope you enjoy.

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