We're in a golden age of television. The quality of television shows today rivals film. We're seeing successful film directors tackle serialized programming like David Fincher with House of Cards. We've even seen TV launch the careers of successful directors in the last decade like J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon.
I'm excited for this to transition to the internet where serialized content makes even more sense and is even more flexible. Much like the approach with House of Cards, you don't need awkward "Previously on..." or artificial cliffhangers to make people tune in next week. The traditional length of 22 minutes of programming for a half an hour show or 45 minutes for an hour show really doesn't mean anything. A young and talented director can hone his craft in a series of episodes at 10 minutes long. A documentarian could make a series on her topic that spans three 1-hour films.
With so much great TV out there, it's easy to miss. It's a much bigger investment than watching a single two hour movie, but the payoff is usually worth it. In the last month, I watched all 76 episodes of Friday Night Lights for the first time and I can't believe I never watched this show when it was on TV.
I want to share some shows I only started watching in the last year that were originally off my radar. I'm only including shows that I missed the entire first season and had to catch up. There's something really satisfying about being able to watch an entire season all at once. Some of these I'm embarrassed to admit that I wasn't on the bandwagon early. If you're still not watching at least a few of these shows, clear out your schedule. All but Homeland are available to stream on Netflix.
- Breaking Bad
- Friday Night Lights
- House of Cards
- American Horror Story
- Sons of Anarchy
- The Killing
I feel like there's still so much out there I want to watch: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men are just a few.
The brilliant thing about Netflix's strategy to launch all episodes of House of Cards at once is that you don't have to feel that you're behind or need to catch up. Some of these shows that I heard good things about, like Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights, I didn't originally consider because I wasn't going to start watching in the middle of season 4.
Don't miss out on the golden age of television. Go watch something.