Friday, December 18, 2009

The Aughts: the Decade of TV

In 1990 Ned's Atomic Dustbin urged us all to kill our televisions. It's a good thing we did not. Little did we know that the next decade, the Aughts (2000-2009), would see this medium achieve perfection and take the place of movies as the preferred medium for storytelling. If we learned anything the past decade, it's that given creative rein and a decent budget, today's storytellers can make a compelling product that doesn't just entertain us, but it rewards viewers who put in effort with an even better experience.

Emily Nussbaum has an article out about the Aughts being the decade of TV. Her opening paragraph says it all:

On January 16, 2000, Big Pussy slouched up Tony Soprano’s driveway, hiding his
terrible secret. It was the first episode of the second season of The Sopranos,
and everywhere, on cable and network, artful programming was on the rise. In
April, HBO aired The Corner, the precursor to David Simon’s The Wire; in May,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer closed its fourth season with the dream-finale
“Restless.” In July, Freaks and Geeks completed its single perfect season. Sex
and the City was a national sensation, The West Wing had begun the previous
fall, Jon Stewart was finding his feet on The Daily Show, Adebisi was murdered
on Oz, and Curb Your Enthusiasm debuted, violating the premise that viewers
couldn’t tolerate a hateful protagonist. HBO was in its heyday; TiVo in its
infancy. As Sinatra crooned over The Sopranos’ opening scenes, it was a very
good year.

So as the year winds down and you're out looking for last-minute gifts, give a present that encapsulates the decade that is passing. Hook someone up with a season of The Wire, Deadwood, Lost or The Shield. It'll probably be one of the best gifts they get.

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