Is television really in a “Golden Age”?

James Lowdon

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The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, House of Cards—all of these shows have millions of followers and have influenced our culture at BHS immensely. The television industry as a whole is experiencing a multitude of successful shows and the birth of a new competitive market where certain TV shows are achieving levels of success that shows in previous years have never seen before. Many claim that we are currently in the “Golden Age of Television.” Many of the same people also claim that while the quality of television shows are increasing, the quality of the movie industry is declining. So is the television industry really getting better while the movie industry worsens?

Well, in order to answer that question we need to look at the reasons behind these new supposed ‘trends.’ The entertainment industry has been revolutionized in recent years by streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video. A little under five years ago, Netflix stock was priced at around nine dollars; today, it is worth over 140 dollars. While these platforms do give movies a larger market and platform, TV shows have been affected the most. The television industry has grown into a larger, more competitive market, and now streaking platforms are hosting their own TV shows such as Netflix’s House of Cards and Narcos.

In years past, binge watching a television show was something to be embarrassed about; however, in recent years, it has grown easier and become socially acceptable. On the other hand, movies are growing more and more expensive to produce. With new technology and massive budgets being used by competitors, studios are forced to produce a select few expensive movies as opposed to a multitude of cheap ones. Furthermore, with the advent of social media and online reviews, without even actively searching for the reviews, people can find out whether a movie is good or not as early as opening night. A movie has to succeed at opening night, or else it will be a failure, and as a result, studios view movies as a ‘hit or miss’ venture and no longer invest in them quite as heavily as they used to, despite growing movie budgets. On the other hand, revenues and opportunities are continually growing for TV.

Although TV is steadily out competing movies in the entertainment industry and is achieving new levels of success, some argue that it is inappropriate to label this period of development as a “Golden Age.” The statement that we are currently living in a “Golden Age” of TV is not universally agreed upon.

Sophomore Alex Ong said in response to whether he agreed or not he said, “No I don’t because TV is still getting better.”

Although many students disagree with the label of “Golden Age” given to this current era of television, they disagree not because they think TV is becoming stale or once was better, but rather, they think that to label a period as a “Golden Age” is pointless and limiting. Industries are constantly evolving and improving, so to state a current era as a “Golden Age” is to state that the industry has ‘peaked.’