The Definition Of “Good” TV

Jun 18 2012 @ 7:09pm

Todd VanDerWerff questions our artistic standards for the small screen:

We have a very particular idea about what makes "good" TV in this age of episodic online reviews. "Good" TV is either a single-camera sitcom filled with pop-culture references or moments of pathos (ideally both), or a serialized drama—often on cable—that probes the darkest limits of the human experience and has a bad-boy protagonist. In essence, we’ve created a world where the only two shows that can be copied to make good TV are Arrested Development and The Sopranos

There’s nothing wrong with this, actually. Copying those two shows has resulted in a lot of great series. … But copying those two shows has also resulted in a narrow TV palette, a limited series of colors to draw from when constructing the next "great" TV show. These series tend to have sensibilities that are very white and masculine, largely because they’re all created by white males, and, hey, write what you know. 

Alyssa Rosenberg nods.