For the new year to be truly “new,” let’s see if we can shed some of the ideas and trends in TV in 2015 by declaring some of them to be passé, or close to it.
The idea that we are experiencing a Golden Age of Television: Can we please stop talking about a new “Golden Age”? I have no problem praising the handful of TV shows that have appeared in the past 10-15 years that have raised the bar on quality when it comes to producing TV shows. I agree that this handful of TV shows demonstrates that for some creators, in some sectors of the TV industry, TV today provides for a great deal of creative freedom. And we viewers have been the beneficiaries of that.
But a “Golden Age”? I don’t think so. I have never believed in these kinds of generalizations, particularly when it comes to television -- because the development, production and launch of TV shows is so experimental in nature. Most of the time, no one really knows if a TV show will work well enough for it to stick around for a while.
Check this out: It's a Wikipedia page I came across about the year in television (2014) and there’s a chronological list of the shows that premiered this year. I was struck by how many of them there were, and how many went nowhere. Sure, call this a “Golden Age” if you want, based perhaps on the sheer tonnage of TV content that gets produced these days and the high quality of a few of them. But a “Golden Age”? It might be time to rethink that idea.
TV’s war on wives: I was also struck with this realization the other day while grazing through some of the cable channels: TV seems to have a thing against wives. This thought was triggered by a pass through Bravo -- which had one of its “Real Housewives” shows on (it sometimes seems that repeats of these shows are the only things Bravo ever airs) -- followed closely by a peek at VH-1, which was airing “Mob Wives.” And I thought: TV’s reality-show wives are a wild, crazy bunch. Maybe the “Real Housewives” shows will finally start to wear out their welcome in 2015.
Charlie Sheen: The news was little noticed or remarked upon, but Charlie Sheen’s most recent TV show -- the FX sitcom called “Anger Management” -- quietly died recently. The lack of interest in this show’s demise (or its existence generally) had me thinking that we may actually be over Charlie Sheen. And that’s a good thing, because the adulation this guy receives has always puzzled me, particularly the standing ovations when he appeared on the late-night shows. Maybe these spectacles are done, at least for now.
Paying attention to “The View”: We are already on the way to achieving this one. “The View” was remade this year with the replacement of most of its cast members (with the exception of Whoopi Goldberg). But despite all the attention that was given to the revamped show -- including the return of Rosie O’Donnell -- no one was really talking about “The View” except in two contexts: Its ratings, which continued to be sluggish; and Rosie O’Donnell, who reportedly was throwing her weight around backstage and driving everybody crazy. Maybe we’re over “The View” already -- until there is more Rosie news.