December 8th, 2009

breaking bad

Top TV

Article in the NY Magazine (thanks for the correction Abigail) arguing that in the noughties, TV became Art. The argument - and I think it's a good one - is that there is a business model to create high class drama, which repays investment in DVD box sets. While the noughties were arguably an excellent decade for film, they have been inarguably an excellent decade for TV.

My top five American TV shows were/are

Deadwood
Mad Men
The Wire
Firefly
Breaking Bad

Each one bloody outstanding - outstanding. I feel privileged to have seen any one of them, let alone all. Furthermore there were others, such as the Sopranos and Battlestar Galaactica, which were surely very good but I just never got around to watching.

My top five British TV shows were, it's more difficult, but I think:

Life on Mars
The Office
Spooks
Doctor Who
Spaced

I've left something obvious off there haven't I? I've got a nagging feeling. These are different from the high investment US shows: less grounded, more absurd. They rely more on winging it. That's not a very clear way of expressing what I mean.

I think that TV has been art before now, but it's more consistent, and there's more money invested in it, now that the philistines have figured out they can generate income from quality. Of course there is another business model, which is churn out any tatty old crap which is supposedly 'real', while being nothing like reality. However, you don't have to watch it do you? (By 'you' here I am addressing myself)

I would like to put in a word for British short drama series, which come and go, perhaps never make as much individual impression as these great shows, but cumulatively add up to something worthwhile. That includes BBC classical adaptations like Crime and Punishment, and ITV's bleak crime dramas like Wire in the Blood and Rebus.
breaking bad

1979: an age of sexual decorum

Someone called Jonathan Zimmerman berates young people nowadays for their promiscuous ways:
I’ve heard plenty of my 40- and 50-something male peers complain that they were born several decades too early. But I have never, ever heard a woman say she’d prefer today’s hooking-up system to the dating rituals we grew up with.

It's a complex area, and there are obviously good and bad things about various sexual arrangements, for men and women. I know these are valid things to discuss, but that isn't why I link to this.

No. It's something else that I've noticed lately, which is that people now talk about my generation as if we grew up in the good old days. I'm 48 and I didn't grow up in a world of formal dating and restraint. Men in their 40s and 50s were young in the 1970s and we went at it like nobody's business. We aren't bloody Victorians. We used to sniff glue and stick pins through our faces. Well, to be fair I didn't do that, but you know what I mean.

So I guess what I am posting about is that my generation - the punk generation - are now being held up as the good old days when men were men and women didn't have casual sex. How old is Zimmerman. I could tell him stories that would make him blench.