Stop calling this TV's golden age. It's still an idiot box, even if you like "Girls," Jon Stewart," and "The Wire." →
I think it happened around Season 3 of “The Wire.” Maybe it was “The Sopranos.” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”? “Lost”? I can’t say. I just know I woke up one day confused.
Everyone, it seemed, had become a walking TV Guide: debating a bubbling vat of dramas and comedies, gossiping and blasting alerts about their pundit show bookings, filling out Which-character-are-you? quizzes. TV coverage had overtaken the media, where magazines, newspapers and websites dissected anticipated serial finales like D-Day.
It wasn’t the existence of new cult shows that left me befuddled, or even the tonnage of critical praise heaped on them. It was the hungry-hippo, remote-happy tone that continues to define this “golden age of TV.” Kill Your Television has morphed into Love Your Television. […]
For years I’ve dreaded writing this. There’s no way to do it without sounding like that stock villain of the postwar American dinner party, the tweedy bore and pretentious prick who makes a loud public show of not owning a TV. For the record, I’m not that guy. But it’s time to call bullshit on the new consensus that TV, in any of its Internet-age mutations, has become our harmless friend, deserving ever-greater amounts of our time and critical coverage limited to endless plot exegesis. It’s time to shout from our dish-cluttered rooftops what has been obvious for years: this celebration of TV’s new “golden age” is out of control. It’s dangerous, and it’s sad.