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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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August 04 2015

The greatest year in television history. Apparently it was 2002.

Arrested Development: "Technically from 2003..."

Lol ok then, way to stick to the premise, writer.
There was also this little show called Buffy some people told me was pretty good.
Hadn't heard of Spooks before. The Bachelor should not be anywhere near that list.
Seems like a very bizarre list. Did they just pull the year out of a hat?
That is a truly awful and pointless article.
I don't even understand the concept of this list. All the writer says is that he believes the 9/11 terrorist attacks somehow caused people to appreciate serialized TV more. He then provides no evidence to back up this claim and instead gives us a bunch of random TV show examples from that year.
I do recall 9/11 changing the landscape of television. Well, I was too young to remember anything about television and the zeitgeist before it, but this isn't necessarily how one goes about proving that thesis. I don't know enough about these shows, but perhaps the popularity of 24 (which began airing a month after the attacks) would perhaps work to this advantage. The Wire and LAPD perhaps would also, not that I've ever seen an episode of either, but something about bad guys always getting their comeuppance and a more black and white morality even if the heroes are deeply flawed would appeal perhaps to an immediately post-9/11 audience and a wave of such shows and their popularity would maybe be expected.

Firefly is a godawful example as I'm pretty sure that wasn't anywhere near considered mainstream television. I am actually one of the few, it seems, who would argue The Bachelor could support the thesis, as escapism is important and especially if it did begin a wave of similar shows or sparked renewed interest in contestant format. There would have to be comparisons to interest in such escapist pre- and post-attacks for this to stand though. I don't know enough about the effect of 9/11 on Great Britain to comment on why Spooks or Top Gear are there.

If we're going to argue about 9/11's affect on the television landscape, this isn't how to do it. I would start to look at what was popular and then work from there. A possible rise of trollers featuring government employees against those working to undermine society in some way, often featuring flawed and vaguely immoral protagonists but there is a clear cut black and white morality and wrong-doer, and maybe a rise in escapist fantasy shows. Perhaps a shift in the kind of values these shows present, perhaps stressing the importance of family and group ties and about banding together in the face of larger threats. (Really, though, I can't imagine that NOT being stressed at any point in time, but it as a main theme.) Perhaps an analysis of the disappearance of certain kinds of genres and why, like the lack of a disaster cycle which is common in the United States times of societal change, and yet that didn't occur in the early 2000s coming out of the 90s, perhaps because of the immediacy of an actual disaster. But that's more for film than television. I remember there being some discussion on the effect of the attacks on the development of Battlestar Galactica so that's also a good place to start looking into.

I don't know if any of that would really hold if one were to research this, but it's throwing around ideas for how to support the idea that 9/11 changed the television landscape. As to supporting 2002 as the best year in television, I don't know how one would do that beyond it produced a number of well-written and well-liked even today shows. I'm not even sure if that's the correct basis for determining the "best" year. I would perhaps look less for one that created critical and fan and cult favorites and more for a year containing the greatest number of shows that led to the development of television as a media and art form independent of film and more than advertising space. For that, I would argue one would have to go back further than the early 2000s.

Though, I guess my media studies major is showing a little.

[ edited by TenTonParasol on 2015-08-04 23:48 ]
Firefly and The Bachelor should only be on lists together to contrast excellence with crap.
'Spooks' was a BBC shows, which aired in the US as 'M.I.-5'
Hello, Poison Control, ACK! I just accidentally watched The Bachelor. ACK! Help Me!

It'll be OK, Watch two episodes of Firefly, then lie down and hum the theme to Buffy for thirty minutes. You should be fine.

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