Nothing Gold Can Stay: Prestige TV Edition

Facebook is happily showing me posts from 10 years ago, which –more often than not– relate to The Broken Continent: a fantasy web series I and others produced back before you would instantly ask “what streaming service is the series on?”

That would all begin to change in 2013 as the likes of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black made the industry take notice of “streaming” in ways it hadn’t. Honestly, considering HBO’s Game of Thrones was happily the topic of many a water cooler conversation in 2011 and AMC’s The Walking Dead was developing a dedicated following in 2010, industry wheels were probably already turning. All I know is that by the end of Game of Throne‘s run in 2019, there was a general conclusion that we were in a new Golden Age of Television. I’ve covered much various articles about “Future TV.”

Yes, the argument could be made that I should have switched the tag to “Present TV” a few years ago, but now various media observers might want the tag to be “Past TV. Just as I noted back in February, there’s a general consensus that the streaming golden age is over.

Enter Sam Adams’ piece for Slate proposing a new term: ‘Trough TV,’ to replace ‘Peak TV.’

Having finally caught up with Yellowstone and its spin-off series, I think he’s being a bit harsh on, well, at least the spin-off series. However, the environment of giving massive budgets to all sorts of ambitious ideas does appear to be over. There is an actuarial attitude (also something promoted by Netflix) that is evident in the latest crop of shows.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Chandler Cruttenden/Unsplash and Corvalol/Getty Images Plus.

The article does point to a lot of industry trends contributing to this change in programming, the most salient by-the-numbers one is that, with less overall scripted shows being green-lit, there isn’t going to be the same appetite for experimentation.

That also means I have no idea when we might return to Elyrion just in case anyone’s wanting us to (we sure do).

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