We are living in what is widely acknowledged as the Golden Age of television. What began as a trickle of captivating, intelligent, and creatively challenging series such as NYPD Blue and Oz became a flood with The Sopranos, Deadwood, and The Wire. Now we're drowning in an ocean of Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black, and House of Cards. Every month it seems a new jolt of inspiration appears from HBO, FX, AMC, Netflix, Amazon, and ever more unexpected corners of the media universe.
How did we get here from the bad old days of the idiot box? Television became truly great when it ceased being television, writes Senior Editor Peter Suderman, thus escaping the rules, regulations, conventions, and tastes that for decades kept the boob tube boring, stupid, and safe.