Over the last decade the networks have essentially lost the programming war to cable television. Network officials decided to choose cost control over quality (and we have been living in reality show Hell ever sense). HBO was the first to prove that great television doesn’t have to only exist in network Prime Time, and lately cable start-ups have risen from obscurity to the home of some of most innovative, highest quality programming on TV. I am particularly amazed to see cable networks like AMC reinvent themselves with incredible original programming like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The FX Network has grown from a weird little rerun network into a programming powerhouse with original programs that include Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, Damages, the just departed and twisted Nip Tuck, and I am looking forward to their newest program that starts in a couple weeks, Justified, based on the character created by Elmore Leonard.
One of my favorite new shows is a another great illustration of the decline of NBC. The terrific crime drama Southland premiered last year on NBC, but was suddenly dropped from the lineup to make room for Jay Leno’s debacle. Another network primarily known for re-runs, TNT, picked up the show, re-ran the initial episodes, and this week rolled out all new episodes with the original cast. Also interesting to note… when Ray Romano wanted to return to series television after his long running hit Everybody Loves Raymond he certainly could of chosen a major network, but instead he also went to TNT for his wonderful new show Men of a Certain Age.
If you aren’t watching the above shows you really should be.