As a millennial who used to obsess over television, I’m stunned that I’ve come to a point in my life in which I’m kind of over it. I see the same trend in my peers, whether millennials or Gen-Z’ers, who just don’t care about TV the same way we care about the more niche creators we find through other media, most of which is on our phones.
The media landscape is shifting
TV used to be the main way to consume killer content. But now, things like TikTok YouTube, Vine (RIP), and podcasts are becoming the most exciting and accessible ways for young people to find entertainment.
Not only that, but instead of watching the onslaught of new shows we’re hit with each year, I and many of my peers find comfort in watching old reruns of random shows like Hell’s Kitchen or That 70s Show, and of course, The Office never stops finding new fans.
Some of the best TV of the last decade or so has become our favorite source of background noise as we work or scroll through our phones.
No one needs nor wants another reboot
Incessant television and movie reboots are evidence that the creative well has dried up for the old world. The money we’ve wasted telling the same stories over and over without making them any better is extremely upsetting. New creative talents need to take over the game, but it’s not easy to rise to the top of age-old networks.
It’s far savvier these days to gain traction on a platform like TikTok or YouTube, garner a massive Instagram following, and put yourself in a position where no one can tell you what to do. Sure, that leaves us with people like Jake Paul, but you can’t say the guy didn’t make the right money moves.
COVID’s not helping
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the process of creating shows a ridiculous ask. Who wants to get together to film something when the chances of catching the virus are so high? Well, as we’ve seen, not many people.
Some fear the death of the movie theater because so many productions have been cancelled. The same goes for television – producing a show is inherently risky right now. For creators looking to be the next big thing, a television network is not the right tree to bark up.
Network executives are becoming a nuisance
Up-and-coming writers, actors, and comedians are finding more success on mediums that don’t restrict their ideas and allow them to have total creative control. Aging network executives often don’t have their fingers on the pulse as much as they should; they make decisions all the time to cancel great shows while propping up terrible ones.
Audiences are flocking to other mediums that allow their favorite creators to say and do whatever they want. It seems we’re starting to move away from formulaic, played-out TV shows in favor of something more novel.
I’m moving on
I rarely watch new TV shows because quite frankly, I’m sick of the medium. I’ve been devouring 22-45 minutes of programming for as long as I can remember. As a child, it was Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, ABC Family, and DVD box sets of Saved by the Bell, ALF, and Family Ties.
In high school I blew through Sex and the City, Breaking Bad and Mad Men like it was nothing. By college I had seen The Office, Community, and Parks and Recreation more times than I could count.
Let’s also not forget about reality shows like Jersey Shore, The Bachelor/ette, and The Real Housewives, of which I’ve probably consumed thousands of hours of content. (No regrets.)
But toward the end of a twenty-something-season-binge of Family Guy, I couldn’t take it anymore. TV had done what it could for me; I had to move onto something new. For me that’s been podcasts, YouTube sketches and maybe a new show every few years – I can’t deny that I can’t wait for Season 4 of Ozark. But has the Golden Age of TV ended? I think so.