Lately, in the past 10-15 years, I have noticed that TV has become a great source of not just entertainment, but art.
Movies are a great source of entertainment - whether you're after an action, a comedy, or a critically acclaimed drama. Which brings me to the point of my post.
It was with the beginning of what I like to call 'early HBO' where TV began to get really good on a critical level (to the point where viewers wanted to 'own' a show). Not that there wasn't good TV before. But it was with with series like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under that TV shows became as good as, and in some case better, than films. Also, The Sopranos gave us one of 'TV's Greats' in the form of the character Tony Soprano.
Lost and 24 showed us that basic network TV *ABC, FOX, etc...for example) were capable of providing quality entertainment. These were also some shows that fueled the 'TV on DVD' demand (this was a bit before torrents, Netflix, etc...). Nowadays, it's hard to imagine not using DVD / Netflix / torrents etc to catch up on a TV show, or watch it in order. I mentioned something along this line when referencing Star Trek series in the 90s - I watched some shows in the 90s, but it was hard to follow in order, as the only way to catch up was re-runs (not usually in order) or to record them on VCR as they are. The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, 24, and Lost ushered in buying TV seasons.
After Lost, some critically acclaimed series were: Dexter, Mad Men, House, Breaking Bad, Damages, Homeland, to name a few. With TV series, the writers and producers have more reign and breathing space to craft a story that unfold and develop in a span longer than 2-3 hours. With drama programs, budget usually isn't an issue, as the focus is story.
With Game of Thrones, Homeland, and Mad Men, premium TV has become the go-to place for critically acclaimed on channels such as HBO, ShowTime and AMC. If you watch something on any of those three channels, chances are you'll enjoy it.
With other network channels such as ABC, FOX, NBC, etc... the quality of shows overall isn't too good, and (or because) the shows tend to drag on for much too long, resulting in a stale program.
I will end this post, somewhat randomly, with a list of some memorable characters on TV. It does say that this is a blog without a focus....
Tony Soprano - The Sopranos
Dr. Gregory House - House
Dexter Morgan - Dexter
Patty Hewes - Damages
Don Draper - Mad Men
Walter Bishop - Fringe
Hank Moody - Californication
Walter White - Breaking Bad
Tyrion Lannister - Game of Thrones
Sheldon Cooper - The Big Bang Theory
Barney Stinson - How I Met Your Mother
I'm sure there's others...