Can we please talk about how good cable television is? I realize this is not a new thought but as I sat speechless after the finale of yet another cable drama last night I was reminded why big name film stars take on TV projects, how cable networks have the money and talent to put great stories on air, and how nice it is to watch all of it from my couch. You could argue the series that started the cable news dominance was “The Sopranos” on HBO. I have watched only the first season and not because it isn’t interesting but because I have so many other shows to get to! “The Wire”, “House of Lies”, “Game of Thrones”, “True Blood”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “The Walking Dead”, “House of Cards”, “True Detective.” I have heard of but not watched all of these. Several I have devoured every season. The one that came to a gripping end last night was “True Detective” on HBO. Only eight episodes long and for only one season, it featured, in my opinion, career best performances from Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. The story was horrifying, gritty, at times funny and even poignant. It ended perfectly, not “Hollywood” style, but like a good crime novel would, realistically. That is was based on a novel is likely why. That it was paid for by cable TV and not a major movie studio is probably another reason why. You aren’t trying to put butts in the seats. You’re offering entertainment to your subscribers. The finale was so good it actually crashed HBO’s online viewing feature HBO GO temporarily. I also recently binge watched the two episodes of the Netflix original series “House of Cards.” Again, the best performances I’ve ever seen from two extremely talented stars, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. If you don’t know, Netflix releases the entire season at once so those of us with no self control can indulge in the whole thing right away and then complain about having to wait a year for the next season. “Mad Men” is a Sunday night favorite in my house, as is “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood”, although the latter seems to be limping toward its series finale which I’m too invested in now to back out of. I’m also a fan of “The Newsroom”, “Orange is the New Black”, and “American Horror Story.” In the Fisher house there are 6 TV’s, 3 Apple tv devices, 4 blu-ray players, an XBOX 360, Wii console, 3 iPads, a laptop and desktop computer. There is no shortage of places to watch the unlimited amount of entertainment available right now. Award winning movies, great independent films, network television shows, all of it a click away and in most every room of our home and yet, we find ourselves turning to cable TV series more than anything else to escape for an hour or two.
If you watch nothing else this spring, see “True Detective” (HBO GO is back up and running!)
and “House of Cards”
Cable television at its best.