Arts: Did Television Peak In The 90’s?


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about TV as a creative platform which might sound odd, but hear me out. At the moment, when I have watched programmes or movies, I’ve tended to notice a repetitiveness to the plot lines. This lack of originality seems to have come about slowly, with shows on the TV itself being reduced to only a scant few per channel opposed to the mass of choice that existed when TV was at its pinnacle of popularity: The 90’s.
Maybe I’m biased because that’s when I was growing up, but I find what is currently available a little lacking in terms of content. Particularly for children - what happened to that wealth of smart, witty, Saturday morning cartoons? Gone are the days of Sabrina, Daria and Scooby Doo, other than the repeats. Even sponge bob seems to be a little lacking in charm in new episodes these days. It is disappointing to say the least to see these shows cancelled, taken down and replaced with the same 3 banal programmes all day in the TV Guide.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t good television because there is. Especially for older watchers, there is everything from the thought provoking Handmaid’s Tale to Orange Is The New Black. But you’ll notice that both of these are something individuals are more likely to watch alone and on Netflix than with friends around a TV. And that’s part of the problem - all platforms are losing that social aspect of meeting up in person.
I think the remedying of this could be quite simple. Instead of attempting to make content of the same style to other things that are popular at mass expense and failing (eg. An outpouring of Vampire programmes during the Twilight years), putting money into smaller budget projects with writers, directors and animators who are really passionate about what they do. Have you heard of Laika, the American stop motion company? I mention them because I think they have a lot to offer others in terms of originality and advice. All I know is I’m itching to see some exciting new creative content, and especially for younger audiences, there is a need to bring back something that will get them thinking and get them out of bed! Just because it’s fun to watch TV doesn’t mean it has to be mindless.

I hope you enjoyed this slightly lighter topic than usual. Let me know what you think in the comments below? Did TV and creativity really reach it’s peak in the 90’s?