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PODCAST: Is Good TV Distracting Us From Great TV?

PODCAST: Is Good TV Distracting Us From Great TV?

Much has been made about the Golden Age of Television blowing open the doors for more stories to emerge, but few have taken the time to consider if the doors needed to be, well, if not shut, than guarded a bit more closely. Enter John Landgraf. The mind behind FX’s television programming took the stage at the network’s TCA presentation last week to discuss how much TV was out there, what we could expect in the future and why our culture may be reaching its limit.

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Part of his argument centered around his belief that “good television” was distracting audiences from “great television.” “There’s just too much competition,” Landgraf said. “So much so that I think the good shows often get in the way of the audience finding the great ones.” He went on to discuss how FX’s creative minds make “specific personal pieces” that the network gives “full, unconditional support,” lamenting the fact that these efforts are no longer good enough — for some shows — in such a crowded field. 

Of course, Landgraf could be saying this for strictly business reasons. One of his favorite new shows, “The Comedians,” received mixed reviews and lower ratings before getting canceled, and “The Americans,” despite being one of the most praised shows on television, has failed to break through at awards shows and in the ratings. FX could not have given better support to either program, yet they’ve failed to succeed to the levels they deserve.

Yet the numbers Landgraf provided are daunting. With an expected 400-plus original scripted shows available by 2016, we very well could be reaching our saturation point as consumers — if we haven’t passed it already. Enter Indiewire TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers. The duo takes on the topic this week, breaking down the pros and cons of each side and digging into examples both for and against Landgraf’s argument. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to Very Good TV Podcast via Soundcloud or iTunes. Follow Indiewire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news — as well as all the latest reviews and analysis on new TV series and seasons — plus check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to Indiewire’s other podcastsScreen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson as well as Indiewire Influencers, hosted by Editor in Chief Dana Harris and featuring various guests relevant to anyone tracking independent film or entertainment in general.

Related Articles and News: 
– John Landgraf’s speech wasn’t the only news to come out of FX’s TCA day: Check out what’s going on with “Louie,” “Archer” and a few new series coming to the busy network. 

– Check out the TCA Award Winners including “Empire,” “The Americans” and Jon Hamm! 

– Read before you watch: Liz and Ben’s reviews of the new Amazon pilots, “Sneaky Pete” and “Casanova.”

– Remember last week when Jon Stewart ended his historic “Daily Show” run? Yeah, Liz has some thoughts on that

– And “True Detective” Season 2 has ended. Read Ben’s final thoughts on the disappointing finale

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