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Old 03-08-18, 02:08 PM   #1
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If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

No limit to how far back you go, but it does need to be a time when you actually watched TV and had full authority on deciding what to watch. Instead of calendar years, we'll go by broadcast years (fall–spring).

I'll go with Fall 1998–Spring 1999.

Seinfeld and New York Undercover ended. The Simpsons came off the last season of their Golden Age (airing “In Marge We Trust” aka the Mr. Sparkle episode and “Lisa the Skeptic”) and began their decline.

There weren't too many other good shows on the air. A few here and there, and outside of Futurama no debuts to write home about.

We started to recover next year with Freaks & Geeks and The Sopranos.
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Old 03-08-18, 02:08 PM   #2
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

Runner up: 2002–2003 aka the year Joe Millionaire aired and people ignored Firefly.
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Old 03-08-18, 02:27 PM   #3
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

What was the year of the writer's strike, when the already burgeoning reality tv era seemed to fully take over and seasons were truncated and overall terrible (it was year 2 of Friday Night Lights and Heroes, both of which were absolutely terrible coming off of great first seasons; scrubs was going to end but moved networks instead, the office had a short season, Pushing Daisies was sent out to push daisies, multiple shows took a huge dip in quality).

Wait, I looked it up, I guess that was year 1 of Breaking Bad so automatically disqualified. Also the rumor is that they were going to kill a major character at the end of season 1 and had a completely different plan for season 2, and the writer's strike actually prevented that from happening.

Last edited by fujishig; 03-08-18 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 03-08-18, 02:30 PM   #4
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

^^ I believe that was the 2007-08 TV season.

Lots of shows had their seasons cut short and lots of junk aired that season.

Once the strike ended in the Spring, they had to rush to crank out episodes to make air before May sweeps. It was not a quality year for TV for the most part.
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Old 03-08-18, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

That writer's strike year was awful for television. It crippled existing shows and put a hamper on development for a good two years.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
Runner up: 2002–2003 aka the year Joe Millionaire aired and people ignored Firefly.
To be fair that has been more than made up for in the opposite direction by the over-worship of Firefly since.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

For me the peak was mid 1960s, although right now is the best tv has been since then. The best year for tv ever was the 1966-67 season.
BATMAN, GREEN HORNET, LOST IN SPACE, TIME TUNNEL, VOYAGE TO BOTTOM OF SEA, STAR TREK, THE INVADERS, RAT PATROL, WILD WILD WEST, LAREDO, FBI, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, MAN FROM UNCLE, GIRL FROM UNCLE, GET SMART, HOGAN'S HEROES, COMBAT, THE FUGITIVE, TARZAN.

The trough would be any year from mid 70s to late 90s when there were only 2 or 3 shows at any given time I felt like watching.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

Shows from the 80s were fun but many were aimed at younger kids and void of any narrative that didn't see the protagonist always winning the day. That's probably why I preferred shows like Miami Vice where you never knew what would happen.

The 90s were the low point for me, as I was not into Star Trek yet and most of the other shows at the time just didn't interest me. I was a teen. I just started watching X-Files last summer lol.

I don't think I watched any scripted TV on a weekly basis until Lost and The Shield came on.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:32 PM   #9
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

I've been aware that TV as a whole should be taken with a grain of salt when I was a young teenager watching the version of America's Funniest Videos with Dave Coulet as host, and they had Tag Team doing a live performance of "Whoomp, There It Is" in the studio, with the performers going around the audience while performing.

Something literally clicked in my brain at that moment, searing it into my memory forever and I always knew to hold TV at arm's length since then.

I'm not afraid to enjoy something good, but I can't stand the very existence of filler sitcom and reality crap.


And Seinfeld is the most overrated show ever made. There are flashes of brilliance surrounded by hours of drudgery.
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Old 03-08-18, 08:08 PM   #10
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
The 90s were the low point for me, as I was not into Star Trek yet and most of the other shows at the time just didn't interest me. I was a teen. I just started watching X-Files last summer lol.
The 1990s were the absolute low point for me too.

More generally, the late-1980s through to the mid-2000s was my "lost era" when it comes to television.

For long time period segments, I didn't have a tv at home or didn't have easy access to one. The only thing I really watched, were mostly Star Trek TOS reruns.
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Old 03-08-18, 08:21 PM   #11
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

1990's I barely watched any weekly TV. I was in college and tried to have a social life, worked and tried to finish school.

I don't think I really got into TV until circa 2000-01 when CSI premiered on CBS. It was a glitzy, movie-like production as a weekly TV show and got me into watching weekly TV. Once Tivo came into existence and allowed people, especially me, to record stuff and watch at their convenience was when I think we reached Peak TV. People were trying to watch more than they could realistically watch in a given week for live TV.

Streaming and cable producing original shows really just accelerated peak TV and is now overwhelming viewers.

The 1990s I think was not really a peak decade for quality TV. There were a few hit shows, but nothing like we've seen in the 2000s and 2010s.

Last edited by DJariya; 03-08-18 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 03-08-18, 09:44 PM   #12
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

I'm not sure I'd agree that now is peak TV.

I'd nominate 2004, You had a perfect mix of huge 90's shows winding down and new shows coming in hot, and HBO originals taking off.

24
Alias
Carnivale
Charmed
CSI
CSI: Miami
CSI: New York
Cold Case
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Deadwood
Desparate Housewives
Entourage
ER
Everybody Loves Raymond
Family Guy
Frasier
Friends
Futurama
George Lopez
House
King of Queens
King of the Hill
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Lost
Monk
Mythbusters
My Wife and Kids
NCIS
NYPD: Blue
Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
Reno 911
Rescue Me
Scrubs
Sex and the City
Shameless
Simpsons
Six Feet Under
Smallville
Sopranos
South Park
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate: Atlantis
Stargate: SG-1
That 70's Show
The Bernie Mac Show
The Dead Zone
The Drew Carey Show
The OC
The Office
The Shield
The West Wing
The Wire
Two and a Half Men
Veronica Mars
Will & Grace
Without a Trace
Wonderfalls

That's also ignoring reality shows which is a whole other giant list.

That's a ridiculous list of shows. If you weren't burning up your DVR you were missing out on some great shows.
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Old 03-08-18, 11:37 PM   #13
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

I always did well finding shows to watch. There are so many shows on that look good with no way to watch them all. On another note, I know someone that is already thinking, most shows are bad, most books are bad, movies etc.... they are already getting stuck in another time and they are not even forty yet. They never expand on anything, music, tv, books etc... they just think everything they try is bad. Not even sure what they want from anything.

They even say I have no taste because I like everything. I'm just not picky and it makes life more enjoyable.
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Old 03-09-18, 12:21 AM   #14
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
And Seinfeld is the most overrated show ever made. There are flashes of brilliance surrounded by hours of drudgery.
Wha...?

Seinfeld is one of the few shows I can't turn away from whenever I stumble upon it on TV now, even though I've seen every episode multiple times. It's brilliant. It has affected our social interaction in so many ways that you don't even notice it anymore (not that there's anything wrong with that).
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Old 03-09-18, 01:05 AM   #15
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
I'm not sure I'd agree that now is peak TV.

I'd nominate 2004, You had a perfect mix of huge 90's shows winding down and new shows coming in hot, and HBO originals taking off.

24
Alias
Carnivale
Charmed
CSI
CSI: Miami
CSI: New York
Cold Case
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Deadwood
Desparate Housewives
Entourage
ER
Everybody Loves Raymond
Family Guy
Frasier
Friends
Futurama
George Lopez
House
King of Queens
King of the Hill
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Lost
Monk
Mythbusters
My Wife and Kids
NCIS
NYPD: Blue
Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
Reno 911
Rescue Me
Scrubs
Sex and the City
Shameless
Simpsons
Six Feet Under
Smallville
Sopranos
South Park
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate: Atlantis
Stargate: SG-1
That 70's Show
The Bernie Mac Show
The Dead Zone
The Drew Carey Show
The OC
The Office
The Shield
The West Wing
The Wire
Two and a Half Men
Veronica Mars
Will & Grace
Without a Trace
Wonderfalls

That's also ignoring reality shows which is a whole other giant list.

That's a ridiculous list of shows. If you weren't burning up your DVR you were missing out on some great shows.

Wow. I think we have a winner. I didn't know all those shows overlapped at the same time. Even if I never watched them/didn't like them they are still pretty significant in TV history.
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Old 03-09-18, 01:25 AM   #16
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

No Buffy, no sale.
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Old 03-09-18, 02:07 AM   #17
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
For me the peak was mid 1960s, although right now is the best tv has been since then. The best year for tv ever was the 1966-67 season.
BATMAN, GREEN HORNET, LOST IN SPACE, TIME TUNNEL, VOYAGE TO BOTTOM OF SEA, STAR TREK, THE INVADERS, RAT PATROL, WILD WILD WEST, LAREDO, FBI, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, MAN FROM UNCLE, GIRL FROM UNCLE, GET SMART, HOGAN'S HEROES, COMBAT, THE FUGITIVE, TARZAN.

The trough would be any year from mid 70s to late 90s when there were only 2 or 3 shows at any given time I felt like watching.
Was thinking exactly the same thing about peak. Mid-60's offered every variety of show (including variety shows) with high concepts. There were also a lot of westerns still on: Bonanza, Big Valley, Virginian, Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, etc. Also Red Skelton, Ed Sullivan, Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, Smothers Brothers, The Saint, Avengers, Walt Disney World of Color, Monkees, Gilligan's Island, F Troop, Dragnet, I Spy, Twelve O'clock High, I Dream of Jeannie, Family Affair, Bewitched, and a lot of interesting one-shot series that got cancelled too early but had a lot of promise.

And if you go back & forward just a couple of years (say, 1964-1968), you can add iconic shows such as Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Wagon Train and kick in Munsters, Addams Family, High Chaparral, Laugh-In, Sonny & Cher, Perry Mason, Cimarron Strip, Dr. Kildare, Green Acres, Secret Agent, Jackie Gleason, and numerous other memorable programs. Even the movies of the week often offered compelling dramas such as Spielberg's "Duel." All pretty amazing when you realize that there were only 3 channels.


Worst era was late probably 1978-1983. Pretty much overlapped with disco era, synthesizer muzak, programmed drums, big hair. Shows just looked cheap and seemed churned out to formula with a few rare exceptions.

Last edited by creekdipper; 03-09-18 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 03-09-18, 01:37 PM   #18
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

The OP mentioning in between the Seinfeld finale and the Sopranos pilot is strong, but how about 5/1981 to 9/1982, in between the Muppet Show finale and the Cheers pilot. The best show on TV might have been Dukes of Hazzard.
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Old 03-09-18, 04:07 PM   #19
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by cleaver View Post
but how about 5/1981 to 9/1982, in between the Muppet Show finale and the Cheers pilot. The best show on TV might have been Dukes of Hazzard.
This was a deep trough. The only decent shows were Taxi and WKRP.
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Old 03-09-18, 04:57 PM   #20
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by cleaver View Post
The OP mentioning in between the Seinfeld finale and the Sopranos pilot is strong, but how about 5/1981 to 9/1982, in between the Muppet Show finale and the Cheers pilot. The best show on TV might have been Dukes of Hazzard.

Just a quick google for 1981 shows you had these start-ups/still fresh:

Magnum PI
Hill Street Blues
Fall Guy
CHiPS
Fall Guy
Trapper John
The Jeffersons
Different Strokes
Dallas
Dynasty
Knots Landing
Cagney & Lacey
Dukes of Hazard
The Love Boat

And 70's classics nearing the end of their runs:
M*A*S*H
Maverick
Fantasy Island
Three's Company
Happy Days
Love Boat
Laverne & Shirley
The Waltons
Little House on the Prairie
One Day at a Time


Maybe not the strongest year, but that's still a solid lineup of television. I guess you could look at it as the 70's shows were past their prime and the newer shows hadn't hit their stride yet.

I think 1999 (between Seinfeld and Sopranos) has it beat still.
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Old 03-09-18, 06:47 PM   #21
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Wha...?

Seinfeld is one of the few shows I can't turn away from whenever I stumble upon it on TV now, even though I've seen every episode multiple times. It's brilliant. It has affected our social interaction in so many ways that you don't even notice it anymore (not that there's anything wrong with that).
Strong agreement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post

Worst era was late probably 1978-1983. Pretty much overlapped with disco era, synthesizer muzak, programmed drums, big hair. Shows just looked cheap and seemed churned out to formula with a few rare exceptions.
That's a contender. Let's start with fall of 1978, where we had the double whammy of the Star Wars Holiday Special and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. As a ten year old whose whole world revolved around Star Wars and KISS at the time, both of these were big disappointments for me. They were the harbinger of a dark time in TV land.
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Old 03-10-18, 04:24 PM   #22
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

The late 1980s may be a good pick for worst era. That is before Seinfeld, The Simpsons, or X-Files hit the air. Which year did Cheers and Night Court end?
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Old 03-10-18, 11:02 PM   #23
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

Is this the first time anyone ever called anything trough TV?

I’m not really sure what it means.
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Old 03-10-18, 11:47 PM   #24
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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Is this the first time anyone ever called anything trough TV?

I’m not really sure what it means.
Yeah, I get the meaning but I probably would have gone with "valley", a more popularly used opposite of "peak".

Hmmm, or is it more like a pig trough, full of slop for the lowest common denominator to consume?
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Old 03-11-18, 07:27 AM   #25
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Re: If we're at Peak TV, when was Trough TV (for you)?

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The late 1980s may be a good pick for worst era. That is before Seinfeld, The Simpsons, or X-Files hit the air. Which year did Cheers and Night Court end?
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