Sunday, September 4, 2016

Which 4 networks would you save?

Stranger Things poster Netflix
By Kenny Howell

If it went back to olden times, and there were only 4 networks that produced TV shows, which networks would you want to save?

That was a reader question from the excellent TV podcast TV Talk Machine (which you should listen to) this week. The catch is you can only keep original content, so if you have Netflix or Hulu, you can only watch the shows they produced, no back catalog of other network shows. The frame of the question is that we are at peak TV right now, meaning there is so much content out there, it is creating a bubble that will inevitably burst, and some networks will fail.

I think three of the four are easy. My first pick would be Netflix, then HBO, then FX. They are easily the class of the content providers these days. Netflix has such a wide array of shows, mostly original and entertaining, and have been producing the most interesting stuff the past year or so. Arrested Development, Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None, Bojack Horseman, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Love, Making a Murderer, Wet Hot American Summer, Lady Dynamite, The Characters, Bloodline. They all have varying degrees of success, but most are quite good. That's a big list.

HBO is still HBO despite not having the big bulk of terrific content that Netflix has. They still have Game of Thrones (for now at least), Veep, Silicon Valley, and the recent The Night Of.

FX allows its creators freedom to do their thing, and it most of the time turns out to be successful like Louie, Fargo, You're the Worst, etc. I have heard good things about Donald Glover's Atlanta, and Pamela Adlon's new series Better Things.

For No. 4, for me at least, there are a couple of different options. Amazon, Showtime, AMC, or Hulu. I don't think any of those have had quite the success that the other three have, but they do have their bright spots. Like AMC having the best show of all time, Mad Men. Amazon has shows like Transparent, Catastrophe, Showtime has Shameless, Homeland and others, and Hulu has Casual, Difficult People. So, just for AMC's past success, I will go with them. Or Showtime. Or AMC. Or Hulu.

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