In 1961 US Federal Communications Chairman Newton N Minow called television “a vast wasteland”. How times have changed. Over 50 years later television is in a renaissance – arguably the medium that most dominates the cultural conversation worldwide.
Starting with The Sopranos in 1999, TV programmes have steadily become more ambitious, with series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and, more recently, Masters of Sex, The Strain, The Knick and The Leftovers challenging cinema as the medium that produces the greatest moving-image art.
Tom Brook looks at how this golden age has evolved and how these English-language shows have won followers among non-English speakers.
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