One trend is to watch less television and to see more shows on the television screen from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu-plus. This is rapidly becoming the main form of home entertainment among my friends and associates.
One show that is now on Netflix and was on cable has stood out among the others. It is constantly discussed among the people I know. It is Breaking Bad.
In the new technological environment some people watch an entire series of TV shows in a day. Most of my friends only watch two or three episodes in an evening over many nights.
This is treating modern storytelling in much the same way that stories were told in the beginning of the 19th century by people such as Charles Dickens and Herman Melville. These were serialized stories that had to have complete single story excitement and character development in each serial short story and that all had to fit into the longer narrative.
That is what we seem to like these days. That is what I like about the work of Vince Gilligan the man who created and writes Breaking Bad. Every episode is complex with character development and a full short story. All of which fits into the longer narrative that is unpredictable and exciting.
I want to make two additional comments about this. First, the complex short television story seems to have first been developed in the Seinfeld middle and later episodes. In the Seinfeld episodes there were three interacting storylines dealing with moral issues. The three storylines were resolved at the end of the half hour program. Actually 22 min. programs because 8 min. are left for commercials.
The second real advance in narrative is evident in Breaking Bad where extremely interesting developments occur in each complete single 40 min. episode while fitting into the longer term narrative in a way that is unpredictable, but connected and fascinating (an airplane crash because of a young girl's drug death).
Both the Seinfeld development and the Gilligan development have made it very hard for me to watch any other lower quality television.