Are we in the golden age of cable? The more we think about it, the more we are starting to think it is the case.
Before we dive too deep into this assessment, let’s first begin with the news of the day — FX has rightfully announced that due to some strong ratings as well as critical acclaim, “Justified” is going to be staying pu for a fourth season. While season 1 was strong, you could argue that season 2 (buoyed by Margo Martindale, who is no longer on the show) managed to really plunge this show into the mainstream. Timothy Olymphant remains one of the most-underrated actors in television, and any further opportunities to see him surely results in good news.
With this announcement in mind, FX can continue to boast about a drama lineup that includes “Justified,” “Sons of Anarchy,” and “American Horror Story” — and this is without even mentioning the strong comedy lineup they have in “The League,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Archer.”
Compare this to some of the hits from other cable networks.
USA – “White Collar,” “Psych,” “Royal Pains,” “Burn Notice,” “Suits,” “Covert Affairs,” “In Plain Sight,” “Fairly Legal,” “Necessary Roughness”
AMC – “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Killing,” “The Walking Dead”
Showtime – “Dexter,” “Homeland,” “House of Lies,” “Shameless,” “Californication,” “Weeds”
HBO – “Game of Thrones,” “Luck,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “True Blood,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
This list does not even include some of the other networks with strong (but less-recognized via awards shows) scripted programming such as TNT, BET, Syfy, and A&E. Cable has become the go-to destination for solid scripted content, and the network are still scrambling to think of ways to recover. (“Once Upon a Time” is the only new hour-long show to draw ratings consistently on par with “Walking Dead” in the 18-49 demographic.)
What cable network do you think has the best programming at the moment? For those curious, season 4 of “Justified” will likely premiere in early 2013.