One of the hot topics of conversation as we enter the Fall TV Season is whether we’ve reached what some are calling “Peak TV,” and how exactly we should handle a situation where there are more good shows to watch across more outlets and platforms than ever before. Specifically, the question has become, “Is there too much TV?” How can networks compete for eyeballs in such a saturated market, and more importantly, for schlubs like you and me, how can we keep up with it all with the two lonely eyeballs we have to consume it?
The whole thing is a little confusing, and there are a bunch of moving parts to it, but luckily I — a professional pop-culture writer! — am here to help guide you through it. I’m sure you have questions. Please, fire away.
Is there too much TV right now?
A few weeks ago John Landgraf, head honcho at FX, estimated that between cable, broadcast, and streaming, there will be 400 original series produced this year, up from 280 just five years ago. If you assume half of those 400 are hour-long dramas and half are half-hour comedies, and give each a 13-episode season, that works out to somewhere around 3900 hours of television this year. That’s 162 days of original content. If it’s not “too much” TV, it is certainly “a lot” of TV.
Yeah, but aren’t a huge chunk of those shows, like, Keeping Up With the Whoseewhats, and children’s shows like Dr. Parakeet Something, and 28 Heathen Children or whatever TLC is running now? I mean, can’t you just dump a few hundred of those shows right into a bin labeled “Not for me” and move on?
Well, yeah, but…
And of the shows you do want to watch, how many are you really, truthfully missing?
Well, I’m behind on Orange Is the New Black, and Orphan Black, and The Americans, and Rectify, and Rick & Morty, and Bob’s Burgers, and Transparent, and —