I am watching the Season 1 DVD of Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and thinking about how literary television has gotten. Even this show, built on the shoulders of an action movie franchise, is imbued with a narrative structure that is driven by literary concern. There are many TV shows now that do not operate simply on a surface level but instead offer the viewer the chance to dissect layers of story and character development, creating serial films: short 45 minute bits of cinema that offer visceral and intellectual entertainment as well as the usual car explosions and ass whoopins.
Among the current and recent literary shows I like the best: Sarah Conner, Mad Men, The Wire (clearly one of the best series to ever air on television), Rescue Me, 24, and a few others.
There was a time, about ten years ago, when I rarely watched TV, with the exception of sports. I even remember not having a television for about six months once.
Now I'm thinking about buying a Tivo because the DVR my cable company gave me isn't quite cutting it.