This is undoubtedly the golden age of television, every year a new classic seems to appear. From Battlestar Galactica to The Shield, The Sopranos to Mad Men, Friday Night Lights to Veronica Mars, in the past ten years we have been treated to some real masterpieces. Television has gone cinematic, with rival budgets and productions values, and, in some aspects, can be even better than its rival art form, Film. With a film you grow attached to the characters over a couple of hours but with these shows you spend months, even years, watching them grow and develop and truly come to care for them. Most will admit they got a little misty eyed at Amber’s death on House, failed to hold back floods of tears at the ending of Six Feet Under and punched the air whooping when Tim and Dawn finally got it together on The Office.

Even the film industry has a growing respect for the small screen. More big name actors are landing on TV screens than ever before, such as Glenn Close on Damages and even Morpheus himself, Laurence Fishburne, on CSI. The sheer wealth of amazing roles and material available would be too much for any actor to pass up. And well-known talent from behind the scenes is working in TV too. Steven Spielberg created the fantastic Band of Brothers, recently created a new television show with Juno writer Diablo Cody and has another TV war epic due to arrive soon. Spielberg isn’t alone in his faith in television to tell a good story with other big names such as Barry Sonnenfeld and James Cameron following suit.

So tear up those cinema tickets and pick up a DVD box set instead. Why not stroll through the halls of the White House with The West Wing or take a seat on the therapist’s couch beside Tony Soprano – perhaps step on to the streets of Baltimore with The Wire and remind yourself how good we have it in Lenton, or step into the swinging 60s with Mad Men. There’s something for everyone. Whoever said TV is bad for you was wrong; how bad can it be when it’s this damn good?

Stuart Thorniley

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