I have read a couple of articles in recent times advancing that view and sadly I agree.
For me the Golden Age began not with a cable show but one on NBC — Homicide Life On The Street.
It boasted a cast full of superb character actors — Andre Braugher, Yaphet Kotto, Oscar winner Melissa Leo, the magnificent Ned Beatty etc etc
Sadly — for me it only lasted five seasons but that’s damned good for a cops and robbers show on network TV.
And behind it the genius behind the series I suggest is the greatest of them all — The Wire.
As for the Wire:
What Makes It Great?
According to most people these days, The Wire is the best show ever made. Generally, when something receives that kind of hype, it's woefully misrepresented. The Wire is the exception that proves the rule, however, with its sprawling five-season run serving as the great American epic that arguably no show has ever topped. Each season focuses more specifically on a different facet of Baltimore (the police, the drug dealers, the dockworkers, the politicians, the journalists) all while following the same vast ensemble cast of brilliant actors (with Michael Kenneth Williams, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Michael B. Jordan, Amy Ryan, Lance Reddick, Aidan Gillen, and countless others getting some of their first big breaks here). It's fitting that America's War and Peace would be a television show, and The Wire is it.
Then came The Sopranos, best of them all for many people, The West Wing, The Shield, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and then Succession.
But with Succession finishing they are all gone and there is nothing I can see coming in the pipleline to take their place.
White Lotus has another series coming and it’s very good — a lot of fun.
But it’s not quite up to the others listed — in my view anyway.
A key reason we are less likely to see another great TV drama now in my view is because the people who ran the likes of HBO back in the era when these these shows were commissioned are long gone.
Now there is much less inclination to take risks — and without risks these shows would never have been made.
What exec would now commission a pilot like that of The Shield in which a renegade cop shoots another one on his corrupt trail in the head?
Might do but I doubt it.
One of the reasons that risks are no longer being taken is money.
Streamers are being squeezed financially so we now have Netflix etc cutting back on budgets and cancelling shows before they can build an audience — not that I am fan of those shows anyway — though I may have missed a couple of good ones.
(I am open to any recommendations by the way).
Anyway, that’s my lament — hope I am wrong — at least I’ve got these shows — most of them anyway — on that old relic — the DVD.