Television’s addiction to violence, and the shows that are beginning to fix it
I find myself wondering where a show like Game of Thrones fits in the grand scheme of the golden age of television. On one hand, Game of Thrones is surprisingly muted in its approach to violence. Battles often come and go without a drop of blood crossing the screen.
The threat of violence hangs over every sentence, but generally speaking it's more like The Wire than it is Lord of the Rings. The real drama of the show comes from the friction between people and the neverending seesaw of power.
But at the same time, it still tends to rely on death to punctuate every season. As the show goes on I wonder if it will truly distinguish itself as one of television's great dramas, or if it's reliance on shock and death will diminish its legacy once the surprises have worn off.
This article from Grantland is a great musing on the truly great shows of the last ten years, and the imitators that are trying to disguise themselves as great dramas by hiding under a veneer of death and darkness. I don't think television is the only form of media that uses violence as a shortcut to drama, and this has been going on since humans have told each other stories.
Still, it's worth having the discussion.