Outlander is the real TV novel

This is a really good article by Noel Murray explaining why Outlander is such a good TV series.

Fans of prestige television can be a little snobby. As someone who’s spent decades writing about the small screen, I often run into viewers who grew up in the post-Sopranos, post-Arrested Development era and have developed deeply ingrained ideas about what makes “good TV.” For instance, no matter how much I insist that Mom and One Day at a Time are two of the best contemporary sitcoms, it’s tough to convince people who reflexively roll their eyes at shows shot in front of live audiences.

One of the most frustrating opinions — which has taken hold not just among TV fans, but TV writers, too — is that there’s something artificial about dramas that tell complete stories in a single episode.

Anthology series are allowed to do it; and some “case of the week” crime or medical shows get a pass, so long as there are enough subplots that run throughout the season. But the Best Drama Emmy winners of the 1960s and ‘70s — hard-hitting, smart social-issue teleplays like The Defenders and Lou Grant, which introduced a problem in the first five minutes and then wrapped it up by the closing credits — would have a hard time winning that kind of acclaim today.

Myself, I miss those kinds of shows. That may be why I love Outlander so much.

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