Nolte: How Woke Killed the Golden Age of Television


Am I alone, or is all this social justice-woke nonsense destroying what had been a true golden era of television?

We have all this television now. TV is everywhere. There are more TV series out there than ever before, and other than Better Call Saul and Cobra Kai, I look forward to none of it.

I used to enjoy The Crown. The third season was positively brilliant. The fourth season was gossipy, woke garbage, including a deeply unfair (and dishonest) attack on the late Margaret Thatcher.

What happened?

Granted, I don’t see everything, but I sample a lot, and most of what I sample I shut off after an episode or two. Either it’s just bad TV, or it’s preaching the left-wing religion of Wokism instead of doing what it should be doing, which is either entertaining us or making us think about the state of the human condition.

My wife and I have just started to re-watch Mad Men. We’re already deep into the second season and already rep-addicted. The show is brilliant and has a million things to say about modern society, about race and feminism and corporations and masculinity. But it doesn’t preach. It doesn’t virtue signal. It relays what it has to say through theme and complicated characters, who you alternately hate and sympathize with.

The women are not all victims and perfect little Mary Sues. The men are not all sexist louts. These are real people, which makes them fascinating individuals we share so much with, namely our humanity.  These characters never lecture us from above, or preen over us from a soapbox. They’re achingly human, and their flaws and virtues bring us together under the common flag of humanism.

My wife was watching a show the other day, a Netflix show, where a waitress asked some Asian guy something that offended him, and he immediately launched into an angry monologue about the history anti-Chinese prejudice in America. What a dick. I would never watch a show like that.  Who wants to watch a show starring a preachy, superior, imperious jerk who dresses down some waitress because she asked him if he wanted sake or something?

And it’s not that I’m some kind of simpleton who only wants to watch shows like the A-Team (and yes, I like the A-Team very much). Just look at all the amazing shows that were on the air right around the 2007 premiere of Mad MenThe Sopranos, 24, The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Lost, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Rome, The Closer… In the coming years, there would only be a few more… Longmire, The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones… But today, it all feels like a woke wasteland.

A fascinating exercise is to compare The Closer to its sequel Major Crimes. A great, great, great show drove right off a Woke Cliff. How did a terrific show about crime and big-city politics turn into a show about a gay teenager coming out of the closet?

Look at how they tried to bring 24 back without Jack Bauer, and it died a horrible, twitching death because it had all those Black Lives Matter moments.


And the thing is, as I rewatch the shows birthed during that legitimate Golden Era of TV (1999 – 2009), one thing that always flies through my mind is how different they would be if produced today. How certain characters and plotlines and moments and wisecracks would be changed or omitted. How wokeness would be jammed in there and allowed to spoil so much. We should be grateful these shows were produced before the fascist left lost their ever-loving minds, before left-wing McCarthyism seeped into everything;  and even more grateful for DVD, so we can return to them every few years — which I do.

After Mad Men, we will probably rewatch The Shield for the fourth time or The Sopranos for the sixth, and we’re always running through a cycle of 50 or so titles of older shows, everything from Barney Miller to the Rockford Files to Miami Vice to Seinfeld to Monty Python to Outer Limits.

Anything but this woke crap being produced today.

And I can’t be alone. Whenever I look at the Netflix top 10, it’s always the same. Something like the 11-year-old movie like 17 Again tops all that woke crap, so what more do you need to know?



Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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