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By David Bianculli
Updated 1:25 PM ET, Thu June 11, 2015
Every decade of television seems to evolve and differentiate itself, almost naturally, with a new level of exploration and growth.
In the 1950s, we had the so-called “golden age of television,” when live anthology dramas gave us such groundbreaking works as Paddy Chayefsky’s “Marty,” Rod Serling’s “Patterns,” and Reginald Rose’s “Twelve Angry Men.” In the ’60s, TV news matured by covering increasingly volatile news events, from assassinations and race relations to the Vietnam War.
And in the ’70s, television entertainment finally did what the news division had done the decade before: It became topical, and often intentionally polarizing, as it explored the issues challenging and dividing the country.
The ’70s were a bridge decade — delivering us into an era of what we think of as “quality television.” It would lead, ultimately to NBC’s pioneering “Hill Street Blues” and a raft of taboo-challenging cable networks in the ’80s. Without the advancements of the ’70s, in comedy as well as drama, we would have no “Breaking Bad,” no “Daily Show,” and no “True Detective.”