The growing intellectual currency of television has altered the cultural conversation in fundamental ways. Water cooler chatter is now a high-minded pursuit, not just a way to pass the time at work. The three-camera sitcom with a laugh track has been replaced by television shows that are much more like books — intricate narratives full of text, subtext and clues.
Or like really good films — that happen to be seven, or ten, or fifteen hours long!
It really is pretty amazing that television has gone from utter garbage to one of the better forms of visual art in a relatively short amount of time. And that speaks well to the resurgence of other left-for-dead mediums.