Astute observers of television say the idea of a unifying show on even a modest scale is gone. In its wake are a hundred Twitter niches — and a dangerous lack of common culture.
By Steven Zeitchik, June 22, 2021 at 5:00 a.m. PDT
On one level, “Mare of Easttown” was a smashing success.
The Pennsylvania-set crime series starring Kate Winslet inspired numerous memes, truckloads of media coverage and even a “Saturday Night Live” parody after it debuted on HBO in April.
More importantly, thanks to its head-fake mysteries and town with more secrets than beer bottles, the show quadrupled its audience between its premiere and its finale. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that its audience began modestly enough that even with all that growth, the finale was watched by only 4 million people over Memorial Day weekend. For all its buzzy enthusiasm and hardcore fan interest, the “Mare” finale was not seen that weekend by nearly 99 percent of Americans.
The television hit — the most abiding of entertainment traditions — appears to be dying. That isn’t to say shows don’t have fans; they do, and some of them are more passionate than ever. But according to its long-standing definition — a universally recognized show that gathers a large, verifiable audience and becomes unavoidable in all the places people talk about television and endures well beyond its run — the TV hit is vanishing.From article…