Song of the Day #3,112: ‘Whatever I Did’ – Black Justin Bieber

atlantaA few years back, people started arguing about whether television had surpassed feature films in quality. I’ll offer that the debate is over and TV won in a knockout.

While most year-end movie lists circle around the same batch of films, you’ll find TV lists that don’t overlap at all. I can name a dozen TV shows I’ve never seen that have shown up at or near the top of critics’ year-end lists, along with a dozen more I watch regularly.

We went from the Golden Age of Television to “peak TV” and now past that to some sort of small screen nirvana, where greatness awaits on every channel and streaming service.

Among the great television shows I watched this year were returning favorites Game of Thrones, Silicon Valey and Better Call Saul. Saul, in particular, had an excellent second season, exhibiting many of the qualities that made Breaking Bad the best show on television while becoming very much its own thing.

It was also a fine year for new programming, from the gripping HBO drama The Night Of to network standouts This Is Us and Pitch. Leading the pack among the freshmen was Atlanta, Donald Glover’s examination of black life. The show boasted an amazing cast of newcomers and a unique, off-kilter perspective that felt random in the moment but totally assured in retrospect.

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,112: ‘Whatever I Did’ – Black Justin Bieber

  1. Dana says:

    There is no doubt that there is more quality TV today than ever before. It has nevertheless been a very strong year for film and both mediums still put out their fair share of crap. So, it is hard to say that TV has necessarily surpassed movies.

    Atlanta was, of course, a standout this season and a big favorite in our household, particularly for my Donald Glover obsessed son.

  2. Daniel (the cool guy) says:

    Yes! I loved this song and I honestly wish when they release the soundtrack there’s a full version of this song. I was anticipating Atlanta for so long and even though I knew that I’d probably find a way to love it regardless, I’m so glad it received such widespread recognition even being called the best show of the year by Rolling Stone. As to whether shows have surpassed movies in quality I’m not sure about that because I’m not sure it has to be a competition. Personally I felt that the shows this year would win in recognizing people and voices that aren’t normally depicted on the mainstream but when a major studio releases a film that chronicles the story of 3 black female NASA employees, and another serious Oscar contender about a black gay man’s life, it’s been a great year across the board.

  3. Amy says:

    I echo Daniel’s sentiment above. In essence, both the film and television industries have benefited from an all out embrace of stories that haven’t been told before. Never have there been so many windows into so many different types of lives. Meryl Streep’s powerful speech about the power the industry has to enable the viewer to empathize with someone he would otherwise never know resonated with me in a year when I had spent time with the characters of Atlanta, Blackish, Master of None, This Is Us, The Night Of, as well as the characters in Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Manchester by the Sea, Loving, Lion and Hell or High Water.

    I can’t recall another year so rich in artistic experiences at home and at the theater, and it couldn’t have been better timed for a year when we would so desperately need the opportunity to experience that empathy.

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