In the not-to-distant future, we won’t even call it “TV.” It’ll be something else — some combination of “scripted,” “serialized,” and “awesome” that eschews the medium entirely. That’s the sea change affected by the revolution in Scripted Serialized Awesomeness that’s taken place in the last 15 years. Some call it the Third Golden Age, a term employed by Brett Martin in his book Difficult Men, to refer to the era of television that produced everything from The Sopranos to Breaking Bad to The Good Wife to Girls. The revolution was incited by a confluence of factors — shifting economic models in the cable biz that allowed niche shows with dark, complex characters to build avid followings over time; technological advancements in televisions that expanded the cinematic palette for directors and showrunners; the rise of DVDs, online streaming, and tablets that transformed appointment viewing into binge watching.
Along for the ride is music in various incarnations — from fantastic theme songs, to memorable scenes soundtracked by old and new artists alike, in all genres. Here’s our picks for the 30 best moments from the last 15 years. GARRETT KAMPS