The Golden Years Of Film & Television Aren't Ruined — They're Just Getting Started
It's 2017, and something is happening in Hollywood that has never happened before: many powerful men are losing their jobs due to serious allegations of sexual harassment. After Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates, accused stars like Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis C.K., Danny Masterson, and countless others have been written out of movies and television shows, changing the Hollywood landscape immeasurably in just a few short months. Some critics have been quick to declare the downfall of these Hollywood titans the end of the golden years of film and television. But that's not true at all — the golden years of film and television aren't ruined. In fact, they're just getting better.
Just take the future of House of Cards. When production was suddenly halted after allegations of sexual misconduct and assault were levied against Spacey, the future of the award-winning Netflix series was briefly in question. But it's now known that the show will continue for one final season, with Robin Wright taking up the lead, and, it could just be the best season of all. After all, Spacey was just one piece of the puzzle that made House of Cards the acclaimed drama it is. The writers, crew members, and supporting players are all returning for the show's final season, which suggests that the quality of the series will be as good as it ever was, and with Wright's beloved Claire as the protagonist, there's even more to look forward to.
Sure, it might be hard for some audiences to watch past seasons, and in the words of Saturday Night Live's "Welcome to Hell," "that really sucks." And the same goes for shows like Louie, which might feel to many like a totally different show in the wake of writer and star Louis C.K.'s admissions of masturbating in front of women without consent. There's no question that some series might now feel tainted in the wake of assault and harassment allegations. But even if our enjoyment of these shows is ruined forever, it still wouldn't mean the end of the golden age of television.
For one thing, white men — the majority of the Hollywood players currently being taken down by allegations of sexual misconduct, from Pixar's John Lasseter to The Flash's Andrew Kreisberg — aren't the only creators of good content. There's a disproportionate amount of powerful men in Hollywood, and it's true that because of that, accused men had their hands in a lot of your favorite television shows or movies. But if Hollywood and pop culture has proven anything in 2017, it's that female directors, writers, actors, and producers are making some of the best work of the modern era.
Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird earned four Golden Globe nominations and held the title of the best reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes. In television, female-driven shows like Amy Sherman-Palladino's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and HBO's Big Little Lies are dominating social media and award shows. Perhaps most significantly, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman crashed box office records and became an instant superhero classic, re-defining a massive studio franchise. To say that the golden age of television and film is gone is to discount and dismiss these exceptional contributions made by women and starring women who have not been accused of any sort of impropriety.
The fall of powerful men cannot cause the end of good film and television. In fact, if anything, the exodus of sexual predators from Hollywood will only make room for more diverse creative voices, and likely better films and television shows. It's important to remember that men like Weinstein and Spacey had unimaginable power as both public figures and higher ups in their respective projects. Who knows how many young storytellers they discouraged or silenced with their alleged misconduct? Just look at what allegedly happened to Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd, actors who, it's claimed, were blacklisted by Weinstein, a man they've both accused of sexual misconduct, throughout their careers (Weinstein has denied the claims).
Hopefully, Hollywood will take this opportunity to replace the men lost to sexual harassment and misconduct with women and people of color ready to take on the work. Anyone who is not a white man has been vastly underrepresented in Hollywood since its creation, and it's far past time for that to change. Instead of mourning the shows or films we can no longer watch without thinking of the horrendous acts of the men behind them, we should look forward to all the new voices and perspectives to be welcomed in their stead. The real golden age of television and film will be defined by diversity, both behind and in front of the screen.