At least, for the time being.
It is unlikely that it has gone completely unnoticed how much amazing television has been cropping up within the last ten years. I mean, there's always been good TV, don't get me wrong, but it seems that with increasing budgets for TV - especially HBO productions - TV has only been getting better and better.
There was a time not too long ago that being called a "television actor" was a derogatory term amongst actors. Everyone wanted to make it big on the Silver Screen, be a movie star, beloved the world over on that giant screen with those plush seats. Sure, there was a time when being a film star was disregarded by theatre actors, but that changed. And so, too, I think the time of the Television Actor as a second class citizen.
Shows like Six Feet Under seemed to mark a new trend that being in a television series was not a bad thing at all, compared to their film star counterparts. This time saw the rise of a shows that seemed more like a collection of films, a series of moments that could be more deeply explored due to their increased time frame. The medium allowed for more character development, longer and deeper plot lines and more exploration of the world these characters exist in.
It isn't hard for me to name, off the top of my head, shows that fall into this category of A Series of Films, shows like Dexter, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Castle, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, shows that you feel you must own on DVD to watch and rewatch. These shows become an obsession, something to be spoken about, speculated about. And that's not even mentioning series that have finished like Lost and Detroit 1-8-7. And, yes, Firefly, of course.
Even shows that are just starting like Boss, Luck, Homeland and, in a more pulpy sense, Spartacus and American Horror Story are taking over the airwaves and capturing us with film-like episodes.
This doesn't even speak to the quality of actor who are now taking part in these. It seemed to start in the late 90s with first Michael J. Fox and then Charlie Sheen being the leads in Spin City but then big actors becoming "TV actors" was still a fall from grace in a sense. What I truly believe was the turning point was twofold: Tim Roth on Lie to Me and shortly after Jeff Goldblum on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. With these two big-name actors moving to television, it was clear that was a revolution. And people noticed. Even Laurence Fishburne joined the cast of CSI.
Then it started becoming obvious the talent that lay in these television actors - Michael C. Hall (from both Six Feet Under and Dexter), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Nathan Fillion (Castle) and that's only naming a few.
I haven't even mentioned the household names like Steve Buschemi in Boardwalk Empire, Kelsey Grammar in Boss, Sean Bean in Game of Thrones and John Hannah in Spartacus.
It seems like the prejudice towards being a television actor is over and people are starting to realize that it's not a fate worse than dearth. In fact, it seems to be better than being a film actor seeing as how poor the quality of films have been lately. This truly is the Golden Age of Television.