If you want evidence that the US television might've seen its best years slipping away, be aware that the current best night of primetime commercial broadcast television, the current (for the next two weeks or so) Wednesday nights, are great because of three essentially cancelled series playing out their strings, and one newcomer which isn't too discouraging.
ABC 8-8:30 PM Scrubs
8:30-9 PM Better Off Ted (now filling in for a second Scrubs)
NBC 9-10 PM Life
ABC 10-11 PM Life on Mars
Scrubs might not be working Too hard, as they take the victory lap of their eighth season and first on ABC, but it's better than it's been for a while. Better Off Ted probably won't last the summer, but it's not without a certain charm and wit (but will annoy many with its arch "zaniness."). Life is simply the best series on broadcast now, at least, an intelligently acted and written series that pulls all of its threads just so. Life on Mars improves on what (admittedly little) I've seen of its UK parent, and just when one thinks it's too heavy-handed, dances right past one with a deft twist or so.
And they'll all be over in weeks or perhaps a month or so.
At least the last really good night (Babylon-5, The X-Files, Homicide: Life on the Street...it was all the punctuation that made them) lasted a full season, in DC in '95-'96.