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M. Leary

TV is Better than Film

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I made this comment a few years back on this board, and Stef heartily disagreed. He even laughed in my face. But, I will have you know, The Guardian officially agrees. It is well worth at least skimming this article which argues that the creativity and production values of TV have surpassed that of the American film industry such that it is attracting what used to be Hollywood's most valuable talent.

There is a brief list at the bottom of some of the aforementioned talent:

Leading the exodus...

Jeff Goldblum is in talks to star in crime drama Seeing Red, as a detective who can speak to the dead.

Paul Haggis, writer-director of this year's Oscar winner, Crash, directs his own script for the pilot of the New York Irish gangster thriller The Black Donnellys.

Bruce Beresford is directing the pilot for CBS-TV's Orpheus, to be co-produced by Tony and Ridley Scott, about a man drawn into a sinister religious cult.

Barry Sonnenfeld, director of Men In Black, has an untitled buddy-cop pilot in the works, and F Gary Gray (of The Italian Job) helms ABC's FBI drama Enemies. Even an old hand like William Friedkin, who got his start as a director in TV's first 'golden age' before directing The French Connection and The Exorcist (and cannily marrying the CEO of Paramount), will return to TV to direct Anything But Murder, based on the life of a fugitive Boston crime boss.

Steven Spielberg, master of the studio picture, teams up again with the cable-based Sci-Fi Channel for the 12-part miniseries Nine Lives.

Jerry Bruckheimer, a byword for success (and excess) in big-budget movies of the Top Gun variety, will continue his invasion of the small screen (CSI, Without A Trace, Cold Case) with American Crime about an LA law firm.

Shark, another crime drama, directed by Spike Lee, has a cast that includes Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen and Jonny Lee Miller, as well as James Woods as a celebrity attorney turned prosecutor.

George Clooney , bona fide movie star deluxe and about as thoroughgoing a child of television as you could find (most notably in ER), will return to TV to direct a live-in-the-studio version of the greatest movie ever made about broadcasting, Network.

Aaron Sorkin wrote A Few Good Men before moving to TV and creating the highly influential if little-seen comedy Sports Night. He went on to build The West Wing, that parallel universe for people who wish Bill Clinton was still in the Oval Office.

JJ Abrams, a movie writer and director of Mission: Impossible III, created Felicity, Alias and, most recently, the huge hit Lost.

I have never thought of a few of these as "talent" ([ahem]JJ Abrams[/ahem]), but there is a lot of quality there to support this article's argument.

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I've been hearing comments like this for years, but usually about cable. Consider:

Sleeper Cell, The L Word, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Carnival, just to name some of the bigger budgets. I confess that I wince everytime I see Bruckheimer's trailer at the end of the shows of his that I watch, but I watch them and I like them.

Hollywood NEVER gets politics and and political sausage making right. But boy did West Wing get the geek and wonk thing right like I've never seen anywhere. The show was clearly about the dark side IMO, but I was along every step of the way and into the "game" of it.

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Some TV is better than some film. Some film is better than some TV. Obviously.

The article posted seems to be making a ridiculous argument however, if it's intent is truly to say that TV is better than Film.

The entire argument (at least from what is posted) is based on the anecdotal evidence that so many "film people" are now (also) doing TV. What is effectively being "proven" here though, is that even the author of the article considers film to be a higher medium than tv - otherwise why would it be a good thing for tv that makers of film are moving into tv? The reason that list is impressive is specifically because they all come from film!

By the way, since this is completely anecdotal, you should take into account that there are still *many* more people in tv who would like to move into film than vice-versa. We just don't care as often when this happens because the people moving from tv to film where *only in tv* - which is still considered not as impressive. The primary reasons (though certainly not the only one) that "film people" do tv are the quicker schedule and easier money. I say this as a filmmaker living in los angeles among people who clearly view film as still "the gold standard."

The primary example from the list that can be considered evidence to the contrary is the one you seem to have the least enthusiasm for (JJ).

However, though I consider this type of evidence to be at least irrelevant, and probably even contradictory to the argument that tv is better than film, I do agree from personal opinion that tv has gotten much better in the last few years - though almost exclusively on the dramatic side (24, Lost, Sopranos, etc.). TV comedy is still - on the whole - awful.

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Popechild wrote: The entire argument (at least from what is posted) is based on the anecdotal evidence that so many "film people" are now (also) doing TV. What is effectively being "proven" here though, is that even the author of the article considers film to be a higher medium than tv - otherwise why would it be a good thing for tv that makers of film are moving into tv? The reason that list is impressive is specifically because they all come from film!

By the way, since this is completely anecdotal, you should take into account that there are still *many* more people in tv who would like to move into film than vice-versa. We just don't care as often when this happens because the people moving from tv to film where *only in tv* - which is still considered not as impressive. The primary reasons (though certainly not the only one) that "film people" do tv are the quicker schedule and easier money. I say this as a filmmaker living in los angeles among people who clearly view film as still "the gold standard."

Of course, they view it as the gold standard, they live in a company town -- but is this attitude really delusional...?

Reality check: TV and Film and Publishing are all faces of the same corporate entity. The Guardian piece is basically a snob's argument.

The one thing that seems indisputable from the article -- its' one sensible point -- is that TV is more responsive to NICHES in pop culture, and since the fictional "mass audience" that Filmies have been chasing for the last 40 years, has in fact FRAGMENTED into hundreds of choices spread over several media, so that TV, by not trying to please a non-existent audience, has a better chance of producing something interesting. The other truth is that Film has pretty much abandoned capital D drama (i.e. interesting characters, in interesting, carefully crafted plots, in credible situations) for adults, and that this audience has shifted over the past 50 years to television and home viewing.

Right now we have an overwhelming choice of types of films (in order of relative frequency) at the multiplex:

1. Moronic Comedies starring Rob Schneider

2. Tentpole or Event Pictures like The Davinci Code, i.e. the Cinerama Epic of the 60's.

3. Animation

4. "Action" or Special Effects driven Films.

5. "Family Oriented" Comedies.

6. Movies based on Comic Books.

7. Pointless Remakes of existing movies or TV shows.

8. Pretentious Bestsellers adapted badly.

9. Prestige Pictures, usually made independently and picked up for peanuts for distribution.

The brutal reality of the "Film" business is that 80 percent of studio profit comes from things other than ticket sales. With gas prices eternally rising, pretty soon they are going to have to start paying people to get them into theatres.

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Of course, they view it as the gold standard, they live in a company town -- but is this attitude really delusional...?

Well, it's a company town for film and tv, so I'm not why that would necessarily lend itself toward people seeing film as a higher standard than tv.

The one thing that seems indisputable from the article -- its' one sensible point -- is that TV is more responsive to NICHES in pop culture, and since the fictional "mass audience" that Filmies have been chasing for the last 40 years, has in fact FRAGMENTED into hundreds of choices spread over several media, so that TV, by not trying to please a non-existent audience, has a better chance of producing something interesting.

There's MORE tv than film, (and it's WAY cheaper - especially in the niches) so in that sense it can certainly go after niches more extensively than film can with its higher costs that require more audience to turn profit. That doesn't mean that isn't alot of niche film as well though, just not generally spread over 2000+ screens in a wide release. On the other hand, none of this gives any evidence to support tv being BETTER - just more diverse.

The other truth is that Film has pretty much abandoned capital D drama (i.e. interesting characters, in interesting, carefully crafted plots, in credible situations) for adults, and that this audience has shifted over the past 50 years to television and home viewing.

You're kidding right? Yes, I agree that the huge budgets and corresponding need to market to teens has decreased the amount of "high drama" in major studio films - to its detriment. But you don't really think that stuff IS found on tv do you?? Please - even the most "dramatic" shows on tv (sopranos? lost? I don't know - you tell me) are the types of content that are still easily found in films. Not to mention that there's way more crap on tv overall than in films (due to the same low cost of entry that allows for niche programming).

Right now we have an overwhelming choice of types of films (in order of relative frequency) at the multiplex:

1. Moronic Comedies starring Rob Schneider

2. Tentpole or Event Pictures like The Davinci Code, i.e. the Cinerama Epic of the 60's.

3. Animation

4. "Action" or Special Effects driven Films.

5. "Family Oriented" Comedies.

6. Movies based on Comic Books.

7. Pointless Remakes of existing movies or TV shows.

8. Pretentious Bestsellers adapted badly.

9. Prestige Pictures, usually made independently and picked up for peanuts for distribution.

If you look at just what's in theaters right now (going from rotten tomatoes's "current" list), you can find:

- Akeelah and the Bee

- Cache

- Friends with Money

- Inside Man

- The New World

- The Proposition

- Thank You For Smoking

- United 93

You may take exception with some of my choices if you'd like, but overall that's a pretty broad variety of high quality films released in what amounts to less than a full tv season. I challenge you to find a similar list of equally high quality tv programs (especially one that's as broad).

The brutal reality of the "Film" business is that 80 percent of studio profit comes from things other than ticket sales. With gas prices eternally rising, pretty soon they are going to have to start paying people to get them into theatres.

Good. Because then I'll have money to pay for all the tv programs they're starting to charge for in return!

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The entire argument (at least from what is posted) is based on the anecdotal evidence that so many "film people" are now (also) doing TV. What is effectively being "proven" here though, is that even the author of the article considers film to be a higher medium than tv - otherwise why would it be a good thing for tv that makers of film are moving into tv? The reason that list is impressive is specifically because they all come from film!

I don't think that is the case at all. The argument can also be structured this way: Look at something like The Shield. This show features innovative direction, incredible writing and pacing, rich character detail, and a broad Shakespearean scope that belies its roots as a cop drama. This is a far cry from The Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, and even The Streets of San Francisco. This show just popped up on TV and completely shattered the "television cop" genre. There weren't really any "film" people involved with this at all for the first three seasons. It was just darn good filmmaking.

This is exactly the same argument people made for both Little House on the Prairie and The Streets of San Francisco back in the day, both shows that altered the course of television production. We could say the same about Twin Peaks, West Wing, or any other show mentioned "anecdotally" by the article. The fact is that the current success of shows like Lost is based on the budgets that have been thrown at them because of the success of previous shows working to make TV a more interesting place.

Admit it Stef!

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Well, it's a company town for film and tv, so I'm not why that would necessarily lend itself toward people seeing film as a higher standard than tv.
What I meant is that because it's a company town, everyone is infected with the glamorous ideology of "hollywood", as if it was still the 40's. And while that mythical Hollywood still remains globally hegemonic, it looks increasingly irrelevant where other media are the norm. Film no longer drives the culture in the way it once did. As McLuhan said, obsolete media are the content of new media.

There's MORE tv than film, (and it's WAY cheaper - especially in the niches)

Well this used to be the case in the archie bunker days, but no longer I think. Television, in order to more perfectly flatter its' audience is spending more and more money (i.e. the glamour factor) per episode. And if you factor in the entire cost of a run you'll find budgets that are even larger than a blockbuster. What has changed the dynamic of TV is that you can immediately offset these costs, as the article says with DVD sales.

You're kidding right? Yes, I agree that the huge budgets and corresponding need to market to teens has decreased the amount of "high drama" in major studio films - to its detriment. But you don't really think that stuff IS found on tv do you?? Please - even the most "dramatic" shows on tv (sopranos? lost? I don't know - you tell me) are the types of content that are still easily found in films. Not to mention that there's way more crap on tv overall than in films (due to the same low cost of entry that allows for niche programming).

Look, you may not agree that its great drama, but the same audience demographic who were watching Douglas Sirk melodramas in the 50's are now watching Soaps, Telenovelas and "Reality" Dramas. And snobs called Ross Hunter's (Sirk's producer) movies trashy and denigrated them in the same way you're doing now. And I don't think that Hollywood really remembers how to "do" drama anymore, they are too dependent on effects and flash and the captive audience principle. On television, a character (thus an actor) still has to hold your interest or you will change the channel. So TV people work harder to keep your attention. You may object to the episodic/cliffhanger nature of TV drama, but if they weren't doing what they do well, people wouldn't be watching.

If you look at just what's in theaters right now (going from rotten tomatoes's "current" list), you can find:

- Akeelah and the Bee

- Cache

- Friends with Money

- Inside Man

- The New World

- The Proposition

- Thank You For Smoking

- United 93

I don't take exception to this list at all. You're just naming films from my number nine "Prestige" category. Now, as a thought exercise, I want you to add up the grosses of all these films and divide them into the total grosses for the year. Or last year. Why should studios break their backs making challenging programming specifically for American adults when they know they can still make gazillions in Indonesia or France with the tried and true blockbuster? The model just doesn't make sense. These films are just the psychological window dressing that allows "people in the business" to believe that they aren't morally equivalent to DDT salesmen. In 1939, you would have found great films in every studio category. The idea of a prestige category would have been ludicrous.

Edited by goneganesh

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TV has (inter) commercials; that's an adequate total proof in my book

In the day of TV series on DVD, this argument doesn't hold much water any more. One can get a sense of the remarkable achievement of a TV show with a coherent seasonal through-story such as 24 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Joan of Arcadia by watching it on DVD, without commercials and without having to wait a week or more between episodes.

But even if TV does have (inter) commercials, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't necessarily make it inferior--though it certainly CAN. One watches live TV differently, however, because of the commercials.

Product placement is becoming much more common and increasingly blatant on TV shows and movies; I'd rather have commercials that can be muted or eliminated from the DVD versions.

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One of the things that I like about the medium of TV, as opposed to the medium of film, is that it is possible to tell a much longer story. You can have mutiple chapters that stretch out over many, many hours. (A full season is something like 22 episode - so that's around 15 hours for an hour long show or 7 1/2 hours for a 30 minutes show) Like a novel, a TV show has the time to show much more character development. Think of the difference in watching Firefly versus Serenity.

I think the best TV show are right up there in quality with the best films. I'd say that shows like Homicide, early The West Wing, Sports Night, early to mid The X-Files, The Sopranos, etc. compare favorably to films of a similar genre. I certainly don't want to say one medium is better than the other, just different. BTW, we have had a similar conversation before.

And Alan, think of the commercials on TV as an obstruction for the director and something TIVO lets us ignore.

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The reason that list is impressive is specifically because they all come from film!

I don't think that is the case at all. The argument can also be structured this way: Look at

something like The Shield. This show features innovative direction, incredible writing

and pacing, rich character detail, and a broad Shakespearean scope that belies its roots as a

cop drama. This is a far cry from The Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, and even

The Streets of San Francisco. This show just popped up on TV and completely shattered

the "television cop" genre. There weren't really any "film" people involved with this at all

for the first three seasons. It was just darn good filmmaking.

I completely agree with you here. My point was that the article specifically linked IS

clearly making the argument based on the fact that most of these people came from film.

That's why even "The West Wing" which you mentioned below, seems to be included based on the

fact that Aaron Sorkin was in film before tv - and why they don't mention shows like the

shield.

This is exactly the same argument people made for both Little House on the Prairie and

The Streets of San Francisco back in the day, both shows that altered the course of

television production. We could say the same about Twin Peaks, West Wing, or

any other show mentioned "anecdotally" by the article. The fact is that the current success

of shows like Lost is based on the budgets that have been thrown at them because of

the success of previous shows working to make TV a more interesting place.

I tried to make it clear that I certainly do think there is good tv - and it's gotten much

better in the last 5 years or so in my opinion. (Again, this is not nearly as much the case

with comedy.)

Well, it's a company town for film and tv, so I'm not why that would necessarily lend

itself toward people seeing film as a higher standard than tv.

What I meant is that

because it's a company town, everyone is infected with the glamorous ideology of "hollywood",

as if it was still the 40's.

Okay, I understand what you're saying now. I think there's truth to that.

And while that mythical Hollywood still remains globally hegemonic, it looks increasingly

irrelevant where other media are the norm. Film no longer drives the culture in the way it

once did. As McLuhan said, obsolete media are the content of new media.

I don't agree as much with that. But even if it was true, it wouldn't mean that tv was

"better" - just more influential.

There's MORE tv than film, (and it's WAY cheaper - especially in the niches)

Well this used to be the case in the archie bunker days, but no longer I think. Television,

in order to more perfectly flatter its' audience is spending more and more money (i.e. the

glamour factor) per episode.

SOME tv. And some tv spends WAY less.

And if you factor in the entire cost of a run you'll find budgets that are even larger than a

blockbuster.

Well, if you're comparing a multiple season run to a single release film, it's not really an

equal comparison. But again, I don't see where this has anything to do with whether tv is

better than film or not.

...I don't think that Hollywood really

remembers how to "do" drama anymore, they are too dependent on effects and flash and the

captive audience principle.

I think that's a broad over-simplification. Like saying that tv is too dependent on reality just because of shows like Survivor, American Idol, etc.

So TV people work harder to keep your attention. You

may object to the episodic/cliffhanger nature of TV drama, but if they weren't doing what

they do well, people wouldn't be watching.

I'm convinced people will watch any crap as long as it's on tv. Otherwise, why can't I change the channel without stumbling onto an episode of Blind Date?

I don't take exception to this list at all. You're just naming films from my number nine

"Prestige" category.

No, you're apparently just categorizing every film that's a good film a "prestige" film. I agree with Cache and The New World, but Akeelah's a light family drama, Inside Man's a heist film, TYFS is a dry comedy, etc. All in all, a fairly broad cross-section of films in different genres, with different audiences, almost none of whom are likely to be "oscar" films - and all coming out of what is considered the "dead season" for hollywood films - spring.

Edited by popechild

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I don't agree as much with that. But even if it was true, it wouldn't mean that tv was

"better" - just more influential.

if you look closely at my posts, I'm not saying TV is 'better'; I'm actually just saying that it's more effective at delivering what it purports to deliver.

Well, if you're comparing a multiple season run to a single release film, it's not really an

equal comparison. But again, I don't see where this has anything to do with whether tv is

better than film or not.

My point here is that, in the consumerist ideology, what we laughingly refer to euphemistically as "production values" function as a kind of meta-narrative. The more a producer spends to flatter his audience, the more the audience is compelled to respond to that flattery. TV has always had a "cheapness" problem that allowed Film to out-glamorize (i.e. outspend it) -- but no longer. Today, Studios are trying desperately to rein in their bloated budgets for their tentpole pictures, while TV is able to cannily mix both very cheap and expensive programming depending on what demographic class they are targeting.

I think that's a broad over-simplification. Like saying that tv is too dependent on reality just because of shows like Survivor, American Idol, etc.

Film sees itself, rightly or wrongly, in the spectacle business, and drama is irrelevant to what they do.

No, you're apparently just categorizing every film that's a good film a "prestige" film. I agree with Cache and The New World, but Akeelah's a light family drama, Inside Man's a heist film, TYFS is a dry comedy, etc. All in all, a fairly broad cross-section of films in different genres, with different audiences, almost none of whom are likely to be "oscar" films - and all coming out of what is considered the "dead season" for hollywood films - spring.

Sorry, but Akeelah is a light family drama that is made by INDIE PRODUCERS working with the only indie studio, lionsgate. Thank You For Smoking is another indie production (Ed Pressman's company) These are two movies that would never have been "greenlit" by the studios.

Inside Man is a prestige picture for two reasons -- it stars prestige signifier "oscar winner Denzel Washington" and it's directed by Spike Lee and not McG or Brett Ratner. Forty years ago, Inside Man would have been a standard studio movie. Today it stands out like a sore thumb.

Edited by goneganesh

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I don't agree as much with that. But even if it was true, it wouldn't mean that tv was

"better" - just more influential.

if you look closely at my posts, I'm not saying TV is 'better'; I'm actually just saying that it's more effective at delivering what it purports to deliver.

You certainly implied it. But if you're not, then we seem to be in different conversations. I'm commenting on the "tv is better than film" subject of the thread. I could make the same argument that you're making with regards to youtube being more effective at delivering 60 seconds videos of cats spinning around in toilets, but it's not necessarily helpful in a comparative sense.

Today, Studios are trying desperately to rein in their bloated budgets for their tentpole pictures, while TV is able to cannily mix both very cheap and expensive programming depending on what demographic class they are targeting.
Film sees itself, rightly or wrongly, in the spectacle business, and drama is irrelevant to what they do.

Sorry, but Akeelah is a light family drama that is made by INDIE PRODUCERS working with the only indie studio, lionsgate. Thank You For Smoking is another indie production (Ed Pressman's company) These are two movies that would never have been "greenlit" by the studios.

I think I get it now. You're basically arguing that big studios aren't making the "good" movies anymore. That'd be an interesting discussion for another thread in my opinion (or a "tv is better than studio films" thread), but it seems totally unrelated to any "quality" comparison between tv and film in general. I don't particularly care whether a great movie comes from a studio or an indie, as long as it gets made. And the fact is, there are still plenty of very good films getting made out there, in which drama is very relevant to what they do. And - in my opinion - still better than what you find in tv.

Inside Man is a prestige picture for two reasons -- it stars prestige signifier "oscar winner Denzel Washington" and it's directed by Spike Lee and not McG or Brett Ratner. Forty years ago, Inside Man would have been a standard studio movie. Today it stands out like a sore thumb.

You're still just making up these categories based on your individual whims. Or do you think that R.V. is a prestige picture because it stars Oscar winner Robin Williams? Was Son of Sam a prestige picture because it was directed by Spike Lee? You can't just take every film that turns out to be good and label it prestige because it's good.

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But even if TV does have (inter) commercials, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't necessarily make it inferior--though it certainly CAN. One watches live TV differently, however, because of the commercials.

That is a fair point. Our viewer expectations for television have to be taken into account, as they are considerably different from film. (And what about commercials that are really good? We often enjoy the commercials here in the UK more than whatever we are watching! It is like having a short film contest going on in the middle of a normal film.) It is stunning to see how different TV watching has become with the advent of DVD. I often watch something on TV thinking to myself: this is just a preview, I will really see it when I get the DVDs.

I completely agree with you here. My point was that the article specifically linked IS

clearly making the argument based on the fact that most of these people came from film.

That's why even "The West Wing" which you mentioned below, seems to be included based on the

fact that Aaron Sorkin was in film before tv - and why they don't mention shows like the

shield.

The writer does start the article by mentioning "The Sopranos, Deadwood, Law & Order and its many spin-offs, Lost, 24, Six Feet Under, The Shield and Nip/Tuck." Most of these shows feature small-screen actors, and occasionally have drawn large-screen talent on board in subsequent seasons. I think the interesting phenomenon this writer is working with is that you have a set of shows that set a new benchmark, which has provided enough cache for TV for people like James Woods to attach themselves to TV shows like "Shark."

I was a bit startled to see this list working for HBO: Mike Nichols, Peter Bogdanovich, Lee Tamahori and Mike Figgis

But I can imagine why they would sign on, as they would get a nice budget to basically do whatever they want.

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An article in Newsweek and a BlogCritics column both contend that 21st c. TV can be (not necessarily IS) better than film. The Newsweek author says the "moment" he realized TV could do some things better than movies was

every single episode of "The Wire," the astounding HBO series that's been labeled a crime drama but is actually a sprawling, visual novel about the decline and fall of an American city. "Our model when we started doing 'The Wire' wasn't other television shows," says David Simon, the Baltimore Sun crime reporter turned TV scribe who co-created the series. "The standard we were looking at was Balzac's Paris, or Dickens's London, or Tolstoy's Moscow. In TV, you can actually say that out loud, and then go do it."
BlogCritic "Patrick" traces the development of this type of in-depth, character-based, risk-taking, long-arc show, mentions many of the series previously referred to in this thread. Comparing and contrasting TV and films, he says, among other things:
The way I see it now, TV has raised the bar for film to a different level. . . . The films I'm most interested in seeing now are the ones that do what TV cannot, namely focus on style and composition in a way the TV schedule doesn't allow for. For all its merits, TV still suffers from the fact that it must be filmed so quickly. Even the best directors can't make every shot great when you're shooting an episode in eight days.

What films can do is make those perfectly constructed worlds. Wong Kar-Wai is a perfect example of this, a guy who creates films where each image is a beautiful work of art unto itself, films that are more an atmosphere, a feeling than a story. I want films that you get lost in.

Edited by BethR

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Admit it Stef!

Funny this topic came back up.

Yes, funny this topic came back up. A year after the topic was created and months after (m) has gone AWOL, I ran across it looking for a thread on Medium.

I rarely waltz into the TV section of this board and I'm sorry I'm not able to more often. It's just that, for many years, the only TV I watched was The Cubs and The Bears and Survivor. And maybe an occasional Letterman or Conan, but that's about it.

But ever since the move, for three months now, I've been watching a little TV here and there. And I admit it -- it's better than I thought. I've been quite taken with Medium and a few of the CSIs. And I've actually gone back and rented several DVDs of The Office, which had one clear case in which I fell on my side, I was laughing so hard! (It's when Michael was challenged on his mention of leaving behind the "That's What She Said" jokes. Oh my word, I was rolling.)

So there you have it. I have watched TV. It's nowhere near as powerful as a powerful film can be, but you can get up and make ice cream during commercials, so I guess that makes up for its weaknesses.

-s.

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It's nowhere near as powerful as a powerful film can be, but you can get up and make ice cream during commercials, so I guess that makes up for its weaknesses.

Make ice cream? Just how long are commercial breaks nowadays? (The only TV I watch is "Galactica.")

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Make

OK, spoon, funny guy.

(The only TV I watch is "Galactica.")

I have a therapist I can recommend.

cylon-797954.jpg

-s.

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Finally come across this thread (I come across old ones like this when I can't settle to write whatever article I'm meant to be working on!) and it reminded me of a book from 2005 by Steven Johnson called Everything Bad is Good for You.

Johnson looks at films, PlayStation games and television and says that they are getting more complex and better for our brains, not less. He argues that today

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This discussion also reminds me of the wonderful writer-director Stephen Poliakoff. Here's the beginning of an article I wrote after his pair of films Friends and Crocodiles and Gideon's Daughter were broadcast last year:

Stephen Poliakoff is one of Britain

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OK, spoon, funny guy.

I love ice cream.

Someone in this thread made a comment about commercials being an obstruction for directors. Yes in a way - but they also know that the programmes they make are the fillers between commercials. It's the commercials which primarily pay for the airtime - TV programming is the bait to attract commercials. Is that too cynical a view?

Yeah, maybe. It's true that commercials pay for airtime, at least for now -- though between DVD sales potential and TiVo and the like I think commercials will continue to be a smaller part of the equation. But even prescinding from that, commercials support programming, but they are not its raison d'etre. From the POV of the writers/directors/actors/etc. as well as the audience, programming doesn't exist to support commercials, commercials exist to support programming.

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Tony Watkins wrote:

: Someone in this thread made a comment about commercials being an obstruction

: for directors. Yes in a way - but they also know that the programmes they make

: are the fillers between commercials. It's the commercials which primarily pay for

: the airtime - TV programming is the bait to attract commercials. Is that too

: cynical a view?

Nope, that's how it works in journalism, too. The stories you publish are just the filler around the ads.

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