People enjoy watching trash as long as it can entertain them. There is something about shutting off your brain and just taking in whatever is presented. It can be relieving. It can be something to stave off the silence. But we all know what isn’t quality content and we don’t watch it with the same viewing eyes as we do something that is quality. But with cable shows coming in to greater prominence over the past decade and a half and a decline in truly outstanding films, it is uncertain where the majority of quality lies
Don’t take my statement about films the wrong way. There are still dozens of quality films produced each year. However, as time goes on production companies are financing them less and less. This isn’t because of the money that the film will cost. In many cases, the films that are recognized as the best are dramas that don’t cost as much as the large sweeping fantasies. The issue is that even if a quality film gets Oscar buzz that will only lift the sales but so much. Production companies are making money off their franchises. They would rather funnel a bit more money to a project that they can make merchandise for and expand a series than a serious film. (Note: I don’t agree with the notion that Oscar worthy films take themselves seriously, but that’s a whole different post).
We are in the midst of some sort of TV renaissance. It is as though the screenwriters have finally found out how to make something work on screen. Along with that, they’ve finally realized that the TV format allows them a greater freedom to make grittier characters and dig deeper into what makes them tick. The quality TV that has been emerging in recent years has taken TV to a different level. No longer are TV shows mere time wasters for the public or a place to go for laughs after a long day at work or school. TV now strives to make its audience think about what is going on, pay attention, and care about the characters deeply. Gone are the times where water cooler talk was solely about whatever happened on the reality TV show of the season. Only to be replaced by what crazy thing happened to meth extraordinaire Walter White.
Difference in Mediums
There is no denying the difference in the mediums when it comes to how they can convey a story. With films you are limited to an hour and a half to two and a half hours. Yes, I know there are films that fall outside of that range, but the majority of films do. Even being restricted to two and a half hours limits how much you can accomplish. Keep in mind a film needs to do everything a show does and then some. Characters still need to be introduced and motivations established. A main conflict needs a beginning, middle, and end. All the while, we need to be entertained by what is being shown to us. Films don’t have time for excess fat. Films don’t have time for a character moment if it isn’t also progressing something else in the film. At any given time a film has two be doing double and sometimes triple duty as it conveys information.
TV, on the other hand, can practically double that run time at minimum (with a 6 episode season). The longer run time allows for characters to be explored further. Various subplots that can impact a story to be properly added. The format gives the story space to breathe. Screenwriters are now realizing that this space to breathe shouldn’t just be given filler. Instead they are loading it with more information and more intrigue. Beloved adaptations are well suited for TV especially if they are longer intricate pieces.
What are some of the quality movies and TV you’ve been watching as of late?