I don’t know when it happened. It wasn’t recently. Maybe 5 years ago; maybe more. I can’t really put a time on it, and yet I know it happened. I’m only coming to the realization of it now.
The realization? I love TV shows more than movies. Wow, that feels good to get out there. It’s been eating at me because in the past I have loved movies so much. I love the movie trailers. I get giddy inside when the room goes dark and the studio logos dance onto the screen. In my head I play a little game I call “Name the studio” where I see how soon I can guess the company from the animation. Panning across water… Spyglass Entertainment! If there’s a water and a lighthouse in the distance… Castlerock Entertainment! If a lure drops into the water instead… Dreamworks! After that comes the opening movie credits which, I might add, are some people’s ONLY contribution to the movie. The movie nerd in me feels compelled to tell you that. There are people out there who all they do is opening and closing movie credits. If you ever go to a movie with me, prepare to sit all the way through the end credits. I feel I have to respect the work that the credit writers do! Not to mention the times when there are extra goodies at the end for the true die-hards.
All of this; the trailers, the credits, the beautiful 2 hour story arc, has suddenly taken a back seat in favour of the small screen. The realization of this was sudden, but I don’t think the actual transition was quick at all. There were many factors that contributed to this.
One of the things that I love seeing on either the big or small screen is how a story develops. Among my favourite types of movies are the ones that follow one character as he struggles to find out who he is and what his place is. The Bourne Series, Spiderman, Spy Game, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, are all examples of this. The problem is, in any movie, you have 2-3 hours to tell the whole story, intro to ending. If there are sequels than maybe 5-6 hours. Compare that with a TV show where there could be 15-20 hours worth of story telling; and that’s per season. With all that time, you can really get engaged in the story that has time to develop. It doesn’t need to suffer from the sit-com “everything solved in 22 minutes” problem.
Of course, this would be a moot point if it weren’t for the second reason I love TV shows: So many TV shows out there are so damn good! Everything from acting talent, to special effects, to overall production value has taken a giant leap forward. Now, more than anytime in TV history, there are so many good options of shows to watch, covering pretty much any genre you can think of. If I think to my own viewing history, the shows that I am and have been hooked on, the list includes Fringe, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica, Sherlock, Homeland… and others.
Netflix has played a big role in this as well. It’s much easier to consume these shows when you don’t need to wait a week for the next episode. You don’t even need to press a button, Netflix waits 20 seconds and then serves up the next episode with you even having to divert your hand from it’s journey from the popcorn bowl to your mouth. If you want to, you can blast through entire seasons of a show in one long Saturday. Or you can hold out a bit longer and, and allow time in between episodes to mull over what happened. I find depending on the show, I watch differently. I can watch 10 episodes of Doctor Who, but I limit myself to 1 or 2 Breaking Bad episodes, due the heavy nature of the content.
Now that it’s out there, I’m interested in what you think. Do you still like movies better? Do you find yourself watching TV shows a lot more? Which ones?