These days one of the first things people might ask you during a typical conversation is, “So what are you watching these days?” Whereas before it might have been, “I can’t wait for -insert date here- to see –insert film here-.” So, why the change in trends?
For a long time now, the only place to get any kind of television content that could rival the big screen, was on paid for cable channels like HBO and Showtime. Slowly however, over time, the gulf in class and production value between these two mediums has narrowed greatly. With the emergence of what I like to call “in between” channels, like FX and AMC, modern television viewers are not able to access a much grater variety and quality of programming on the small screen. Also, many of the network channels like NBC and ABC have seen a need to increase the quality of their programming to match these other channels. Then even more recently, came the newest market of great programming from streaming services like Netflix, allowing for entire seasons of a series to be released at one time.
Cinema for the most part these days is a sequels game, and while it is indeed sequels that make the most money in Hollywood, it also does little to reinvigorate the market. These same sequels are being seen by the same people, good for their business maybe, but not for the product on a whole. The fact that sequels make so much money, means that production houses will be less likely to sign onto new titles and independents. In my opinion there still is no better film experience than the cinema. The overwhelming sights and sounds of a good theatre for me is hard to beat.
Actors and directors too are also starting to cross mediums more and more now, with increased success and critical acclaim (case in point Matthew McConaughey). The more success these typically film actors see in being apart of the small screen, and also the more some of these typically only television actors see on the big screen, will only serve as more fuel to that fire. A television show affords an actor much more time to win over fans and the audience. Instead of having to develop a character in 2 hours, they can now do it 20. Even the simply visual look of these series is becoming more and more cinematic with the ever increases talent and budgets for t.v. shows. Shows like Game of Thrones show us just how well a big budgeted series can do, with smaller budgeted shows like Hannibal also showing us just how much we can and we really should be getting out of the investment of time that is following a t.v. series.
Actors like Bryan Cranston show that the small screen doesn’t have to mean small characters. Many people have deep emotional connections to their favourite movies and by extension favourite movie characters, but gone are the days when television show characters could be interchangeable or seen as throw-away characters. The time spend following a series now adds just that much devotion and connection from audiences. Something that many films now are struggling to achieve.
So as the line between the two ever thins, where do you stand? Are you still a diehard cinema fanatic like me (that’s not to say I don’t also watch an insane amount of t.v.), or are you of the new breed. Completely content with streaming all your content to wherever your heart desires, while also saving that cinema money (but missing the popcorn), by waiting till the on-demand release of your most anticipated new shows.