Has television finally rendered theatrical films obsolete?
I was discussing this topic with some friends of mine awhile ago. We're all sci-fi/fantasy buffs; however we're even bigger T.V. geeks. Between the 3 of us we probably watch 50-100 shows a year, and that's not even counting American Football, golf, and other sports.
It's my contention that we're living in a veritable Golden Age of television. When Fox came around, the Big Three networks, television critics, and so-called arbiters of good taste saw it as a flash-in-the pan that wouldn't last, since the original programming included "crude" shows like Married with Children and Cops. Today, Fox has some of the best shows on television.
Later, when cable channels proliferated with the speed and frequency of horny rabbits, we were once again told that quality television was dead. Rubbish. If anything, the explosion of niche channels like Sci-Fi, Spike, Oxygen, Logo, and even The Food Network, have fractured audiences such that a show like Battlestar Galactica needn’t have ten million eyeballs watching it to be safe from cancellation. Indeed, Spike TV recently posted their highest ratings ever with the premier of Blade: the Series, which scored a paltry-by-network standards 2.2 million viewers.
To circle back around to my original assumption, I believe that television has finally rendered theatrical film releases obsolete. Movie Industry types will of course poo-poo this notion, claiming that television shows don’t have enough money to spend on their shows, and thus cannot duplicate the effects and action of big-budget theatrical releases, to say nothing of hiring the best talent.
Again, I say rubbish. First of all, with technology becoming more and more democratized, it’s easier and easier to duplicate motion-picture effects on a television budget. Check out the season finale of Blade. It features a fight scene and effects that certainly rival those of most theatrical releases. Secondly, and more importantly, the lack of a budget oftentimes inspires more imaginative and clever storytelling. As I am sure you’re all aware, Rodenberry used the transporter and “beaming” in Star Trek simply because he could not afford to build replica models of shuttlecraft. So he created an iconic piece of storytelling that’s survived for 40 years.
With regard to not being able to hire talent comparable to that of theatrical films, I would beg to differ. I think it is much, much harder to make a character fully-realized and get people to emotionally invest themselves in a character week after week rather than for a 2.5 hour period. I think the best acting is being done on the small screen.
Thus, it is my assertion that television has made theatrical films obsolete. Honestly, think about it: How many films have you seen in the 9 months of 2006? How many were really and truly worth the money and the time investment? Now think about how many television shows you watch every week, religiously, without thought of ever missing an episode. I think you’ll find that if I’m not right, I’m close.
So, what do you think?
Last edited by Amanda; 09-20-2006 at 06:15 PM.
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