Friday, July 3, 2015

Some reasons why I like tv more than movies.

["Don't you ever, EVER talk that way about television again" - Homer Simpson (I married Marge, S3E12)]

So even though I do have a problem with most television shows, I still like watching tv much more than I like watching movies. Here are some of the reasons why - at least in my opinion - you should like television more than you should like movies:

1. Watching tv shows in most cases is free.

One of the biggest reasons why I like tv is because watching it is pretty much free. I don't have to buy a ticket before I get to watch the latest episode of South Park or the latest episode of Modern Family for example.

Now, It is true that in order to be able to watch these shows live, in most cases you have to watch commercials. Yet, at least in my opinion - and let's be clear that I'm not a fan of commercials - that's still a relatively small price to pay.

I mean, even though networks are for profit corporations, it almost feels as if they in many cases are working for us. Very rarely have I thought that these guys are thinking about the bottom line  (even though they are). They give us stuff for free after all!

2. Television is much more down to earth.

One of the reasons why television feels so cozy and comfortable is that every season your favorite series is going to air multiple episodes. You might even get 24 episodes per season, which means that you'll see a new episode roughly every two weeks.

On the other hand, when it comes to films, it takes usually at least 2-3 years before you'll see the next installment in the series. That is of course if the film in question is successful enough at the box office to warrant a sequel.

For me it's so much about connecting with the series in question. It becomes almost an every day thingy and part of the weekly routine. Checking the boards, writing about the show and stuff  - waiting for the next episode to air.

3. Television shows are more likely to be good.

It's not a secret that the longer than the script is, the harder it is to keep the audience interested. It's almost impossible to write a movie script that is even remotely good. Unfortunately, almost none of the movies that are released are worth your time.

The reason that it's so difficult to write movies is that in most cases you have to start from scratch. You have to create new characters and you have to come up with a 120 minute story that doesn't feel completely manufactured.

On the other hand, when it comes to television, you're dealing with either 21 min or 42 minute episodes that have characters that we are already familiar with. It makes the whole thing so much easier and potentially so much more enjoyable.

4. Television writers have more control over the product.

As a writer I'm much more interested in being a television writer because when it comes to tv, writers and showrunners have more power over the final product. In many cases they are artistically in charge of the product that is going to air.

Television is a great place for prolific writers like David Kelley and Aaron Sorkin who can churn out scripts every three days. If they know what they're doing, there's a good chance that the audience is going to enjoy the stuff that is going to air.

When it comes to movies, writers don't have that much control over the product. This is mostly because movie scripts are that difficult to write. If the first draft isn't great, there will be multiple rewrites by multiple writers and the movie will likely suck big time.

5. Best television shows win the awards that they deserve.

Finally, when it comes to television and Emmy awards, usually critics know which shows are going to win. As usual, Modern Family will likely receive the top prize and it's going to win it relatively deservedly. The right shows seem to win much more consistently.

On the other hand, when it comes to the Academy Awards, this isn't really the case. Nowadays anything can happen every year. Even jingoistic pro-war movies like The Hurt Lucker and Argo have managed to win the top prize.

As unfortunate as it is - with winners like these movies - Oscars are becoming more and more irrelevant every passing year. It's a shame and I don't see that things are going to get any better in the near future.

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