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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Q. Which do you think is better, Friday Night Lights the movie, or the TV show?
Or the book?

Well, which would you rather have? A relationship, or a one night stand? No matter how good the movie was, once it's over, you can't see it again fresh. You can watch it again, but it's not a new experience any more. With a TV show, you get to follow the unfolding drama. Each new episode is a surprise. And, hell, a TV show is just a lot more screen time.

I do still love great movies. Aside from the big budgets and the big screens, which are nice, you get a sense of closure with a movie that you rarely get with a TV show. A TV show is meant to leave you hanging, unless it's cancelled far enough in advance that the writers can end it neatly. A movie can be convincingly larger than life in a way that TV generally tries to avoid. West Wing showed you the humanity of the US president. Even Heroes makes superheros ordinary, while a movie like Die Hard makes an ordinary guy into a hero.

A movie is a single story, and that can be nice. It's hard to imagine a simple, iconic story like Yojimbo or its remake A Fistful of Dollars working in TV. And in movies, characters can learn and grow up, which they can't really do in TV.

Movies can cover subjects that don't work well on TV. TV wants to be about some kind of a family, and it wants to keep returning to the same sets if possible. And an indie movie can find a more niche audience than TV can, since a movie is available longer. (Though downloads will change this.)

But still, I'd always rather discover a new great TV show than a new great movie. It's the difference between up to a hundred and change happy evenings, or just one happy evening.

8 Comments:

I think I'm with you on this one .. being able to watch TV shows at my own pace on DVD has just made me more than an addict, and I think all the Friday Night Lights episodes so far have been great . the ratings, however, certainly have not, so I hope it doesn't get cancelled!

By Blogger Reel Fanatic, at 3:53 PM  

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, I'd rather experience a great movie. I do enjoy a fantastic tv show that keeps giving week after week (hopefully year after year). But, the truth of the matter is that there have been dozens of films that have transcended the normal viewing experience for me and still resonate, emotionally, years after I've seen them. However, with the exception of one television series (which will be my secret to savor), a show has never had that kind of impact on me. My heart doesn't flutter when I think about any of my favorite tv shows. It feels comforting to watch some of them on DVD, but not cathartic, the way the best films do (for me, anyway).

By Blogger Your gracious host, at 6:31 PM  

Really? You liked The Love Boat that much?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:52 PM  

Ha! No, but saying that you had that reaction to Felicity when you're a heterosexual male doesn't sound that much different to most people (JJ Abrams or not). Yeah, Felicity...

By Blogger Your gracious host, at 9:30 PM  

Off topic: OK, so maybe I'm a little slow here, but what's with the howling wolf?

On topic: Definitely TV.

By Blogger Katya, at 9:35 PM  

I was hoping someone would frickin' notice.

Kody wanted exploding titles and dogs howling in the wilderness.

Wolves were the best I could do.

And look at the thanks I get.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:06 PM  

For me, the best analogy is that a tv show is a relationship and a movie is a fling. Depends who it is ... sometimes you want it to last, and sometimes one night is enough (knowing you have the option to repeat that one night whenever you want).

I agree with you on the imperical merits of Friday Night Lights (yeah, I guess he's kinda cute) but it isn't a show I feel the need to watch every week (he's not my type).

As for the howling wolf, you've now thoroughly traumatized my dog Reilly. He's kind of a wuss at the best of times and what did he do when he heard the wolf howl? Run like hell out of the room, after jumping about three feet off the ground. Good to know that I'm on my own should a real wolf burst in here.

By Blogger Caroline, at 1:42 AM  

"And in movies, characters can learn and grow up, which they can't really do in TV."

Really? I prefer TV shows over movies for the exact reverse reason: once there's a character you like, you can watch it grow over time, be changed by the events, become someone new. In fact, I tend to find that TV shows in which the characters don't grow much become increasingly tedious after a season and a half. Typical example: Alias. I watched it through to the end, but I stopped being excited after it became clear that the characters weren't going to change much, if at all.

By Blogger Robin Berjon, at 6:16 AM  

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