Are peak TV shows novels and films for dummies

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We used to love a good television show. Actually, when we were younger, we loved any TV show that helped us make living in a small town more tolerable. And soon after we truly loved television, as it was offering us – then – new shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, and reruns of classics such as Twin Peaks and The Prisoner. But at this point in time, our main reaction to television is the following: fuck television.

Things used to be simpler, and finding a good television show to watch was more of a challenge. These days we have HBO still cranking out television shows, broadcast networks doing good stuff (shout-out to The Good Place!), once smaller players like AMC & Showtime delivering quality shows like Breaking Bad and bringing back Twin Peaks, streaming services like Netflix & Amazon Prime killing it with Bojack Horseman and Transparent, and then YouTube Red trying. Not succeeding, but trying real hard, guys.

In fact, we live in an age where you can spend all your free time watching good television. And we are pretty sure some of the people in our circle are doing just that. And it’s becoming really fucking annoying hearing about it.

At this point, we no longer care. We don’t care about Narcos. Fuck Mindhunter. Suck a dick, Halt and Catch Fire. Sure, there was a time when television felt magic, and we could kill days browsing various message boards and TV sites to find out what exactly the polar bear on Lost‘s purpose was. Turns out not much, but getting invested in all the online theories still makes this one of the shows we invested in the most.

Compare this to what we have now. Everyone’s watching everything, and the only type of discussion we hear is: “I just watched [insert show here], it was good. You have to see it”, followed by someone else going “so what’s next??? You have to see [insert show here]”. Sites are filled with recaps of shows that don’t require much thought. Honestly, who is the person reading recaps of Designated Survivor? Show yourself, brute!

And in the process it seems people are believing in the dream of television as this valiant hero bringing light into a darkness filled with horrible Hollywood films. Directors are shouting out film is dead, and hailing television as the new king. But just because mid-budget productions are getting harder to make doesn’t mean nothing good is out there. This year Hollywood produced interesting stuff from big budget (Blade Runner 2049) to mid budget (Baby Driver) to low budget (Get Out, A Ghost Story).

Taking Get out and the new Blade Runner, these are two wildly different movies, that both have features so often lacking in film. In one’s case it’s scope, in the other it’s intensity. Dragging out a story to 80 hours doesn’t mean you’ve built a great character study, it means you’ve been stalling. For the most part, television is a writer’s medium, film a director’s. Two things doing different things, two things deserving attention.

The comparison with film doesn’t hold up. Game of Thrones isn’t a fantasy epic that looks like a movie. We saw better CGI dragons in Reign of Fire and that was over 15 years ago. Fuck your dragons, Game of Thrones.

Want some good character development? How about reading the right book, and actually imagining the world in which characters take place instead of getting everything dumbly visualized on your TV. No offense, but I hardly think Weeds tops the Rabbit Armstrong book series in terms of character development.

Look, we don’t hate television. We are still following a fair amount of shows. But it’s necessary to diversify in life, whether it’s books and movies or actually going outside on the weekend.

You might disagree, in which case we’d love to hear from you. But before we go, we want to leave you with the following nugget of wisdom: no show is worth watching if you’re not enjoying it. Next time someone tells you to stick with a television show even though you’ve already been disinterested for more than an hour tell them no. Then tell them to go fuck themselves. Tell them you prefer watching a movie, or reading a book instead. And finish it all by calling out Game of Thrones by having shitty looking CGI dragons.

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