Monday, May 21, 2007

Big Screen vs Boob-Tube

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the differences between the movie experience and the TV experience. One issue that keeps coming up again and again is the fact that theatres are running a slimmer and slimmer profit margin due to the rising cost of showing features, and that most films (especially non-blockbusters) may soon be avoiding the multi-plex altogether. With the cheapening of huge TVs, sound systems, and projection technology, we are seeing more and more people waiting to 'catch it on video'. The main question is whether this will destroy the cinema culture that we have come to embrace.

Now, TV on the other hand is getting better. Edgy new concept shows and re-imaginings of classic shows of yesteryear have pushed the TV envelope to create new and more interesting programming in that media. Before Babylon 5 only soap operas did huge multi-season story arcs, now that is the norm. Before 24, nobody thought of running a show in 'real time' (don't get me started on what my opinion of the timing on 24 is like), but now many shows are using that sort of format of things going on in conjunction (though not as tightly as 24 does). We can look back as far as Bewitch'd and I Dream of Genie, but really, it has been Charmed that has inspired a new glut of modern fantasy/magical realism TV series (Sabrina the Teanage Witch, The Dresden Files, the remake of Kolchak, and many others). As we get further along, will TV eclipse movies. Realistically, my answer for SF and Fantasy is a resounding yes!

More and more we are seeing adaptations of classic books for the silver screen, however due to the previously mentioned rising costs, that could prove problematic. A TV Mini-series can cost as much, or more, than a movie, but you get more time toi tell your story and faithfully adapt the book to a visual format. Done properly, these mini-series are far more popular than the rather clipped films in the theatres, and the chance to recoup monies with advertisers is better than praying to the dark gods of Hollywood that the box office take is good.

In 10 years I see the theatres being reserved for horror movies and big-budget blockbusters, as these can work on home theatre units but really need the shared experience of a theatre to generate their punch. Everything else (and I really do mean everything) will be relegated to DVD, streaming internet, and Digital HD TV. The real question is, what do you think?

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