Sunday, September 30, 2012
Has television captured the zeitgeist?
If you think about the most popular and highly reviewed media of the year, much of it is from television. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Homeland are all having their moment in the sun. Meanwhile, landmark films such as The Master are playing to receptive audiences in arthouses while Resident Evil: Retribution is at the top of the box office. Shows like Modern Family are at an intersection of critical acclaim and popularity that movies are increasingly straddling on either side.
Andrew O'Hehir from Salon wrote an intriguing, guaranteed-to-boil-blood article on this subject, asking whether television has replaced film as the medium of our time. O'Hehir argues that traditional film culture, in which powerful movies controlled the national conversation, has eroded since in the past decade. In fact, he argues, "the sense that cinema was where you could find the most engrossing stories and characters [...] began to fade after the 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' era."
It's an intriguing read for anyone with a vested interest in film or television culture. At the Emmy Awards last week, Homeland actor Damian Lewis said that we are currently in a "golden age of television." He might have been on to something.