In 2015, Academy-Award winning actor Dustin Hoffman made a rather conclusive statement about the industry he had performed within for the past five decades: “I think right now television is the best that it’s ever been and I think that it’s the worst that film has ever been,” Hoffman told The Independent during an interview.
Fans of cinema — hold your breath, for it seems as though Hoffman’s claims may not just be because of his lack of screen time in recent years. Hoffman is telling a blasphemous truth: films just aren’t that great anymore, and television shows (like HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld) are better.
Films have lost their magic. They have lost their Alfred Hitchcocks and Charlie Chaplins, all the world’s talent replaced with overwhelming visual effects and beautiful people who will be guaranteed to make more money at the box office.
HBO’s Game of Thrones (Image Source: McCluskey, Time)
For the past decade, movies have hit a slump. I want you to think about a recent film — a recent, good film — that was created with an original, modern idea. Don’t get me wrong, those films do exist (2017’s La La Land is a pure masterpiece), but they may be less frequent than you’d think.
Perhaps some of you have chosen the mighty successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens — but that’s a sequel. Or perhaps you’re thinking of Emma Watson’s Beauty and The Beast — but that’s a remake. Loved Wonder Woman and The Avengers? Those are adaptations of comic books.
Hollywood is becoming green, and not just because they produce a large population of vegans, but because they continue to recycle movie ideas and story lines. Almost every new film released is a remake, an adaptation or a sequel, all cast with the people who have the best hair, the nicest teeth and the flattest stomach.
It’s no wonder Netflix subscriptions have reached over 100 million people in 190 countries. Because let’s be honest, when was the last time you left the movie theaters feeling as satisfied as you do when you sit at home — for free I might add — and enjoy a night of binge-watching every show available on Netflix?
Contrary to the collapse of the movie empire, TV shows are now entering another year in the golden age. TV shows are bold, they break rules and establish new ones. If you want fantasy, then watch the brutal and gory HBO hit Game of Thrones. If you want to laugh — Netflix has all nine seasons of The Office for you to do so. For suspense and crime, I suggest True Detective (only the first season though, because there’s nothing quite better than watching Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson tracking down bad guys).
HBO’s True Detective (Image Source: Prokinho)
We spend years watching the characters in TV shows go through different obstacles and become different people. We get to know their likes and dislikes, what their goals are. TV is able to go into more depth in terms of settings, stories and characters, developing these arcs through various seasons. Movies, on the other hand, attempt and only sometimes succeed in doing so with their limited running time of two hours (if it’s a Peter Jackson movie, then three hours and thirty minutes).
TV shows are making the headlines now. They have become more relatable, more accessible and more entertaining than the recycled storylines we watch on the big screen. Don’t get me wrong, movies can still be great, and I do think there are plenty of original classics out there, but they don’t seem to be quite as common as it used to be.