OK, take a deep breath -- I know what I'm about to say is heresy on a movie site, but have you noticed that TV has gotten pretty damn good lately? So good that sometimes it's better than going to the movies ...almost. The Emmys may be long over, and those golden totems to ad revenue are already being displayed in the trophy cases of the winners. But if you were watching the show, you might have noticed a running theme throughout the telecast: the death of broadcast television. Well I'm going to have to respectfully disagree, because while I totally get that the TV landscape is changing, and the networks may not know how to milk this whole newfangled Internet thing for every dollar its worth, audiences are still tuning in (whether its on cable or broadcast TV) for some of the most innovative entertainment in history.
Not since the days of Seinfeld has talk about TV dominated water cooler chat and flooded the Internet forums and chat rooms. When you arrive to work in the morning, are you talking about last weekend's blockbuster, or are you and your co-workers talking about last night's LOST, Mad Men, or True Blood? Now don't get me wrong: I always have, and always will love going to the movies. There will always be something about sitting in the dark alongside strangers with state of the art sound and images that makes it my favorite pastime. But, I still have to hand it to the small screen for managing to finally make TV cool again. So in honor of our friends at TV Squad, I'm going to throw a little love at the small screen - here are just a couple of reasons why I think TV is (sometimes) better than the movies.
After the jump: in defense of the boob tube...
1. People expect better from TV...and they usually get it.
There's a big debate surrounding the whole 'check your brain at the door' when it comes to going to the movies. While some of us are defenders of popcorn entertainment, there are others who miss being challenged by what they watch, and lately if you want something that isn't just a remake of a board game or 80's TV show, you're probably watching more television than ever before. If you don't believe me, take a look at some of the shows that were earning nominations at the Emmys: a complex examination of capitalism and the American dream, the story of a dying chemistry teacher running a meth lab, the trials and tribulations of polygamists, and a bona-fide cultural phenomenon with one of the most labyrinthine conspiracies in television history.
Now compare that with the reboot/remake fever running rampant in the movie business, and you can't help but notice that TV seems to be more willing to take a chance on something other than a remake or re-imagining. It is awfully nice to see original ideas, and unlike most of the big-budget blockbusters we were subjected to over just this past summer, these stories actually require you to think.
2. Better Parts for (and written by) Women
In the list of Forbes top earning actresses for 2009, the top three spots went to Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, and Meryl Streep. Now with the exception of Streep, can you name a remarkable movie that either of those ladies made last year? Sure, they managed to make some money (and even the odd award nomination), but let's be honest: those films weren't really burning up the cultural radar. As for the rest of the working actresses in Hollywood, it was back to the grind of girlfriend roles and eye candy, but not in the world of TV.
If you take a look around, ladies are tearing it up on the small screen, and female writers and actresses are getting access to the kinds of jobs that are unthinkable on the big screen. If you don't believe me, take a look at the credits for some of the shows winning those coveted Emmys. The top comedy? Well, that's written by a women. Oh, and that critically acclaimed drama? You guessed it, another writing staff that is heavy on the estrogen.
Now, of course, nothing is ever black or white and it's not like you can say with 100% certainty that one medium is better than the other, and even though TV has yet to match the movies when it comes to giving audiences access to foreign, art-house, or so-called indie content, I still can't help but think we are in the midst of our very own Golden Age of Television.
So what do you think? Has TV finally surpassed the big screen, or would you rather get your thrills at the multiplex? Sound off in the comments...