In The Delta

In The Delta
In The Delta

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The New Golden Age of Television

Before I begin - just a word about this week's cover picture - it has nothing to do with movies or TV but it is one of my favorite places in The Delta - Al the Wop's.  Picture yourself on a barstool, enjoying a cold one before walking back to your boat for the night.

In the fifties, there was concern that movies would die out thanks to the widespread influence of television.  To keep people coming to theatres, movie makers introduced 3D (not even close to what you see today), Cinemascope, even Smell-O-Vision.  That last one was a short lived idiotic idea, if ever there was one.

Today, movies are bigger, but not better than ever.

3D is back and yes, it is incredible.  Even the glasses are new and improved - not those little cardboard multi colored ones that kept slipping off your nose.

IMAX is phenomenal for some films - Nature movies (not really my thing - the first time an animal dies,  I am out of there) and concert films like The Stones Shine A Light (I know, it was a long time ago but it still stands out for me).

This week we saw Everest in IMAX 3D.  This kind of film plays well on the giant IMAX screen.  But the preview for The Jungle Book makes far better use of 3D.

But, for me, Everest is the exception.  We are inundated with a plethora (I knew I'd find a use for that word) of films that attempt to astound us with visuals while giving storylines and characters short shrift.  They look so interchangeable that it is difficult to tell them apart.  But apparently, someone is going to see them, because they keep making them.

There are still small, independent films rich in character and story telling.  But they play well on a small screen.  I'm guessing a lot of people just decide to stay home and watch those on TV.  After all, we now have giant flat screens, surround sound, even 3D TV.  And it is awesome.

In bygone days, television was the place where actors went when they couldn't get decent parts in movies.  It was a kind of kiss of death to appear on television.  Not so, nowadays.

A listers are working in television - something that seems to have always been the case in England, if all of those great British series in my Netflix queue are any indication.

Speaking of Netflix, this is the go to place for a wide variety of movies, including independent and foreign films, as well as series that other networks have given up on - such as Longmire and The Killing.

We are Showtime subscribers and love it.  (Less so, HBO, which is why we are willing to wait until HBO series go to Netflix although Banshee on Cinemax could almost convince me to subscribe).

As far as Showtime is concerned, the best of the best - Ray Donovan - outstanding writing, acting (Jon Voigt - why no Emmy or Golden Globe?), outstanding everything - but not one mention at The Emmys?

Less enthralling - particularly in a weak second season is Masters of Sex.

But then there is Homeland - still taut powered by the performances of Claire Danes, Rupert Friend and Mandy Patinkin.

The Affair returns soon - can't wait to find out what happens next.

Starz Magic City, if you can find it, had two  of the best seasons on TV and then disappeared.

Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Black Sails - I know Pirates - who would have thought?

Netflix' own series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have been a refreshing addition to the world of home entertainment as has Bloodline - looking forward to the second season but SPOILER ALERT hoping Ben Mendelsohn will at least be back in flashbacks.

We still can't get with the networks - they don't seem to trust their viewers enough to give us a continuing storyline.  Fox' short lived Gang Related is one reason we gave up.  Give us a show we love and cancel it - leaving dozens of plot points dangling.  Maybe Netflix will pick it up.

Even Basic Cable is at the top of its game - FX gave us Sons of Anarachy, The Americans,  Justified, Fargo and The Bridge.

AMC gave us Hell on Wheels, Breaking Bad, Fargo and Better Call Saul which started slow but we shall see.

Is it any wonder I can't get my housework done?

No comments: