TV and film are infinitely different experiences for me and it would be difficult to say which I prefer, but there is currently one aspect in which television has film beat: diversity.
Now, when I say diversity I do not mean that the characters of TV shows are representative of the different races, genders, sexualities and range of physical and mental abilities that exist in society because God knows that isn’t true (although they are doing a lot better than movies in that respect). What I’m talking about is the variety of stories being told.
In this year’s Emmy drama category there is: a fourth-wall-breaking political drama; a crime drama spin-off; a British historical period drama; and a psychological thriller about hacking just to name a few.
Some of the shows have a clear broad appeal but others were risky. There was absolutely no guarantee that a show like Mr. Robot would have the sort of reception that it has received but it was aired and it continues to push boundaries and grow its audience whilst it does so.
The film industry is in a rut. They produce the same tried and tested content: remakes, sequels and adaptations crowd the box office to the point that anything fresh doesn’t get a chance to shine. TV is heading in the opposite direction. Admittedly, of the seven drama nominees one is a spin-off, another is based on a hugely popular book series, one more is adapted from an Israeli series, and another is an adaptation of a BBC series which was based on a novel. But it feels fresh!
I realise that that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. When Hollywood does adaptations and remakes, they are desperately clinging onto what made the original, original. They are trying to recreate what made the audience interested in the first thing and that rarely works. TV adaptations are much braver in changing things and their purpose is more about bringing a great story to an audience that haven’t had the chance to experience the original.
Even the comedy category is so varied. Modern Family and Black-ish represent the typical family sitcoms but then shows like Veep and Transparent add that beautiful diversity that I can’t stop talking about. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a comedy about a woman that was locked up in an underground bunker for 15 years of her life. Who thought that that would work as a sitcom? Yet it does.
The increasing number of television networks means that there is a lot more space for shows. From guaranteed hits to the most niche of programming: they can find a place somewhere and as long as it’s good, they have a chance of making it to the Emmys. In that way, TV is pretty awesome.
What is the strangest show that you’re watching at the moment? Are they any nominated shows that you don’t think should be there? Let me know in the comments.