Every so often I watch something new at the cinema and couldn’t help but think that the story would have gone further if it were just a plain old television series. Sometimes there’s just not enough minutes in a feature film to fit in everything that needs to be said, and that often leaves behind some confusing questions. That’s not even mentioning how hard it is for a character to progress in such a short time frame, sure it’s possible, but the amount of progression is pretty limited.
Movies used to be the bread and butter of the entertainment industry but in recent years more and more networks are producing TV shows that can not only rival the blockbuster movie hits but surpass them. Not only that, but the plot lines and linear story make for a formula that would have resulted in a mediocre movie. It wasn’t long before I found myself thankful that some ideas weren’t turned into movies, I even made a list.
What better way is there to start my little list than with HBO’s award winning show, Game Of Thrones? This remarkable television series has gone so far with enough accolades to make anyone just a little jealous of its accomplishments, yet with all its twists and turns it could have easily been turned into a couple of movies and it’s not hard to imagine it as a number of high-grossing films either.
I mean, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine someone in Hollywood would have pitched the idea, at least once or twice. It’s almost a no-brainer when the source material (A Song Of Fire And Ice) tells such an amazing yet emotional tale. If nothing else it certainly has high entertainment value and that would have been enough for some bigshot to green light it. Surely if done right, it could have competed with the likes of Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.
Yet, just think for a moment. If they did that how much content would we, the viewers lose? How do you compress hundreds and hundreds of pages into a movie that is only an hour and a half or two hours long? They’ve already cut a lot in the current series, wouldn’t a movie do so much more damage to the story we know?
Honestly, I think it would severely impact the story and the cast of characters. There just wouldn’t be enough time to go through everything. Coincidentally enough, that’s the exact reason why Game Of Thrones makes for a perfect example of how sometimes turning an idea into a TV show is better than making it into a possible blockbuster flick.
Fortunately, we have no one else but George R.R. Martin himself to thank for this, his steadfast refusal not to give his precious baby to anyone except the worthiest of creative talent has resulted in a series that has blown up making it one of the most watched shows around the world. Just take a look at this interview and watch as he tells it.
It’s relatively long and there’s a bunch of interesting stuff on the video, but skip to 1:28 (1 minute, 28 seconds) to where the beloved author talks about meeting the men who would turn his book into much, much more.
I for one think that Game Of Thrones has outdone itself to such a degree that it’s impossible to imagine it in any other format. There is just no other way for us to understand the complexity of this particular fictional universe. The numerous relationships, the undercurrent of politics behind every move and the desires of each and every character; oh, and let’s not forget the backstabbing either…
Every character seems so important, and I’m sure you have your favorite by this point. I think that at least partly, it’s the falling in love with the people that make us so spellbound in watching the show. I mean just watch a little bit of it and it doesn’t take too long before we’ve undoubtedly found someone that we can relate to and subconsciously root for. Whoever your soul goes out to, whether it’s the ever growing Daenerys, the crafty Tyrion or any number of the different characters the bottom line is that without their screen time we wouldn’t be enjoying the show half as much.
Without a doubt I’m glad that HBO took it upon themselves to green-light this marvel of entertainment for no other reason that anything else just wouldn’t have done half as well. And I certainly wouldn’t be as excited for their fourth season.
This one is a little easier to compare, after all it already has something that’s easily comparable. There’s the Sherlock Holmes movies that star Robert Downey Jr and then there’s the modern series that has taken the grand old idea and pumped it full of steroids.
On one hand, we have a pair of movies that are interesting and certainly entertaining enough. If I just watched the movies, I would have been satisfied. They’re just that good. Well, that’s what I thought until I was introduced to BBC’s Sherlock, courtesy of Netflix and boredom.
I was blown away, and here’s two examples of why.
Sherlock is one of my favorite shows of all time, and to think that I passed on watching it time and again because I thought that there was no way something on the television was going to be any better than Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal, I mean he’s Iron Man!
Boy. How Wrong, I was.
It’s simply better in every way imaginable. The show manages to convey intrigue, mystery and comedy in one neat little package. Sure, it may just have 3 episode seasons, but every episode plays for an hour and a half. That’s the length of most movies, yet there’s almost no down time. No year or two of waiting before we see the next act.
Not only that, but Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have enough chemistry to make their mundane banter, something worth watching. I could listen to them going at it for hours, but luckily that’s not all there is to it. There’s always something to solve, but there’s one overarching mystery that unfolds over the course of each season, culminating with the season finale. Now, that isn’t too shocking, but the fact of the matter is that the writers must be geniuses of some sort, because every single time I’m blindsided as to how things will unfold.
Nothing is ever predictable, and the show makes you look in one direction only to hit you from the other, it’s something that the movie version has never been able to do, and that is just one of the reasons it’s better than its big-screen counterpart.
There’s no better experience as a viewer than watching things come together, the sudden thought of Eureka! That’s how it is done, it’s exciting and exhilarating while managing to boggle the mind at the same time – a feeling that makes me giddy.
I think, this series showcases just how much better a TV show can be compared to a Movie, even when using the same source material. For me the TV version is just light years ahead of its movie equivalent. There’s just no other way to put it. Apparently, I’m not the only one who agrees – seeing as how the show has already been given the go ahead for two more seasons. I seriously can’t wait.
The Walking Dead
How many Zombie movies are out there? Have we ever cared for any of the characters in them as much as we’ve cared for the people trapped in an out of the way prison? I know I haven’t, at least not until I finished watching a handful of Walking Dead episodes. Caring for the characters is certainly a strange feeling for me, especially when it comes to watching a show that has elements of the undead gruesomely displayed. On the other hand, the changes of pace provide nice building blocks that allow for pleasant and exhilarating feelings to be replaced with sudden terror and dread. The show isn’t about how they’ll die, but rather what they’ll do to survive.
While there have been a number of zombie-themed movies in the past, not one of them has made me feel so many emotions as this story has as it unraveled. Heck, watching AMC’s Walking Dead made me so devastated at any one point, I cried like a little baby. I bet fans can guess the exact episode I’m talking about. Luckily enough, I don’t have long to wait before I get more stuff to watch as the next half of the season is almost upon us.
So all in all, a movie just wouldn’t have enough time to show us all the events that go to make up a character’s history as they unfold. It would have left us with more questions than answers, gaping holes in our knowledge. Attempting to explain everything in such a short time frame would have been madness and boring. I’m sure I wouldn’t be as attached to the characters either, and we wouldn’t care as much about what happened to them. Sitting through a movie is rather a short time for them to be on our minds, compared to tuning in every week.
Without a doubt these TV franchises are great and deserve all the hype they get. The days when the big screen took all the glory are slowly fading away, the smaller screen is definitely providing us with more and more quality entertainment. A win in my book, still I wish more movies didn’t leave me with the bitter thoughts that it would have been better as a TV series, something that is happening more and more these days. I suppose it’s lucky that a few great shows do fall through the cracks and get turned into greatness.
I’d like to ask what shows you think fit my description? I know Breaking Bad should be included, but it was my fourth pick, and this wall of text has gone long enough so instead, why don’t you just tell me what you think would qualify? Comment or email me.