Film, painting, photography, writing, music, theater – almost all art forms exist simultaneously in new, cutting-edge TV and the incendiary television of the past. Within it’s short existence, television has not even been the red-headed stepchild of books and movies when it came to artistic merit. It has been more like a half-caste child in Colonial Britain or the hidden mixed race child on the Plantation. It is considered of merit very selectively in the eye of the artistic consumer. It’s almost embarrassing to admit you love T.V. A slightly dirty secret. “Oprah and bonbons” was what T.V represented for decades. No more. I want to help break that stigma. Television is Art.
This is the Art of Now. We are watching as it blossoms into the Art of the Future. Letting go of our concepts of Art as they stand will allow us to watch as this art grows to encompass the universal need for expression. Television is still not taken seriously as an art. It has taken hundreds of years for science and spirit to reach these heights and merge into these stunning works that stream in through your screen. You are immersed in a profound artistic experience without moving off your couch. More than that, as you live with these characters for years, and go to hell and back with them, you have a personal stake you would never have with any other art form. It is a relationship that shapes an expanded artistic paradigm. When faced with limitations; geographic, financial, physical, mental, when faced with real life obstacles to our ideal life, we can thirst for this immersive experience.We can be in 1901 Toronto,1840s Norfolk, 1969 New York. No longer does it feel like a “Boob Tube”, straining our incredulity with a clumsy and underdeveloped art form that served more as cheap entertainment during a “TV Dinner”. These are times that need a running narrative, more than ever. A way of conveying our existence through a brilliant, holistic medium that often lets you say what you want. Television is so new that there are fewer rules, fewer formulas to follow. You can get away with more than murder. Symbolically speaking.
During this time, I want to be your midwife and guide, shedding new light, looking at things from myriad angles, and clarifying questions that you may not know you have. I will relate to myth, history, literature, film history, sociology, psychology, geography, and collective consciousness. I will use my knowledge of the inner workings of film to bring you a deeper understanding of the layers that exist in smart, cinematic TV. I think it is important to create a chronicle now, especially during this time of highly-charged national and international conflict.
Beyond it’s artistic merit, it’s the megaphone, the podium of the new age, a tool with an immense amount of power culturally and socially. Media is, (like Neil Gaiman wrote in the novel American Gods, which has just become a show) A God of this age. Media informs, media entertains, media raises children and media is the motion that is propelling us into the next age, whatever that may be. The predictions are dire, so we count on media to help us navigate this overwhelming territory. Good TV shows have something to say about the status quo and create an alternative reality for viewers that gives them a different option. Tolerance, education, reform and radical new ideas (for many) are brought into existence. Light is shed on current unacceptable realities and change is brought about. Millions of people can be exposed to a different way of thinking through one show. TV mythology, Game of Thrones being a prime example, is a big part of so many lives. These characters, the surrounding narratives about the show and the actors, are made almost God-like in society. The showrunners of a show like that have an immense responsibility towards the viewers.
TV can come into your home and shatter boundaries, break new ground and deal with the Big Issues: feminism, liberalism, environmentalism, and a slew of other -isms. The new shows are afforded creative freedom beyond what we are used to. At its best, TV has a powerful punch hidden in a gesture, a nuance, a word, a frame. It is alive, constantly shifting according to the zeitgeist. According to our collective meteorological shifts, to the meaning of our current identity badge as a human. It is a funhouse mirror, a cracked, intimate makeup contact, a held breath in a family portrait. A lens, a glimmer of a bonfire in an ancient forest Saying “come, look, there is more”. It is not just a window. It is a door.
Let me show you.