It’s Going To Be A Box-Set Christmas
It’s been a strange year for film, with mainly weak blockbusters, no decent Hollywood comedies and no strong horror movies. A further retreat into sequels and reboots has set the pattern for the future, and only Universal is doing something fresh, ditching the 30 year-old idea of the tentpole release to concentrate on a smaller, wider range of films.
But it was a good year to be a kid – apart from endless superhero franchises now working to long-term marketing plans that will see those children well into adulthood – there was the charming, knowing ‘Paddington’ which worked much better than anyone expected, and the sugar-rush assault of ‘The Lego Movie’.
I’ve now seen the latter film twice, so stuffed is it with post-modern gags and sharp digs at consumerist culture. That it does this while selling you the kind of product it’s telling you to avoid is a stroke of genius.
But what’s most striking is how few films have been about anything real. The award-contenders are mostly idiosyncratic takes on unusual personal stories, or fantasies, while television is picking up audiences with an appetite for long-form well-told stories featuring very real characters.
From a glance at the upcoming slates, it looks as if the film industry will now concentrate on kid and teen audiences while TV will go after adult viewers. This is a welcome change in many respects that returns us to the Dickensian idea of the serial. How can cinema compete with the likes of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘True Detective’, ‘Fargo’ and even ‘Hannibal’ now that TV is shooting in the style once reserved for exclusive use by cinema?
This is good news for anyone planning to veg out in front of the TV this Christmas. I’ve even contemplated watching ‘Game of Thrones’. Upcoming we have ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’. What I’d like most to see is the serialisation of books which are not on the old BBC roster of Sunday serials – high on my list would be a reboot of ‘Gormenghast’ and the Phillip Pullman ‘Amber Spyglass’ series.
Now that anything is possible within a TV budget, what books would you most like to see serialised as shows?