Saturday, April 23, 2011

A New Way to Watch a Story

One of the greatest modern inventions is Netflix. In terms of watching new releases, it really isn't all that great. But, in terms of watching television shows, it is superb! With Netflix, one is able to watch television episodes back-to-back. Aside from the obvious absence of commercials, we are now able to watch the story "uninterrupted" by a week of life. As a result, story-heavy television shows, like Lost, Fringe, Heroes, and more, have the potential to strike us even more powerfully than a movie.

Think about it. On the one hand, a movie has two, maybe three hours to tell you a story, develop characters, and create meaning. On the other hand, television shows can have up to 100 hours and more to tell a story, develop characters, and create meaning. I have often heard movies compared to the book it is based upon. Almost always, the comparison declares the book the winner. However, consider the possibility of putting a book on a television show. Episodes can be dedicated to side-stories that do nothing for the main plot, but develop the characters or add significance to certain events. Plots can take time to develop and lead to dead ends that frustrate both the characters and the viewers. Views can truly follow, respect, and even love characters within the show.

Do not misunderstand me by thinking I am deriding movies. In fact, movies are the prevalent form of storytelling in our culture today. However, some brilliant writers have decided to tell a story over a longer period of time, in a hard format to do so, and with a more demanding audience. Some of these stories pay off huge dividends and change not only the industry, but also the culture and, especially, viewers like you and I. Though not a typical post in this blog, I say all of this as a way to simply suggest that you watch for those stories that do such a thing. If you find one of them, try to watch it all the way through in a relatively short time. I urge you to try it at least once in your life. I don't think you'll regret it.

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