Television and why I stopped going to the movies
I grew up loving movies and every single magical thing about them. But then something strange happened a few years ago: I realized that I wasn’t watching them anymore. Sure I’d catch a few Oscar winners and some select blockbusters every once in a while, but that was pretty much it. After much soul-searching, the reason became compellingly clear; I was starting to prefer another medium that was far more addictive: television.
Why would one choose a TV show over a film? It’s pretty simple: emotional investment. Watching one of your favorite series week in week out over the course of several years gets you completely and utterly invested in the characters’ lives. You grow with them, hurt with them, love with them… and yes, eventually die with them. It sounds dramatic to be sure, but think back to the last time you were absolutely gutted when one of your favorite characters was mercilessly killed off or your all-time favorite show came to an end (or even worse, got unjustly canceled by a money-hungry network). That loss might not exactly be real, but your investment in that journey over an extended period of time is certainly real. There’s a tangible emptiness and void in your heart, that only your next TV obsession can fill.
Movies on the other hand just don’t hook me the way they used to. Why would I want to meet a bunch of new characters, barely spend two hours with them, and then never hear from them again? We are of course assuming the film in question will not be trailed by a trilogy, a rebooted trilogy, or half a dozen sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and God knows what else the Powers That Be can muster up if their eyes light up with enough dollar signs.
These days, every time I watch a film, all I can think of is how much more affected I would be had I been watching these characters for multiple seasons on end. Had I become accustomed to their nuances, their quirks, and their complex journeys over the course of many many years. I know I’m not in the majority; after all the movie business is still thriving, and the general public probably loves going to the movie theatre for the exact opposite reason. Turn your brain off for a few hours, go on a wild ride, and then forget about it the second you walk out with no strings attached. But for me? I love to obsess all week long, for years and years, and then suffer through that absolute gut-punch of a loss when it’s all over. It’s strangely sadistic, and yet… I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nadim Safieddine is a film school graduate and copywriter from Beirut Lebanon. He’s also the founder of Nad’s Reviews, a website dedicated to in-depth (and often sarcastic) episodic reviews.