The rise of the TV series has been one of the most gratifying things to see. No longer is TV seen as the poor cousin of the film industry when it comes to drama and comedy. With amazing sales of box-sets and the popularity of catch-up streaming services, TV shows are attracting the best talent available and the quality has risen as a result. Shows from channels like HBO and from the online only service Netflix have pushed the quality bar and shown what is achievable when you have a much longer narrative arc to play with and time to develop the characters to their full potential. By contrast movies can seem a little bit rushed now as they develop plot points and characters to fit in a 2 hour timeline. The other thing is that movies need to be seen ideally in one sitting, whereas TV series can be enjoyed piecemeal, fitting in the shorter episodes around your busy schedule. Here are two of my favourite TV shows:
This show was one of the ground-breakers, showing what TV was really capable of. Incredibly innovative and with superlative character development, The Sopranos was a morality tale writ large that was so well written it had you rooting for a main character who was essentially a sociopathic murderer. It followed the life and times of Tony Soprano and his family as they struggled with the mundanity of real life and the fact that they were part of the mafia.
Almost Shakespearian in the way the tragedy of Walter White’s life unfolds, Breaking Bad is rightly considered amongst the best TV shows ever created. It’s a portrayal of a man who makes a decision essentially for the good of his family when he finds out he has terminal cancer and wants to leave money for his family after he’s gone. The descent into drug dealing and other criminality is so well done as Walter’s character flaws lead inexorably to his own demise.