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Deep Dive into Film and Televsion - The Current State, How we got here, and Discussion

Dear members of the forum, have you every wondered the following about tv and films:
Why is your favorite show canceled?
Why do film trailers spoil films?
Why is film music so generic?

This thread and first post are for you. There is no TLDR because there is a lot to cover.

Because of how long this post is there is a TOC.

Table of Contents


Fundamentals

To understand how we got to where are currently with film and tv, there are key Fundamental moments and Companies that caused it. One of them is still ongoing and it's effects are going to be felt for years.

The 2007 - 2008 Writers Strike lasting effects

This is ground zero. Where the entire industry of film and tv was taken down to the ground. Many people do not remember or have ever heard of this strike. Short version: Writers striked for 100 days because they were not getting paid royalties on digital releases and reshows. You see their contracts covered physical releases and syndication but digital wasn't covered. Digital video in 2007 was not where it is now.

How did this affect film and tv? - We need to break it down to moments that happened and these had consequences:
George Miller’s Justice League Got Canceled - Did you know the director of Mad Max almost got to make a Justice League film. They had a script, not a final one. They had the actors in Australia for the shoot. They had costumes made for this thing. Then the writers strike happened and Warner Brothers Canceled it.

James Bond Suffered - The One Draft Quantum of Solace
Anyone who has seen Quantum of Solace has often asked why was the film not as good? Well… Before the writer strike they had one draft, the first draft. These writers are good and they were expecting to be able to make adjustments but the writers strike happened. EON, the production company of the James Bond Film Franchise (I’ll talk about them more in a later section.), had a hard choice to make. Actors, directors, crews, sets. They were all ready. Delaying was out of the question so the filmed. It’s not the worst Bond film but that lack of polish on the script is apparent to anyone watching it.

Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog - Proved for making original content for streaming services could make money
During the writers strike Joss Whedon did something very bold with a few of his friends. They made Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. It was released on a website. The people involved were paid. And it was a hit. It was a proof of concept in a lot of ways - Original Content can be made for the internet/streaming services, people will pay for it, and it has the potential to be successful.

What Companies make Film and Television

This section. You really need to be aware of what I call the brutal truth for tv and film: All TV and Film is only made by a few companies. Not many. Not Lot. Few.

How few:
AT&T Time Warner
Disney
Comcast/NBCUniversal
ViacomCBS

Those 4 companies make the vast majority of Television and Film. What about Fox? Fox is no longer a major player with Disney buying out the majority of their TV and Film divisions. AT&T Time Warner gets interesting when it comes to TV - They will make a show for practically anyone and have. Let me give you a few examples of AT&T Time Warner made shows: Person of Interest aired on CBS, Fringe aired on Fox, Longmire on A&E then on Netflix. AT&T Time Warner does appear to have a pretty good relationship with Netflix. If that stays though remains to be seen with the launch of HBOMax. There is a possibility AT&T Time Warner could pull all there shows from other places and put them on their. Wait and see.

With so few companies controlling the content getting made, this does affect what content we get.

The Long Term Effects of COVID on TV & Film

This is still ongoing and it will have long term effects. It is no small thing to say film theaters have been hit hard and many will close. There will still be theaters for one to go watch films but it will be awhile befoe we see any independent film theaters come back. There are a couple things that have already happened:
Tenet Flop
People may want to put blame on AT&T Time Warner for releasing this. However, the push came from theater owners and Christopher Nolan. No one has said no Christopher Nolan… yet. The failure was predictable to avid film goers. Here is the big thing, the majority of avid film goers do not want to go to the theater right now. They love films. They want to support theaters but they all think no film is worth risking you life to see. The flop pushed all major releases.

The Success of Bill and Ted Face The Music
This is an interesting one. This film was released both digital and at theater. And the theaters were given a healthy cut for showing it. MGM has made at least 32 million off the film’s digital release in September and consider it a success. It was made for 25 million.

Did VOD Succeed?
I can’t answer that. The film industry is being tight lipped on how much money they are making on these. Bill and Ted Face The Music was one of the few.


Current State of TV and Film

With the Fundamentals out of the way we can dive into how things are currently. Each of these sections covers things you may or may not have heard of.

Development Hell - The Films and Television you may never see

Let's first talk about the TV Show Preacher. Wait wasn't that made into a show? Yes but it was a passion project by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The two of them spent years trying to get it made.

In TV and Films, people can spend years trying to get to the point of getting made. Some final do and others stay stuck. The ones stuck are what the industry calls Development Hell.

There are many films that were development hell:
Dune - A proper Adaption of the book. - This has been in the works for well over a decade. AT&T Time Warner really believe and support Denis Villeneuve. They distributed Blade Runner 2049. This project had gone through others before he came along and got it going. This is his passion project. He is a hardcore Dune fan. We do got to wait to see it.

The Dark Tower - This spent 10 years in development… and in the end well it failed. And the TV Show also is dead. For now there will no live action adaption of the series.

Alita: Battle Angel - Early 2000s
Bill & Ted Face the Music - 2010
Deadpool - 2000
Mad Max: Fury Road - 1999
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - 1998
Speed Racer Live Action - 1992
Watchmen - 1986

Famous Films still in development hell you might be interested in:
Neuromancer
Sherlock Holmes 3
A Sequel to The Lincoln Lawyer
At the Mountains of Madness Directed by Guillermo del Toro
The Legend of Conan [Side note this is Arnold Schwarzenegger passion project he has been trying to make happen]
A new Tron Film

TV Shows in development hell you might be interested in:
Quantum Leap Sequel that focus on the Daughter of the original character searching for her father.
The Wild Wild West TV Series Revival
Lazarus based on the Greg Rucka comic

Will Film Franchises, Remakes, and Sequels End?

Short answer no. Long answer still no. Let's get into why. The companies making the films want all the money they can get and they want to make films that are not risky and will make money. So they focus on the remakes, the franchises, and sequels. As long as people keep going to watch and buy these, the studios will keep making them. However let's focus on two interesting film franchises:

The King of Franchise films all hail James Bond
No not joking. Take a walk with me on this. Let me tell you a harsh truth about all other film franchises in comparison to James Bond. No matter the Harry Potter, DC, Marvel, or other franchises, James Bond has been at it longer and James Bond films can keep getting made. They don’t get released every year, not anymore there was a bit they were almost. They set it so it is accepted when the role of Bond is recast. People may not always like who is cast but Bond film fans no this is norm to cast a new Bond.
EON Production are the makers of this. The thing with the COVID Delaying films getting shown is EON and James Bond can wait it out. The other James Bond Films are still being bought and sold. They are still making money. Releasing the Bond films years apart is a smart move. They did make a mistake of tying the Daniel Craig Films together. They do normal get a different director for each Bond film there are exceptions of course. It’s better to make them stand alone in my opinion.

Mission Impossible - The Almost American Answer to James Bond
Why almost? Because Tom Cruise still stars in them. That said this franchise almost died after the 2nd film. Then the 3rd brought it back and it hit the ground running. The franchise had used a new director until Christopher McQuarrie. His run has been really good. The franchise has the potential to be an American answer to James Bond in that, it doesn’t have to be about Ethan Hunt. It could have other IMF characters play the lead. It’s there. If it gets realized is another thing.

Film Trailers - Why do they spoil so much

Two answers: Study Groups and Focus groups. The makers of film trailers decided to do focus group and a study group at some point. A focus group is a small group of people and they get asked a list of questions and what they think. In the focus group the people were shown film trailers without spoilers and with. The study group is where the makers got together to discuss the results. They found that 9 times out 10 when spoilers where shown people expressed greater interest in seeing it. So they makers of film trailers did put spoilers in trailers. Now directors and film fans don't like this. I personal have reached a point where I will no longer watch any trailer beyond the teaser trailer.

State of TV Streaming & Why shows get canceled

Bingeing VS Episodic Release The short answer as to why a show gets canceled on a digital platform is because the Bingeing model is not sustainable for viewership of shows. It is a numbers game. Let's talk about the binge model a moment. Show and all episode gets released. People binge and then ... viewership drops and memberships get canceled. Episodic release - Viewers are engaged in weekly discussions, staying subscribed, and watching other shows. Is it nice to have all the episodes at once? Yes but I'd gladly go with episodic if it does mean the show doesn't get canceled.

What happened to film soundtracks?

How about I let Junkie XL the film composer for Mad Max Fury Road and other films tell you the answer:


Places to follow actual news about film and tv - Deadline and Variety. These two have been consistent at breaking exclusives about films being made and they both give reliable news.


With that out of the way, what do you think about the current state of tv and film?

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It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly i lost interest in what hollywood and more particularly tv had to offer. I was really into a lot of scifi originals Like Lost Girl and other where the names escape me but with shows either being cancelled or dragged on for far too long i just stopped watching and i turned to other mediums.

Now I am just pleasantly surprised when there is something i enjoy like Fury Road or Joker.

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An interesting pattern for me is every year I only have 10 films I plan to see cause they look interesting and I only end up enjoying and liking 3 of them. Most of the time one of those is a Sci Fiction film.

This year and next are the exception to that pattern of course.
I do follow and watch independent films. Sometimes you come across a jem like Duncan Jones Moon.

TV shows especially live action I’m very picky on. I have a little bit higher standards than most. This year Devs (FX on Hulu, I bought the show digital on amazon), was the new show for me. It was quirky. Hard Core Sci Fi. A limited series and everything I wanted it to be. There are lot of layers to the show but it was and is good. I’m hoping it does come out on Blu Ray next year cause it is worth re-watching and owning physical for me. If you’re looking for a mind bender of a sci fi show I can not recommend it enough.

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I am so, so sorry for taking almost a month to reply, even though I kinda got this investigation of yours rolling.


I haven’t watched “new” movies and shows in years now. The reason for that is that I feel that Hollywood mostly produces remakes (of foreign movies; see Oldboy, Ring, Ju-On, REC, etc), reboots and sequels. And even the stuff that isn’t associated with a franchise feels like I’ve already seen it before.

There’s a lot of hype getting stirred up before the movies shows come out and the trailers full of spoilers don’t help (although this has been going on for many years now, I remember 10 years or so ago watching a comedy with some friends and being disappointed that all the funny scenes were already in the trailer).

On top of that, some studios and their PR department make it seem like their movies are THE non-plus ultra. A completely new way of immersive story telling and action experience. Thrilling, exciting, unforgettable. An impressive spectacle that invokes deep emotions throughout the whole spectrum. An epic journey.
And in the end it’s just okay.

“Back in the day” you had movies either coming out in theaters and then on VHS/DVD/Bluray or direct-to-disc releases.
Now you have exclusives for each video streaming service to assure people subscribe. And to keep them hooked and paying they stretch it out. There’s always a new exclusive show or movie coming out. And tbh, I don’t care at all. I’d rather pay for a Bluray once and get to watch it as often as I want and not live in uncertainty, not knowing when it will be removed from the streaming catalog.
On top of that streaming service are raising their subscription plans. Why? Because the amount of movies/shows in their catalog is increasing? Are there significant improvement regarding quality and convenience that justify suddenly having to pay more?

Call me old. Call me a boomer. It’s not that all movies and shows of the past were perfect 10/10s. There was a lot of trash and mediocre stuff too. And even glorified crap that was put on a pedestal (I don’t get the hype about Friends).
idk…maybe I just turned into a bitter, cynical asshole who doesn’t enjoy anything and keeps living in the past, feeding of nostalgia.

I’m not sure if I put all my thoughts and opinions into this “rant”, but that’s how I feel about the current state of movies and shows.

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