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The Future of TV Films

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  • Beau S.
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    #312319

    With material like Behind the Candelabra and now The Normal Heart going to television rather than the theaters, do you think that we may be enterting a new age of TV films where respectable, potentially theater-worthy films go to places like HBO and Showtime instead?

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    Actriz
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    #312321

    Television has begun to be (and in the future will may permanently be) the home for adaptations of plays and other dramatic works. Now with August: Osage County not being nearly the commercial success that everyone expected it to be, more and more Tony-winning dramas will go to television. This has been foreshadowed by Angels in America, A Raisin in the Sun and now The Normal Heart.

    Imagine if August: Osage County went to HBO. It could’ve played its entire original 3-hour running time. Streep would be a lock, Roberts would probably be in lead where she belongs, who knows how many supporting actress nominations it would have gotten and Chris Cooper would be nominated as well.

    I expect recent plays like Vanya & Sonia, Other Desert Cities, Lucky Guy, Reasons to Be Pretty, Jerusalem, Motherfucker with the Hat, etc to go to HBO as well. I’d much rather they play theatrically, but this is becoming the new normal.

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    Icky
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    #312322

    I said in the ‘Normal Heart’ thread that we still only get a truly great TV movie once every three or four years (Behind the Candelbra is nothing special beyond the acting). Miniseries, whether they’re legit miniseries or long running, will continue to out shine the standalone films. It’s difficult to imagine the overall quality of TV movies elevating any time soon because HBO produces these movies for awards not for acclaim and the broadcast cable networks want things that are sensationalistic and gets ratings. I’m not seeing truly idiosyncratic or daring or challenging work in the gist of TV films yet.

    On another hand, there have been theater worthy TV movies for decades. They’re just now getting bigger names to sign on, but the overall quality remains spotty and they’re still rarely comparable to the best theater releases of the given year.   

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    Gabriel
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    #312323

    Agreed. Most TV movies are bad, and exist only as Emmy bait for Oscar nominees/winning actors. Behind the Candelabra was ridiculously overrated.

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    Anonymous
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    #312324

    Agreed that TV films are mostly either shrugworthy or notable merely as Emmy vehicles, rather than legitimately great works. 

    And I would much rather have Streep get more lead acting Oscar noms than Emmy bids, personally. 

    Personally I’m not really into film remakes of films, so I’m fine with recent things like Mildred Pierce (though, yes, it’s technically a miniseries), Trip to Bountiful, and Steel Magnolias being TV projects.

    On Metacritic, 21stc B+ 10+ reviews one-season miniseries: Bleak House 93 (05), Pacific 87 (10), Band of Brothers 86 (01), Top of the Lake 86 (13)
    TV films: Longford 88 (06), Trip to Bountiful 85 (14)

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    Atypical
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    #312325

    I’m glad that the quality and caliber of telefilms are increasing in recent years. I hope it continues, as I see television to be the place where more insular material/adaptations reside, and I’m fine with that.

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    Icky
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    #312326

    I’m not seeing an increase in quality just star power (although the increased star power began about a decade ago). I haven’t seen any TV movies these last few years that’s as good as Wit, Flight 93 or Temple Grandin. Nor have they been comparable to the very best miniseries in recent years. I’m not getting the hype besides A-listers winning more Emmys.   

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    Riley
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    #312327

    On Metacritic, 21stc B+ 10+ reviews one-season miniseries: Bleak House 93 (05), Pacific 87 (10), Band of Brothers 86 (01), Top of the Lake 86 (13)
    TV films: Longford 88 (06), Trip to Bountiful 85 (14)

    Yeah, not that I have seen them, but these TV movies of recent years have not actually been that great and there are not even that many of them.  Something with just an 82 on Metacritic should not be able to easily sweep every award possible.

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