News / Arts & Entertainment

Risk-taking Television Series Outshine Formulaic Hollywood Films

Risk-taking Television Series Outshine Formulaic Hollywood Filmsi
X
March 31, 2014 10:11 PM
American television series have evolved to a point where their original stories, well-crafted dialogue and talented casts often trump formulaic Hollywood films. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Penelope Poulou
American television series have evolved to a point where their original stories, well-crafted dialogue and talented casts often trump formulaic Hollywood films.

And there is a wide selection to satisfy every taste.

Character-driven

Consider the new series Turn, the latest from AMC Studios. Based on historical facts about American revolutionaries during the War of Independence, the drama flows like a modern-day espionage film in this character-driven TV series.

Today, most of Turn's young actors are largely unknown. Tomorrow, they could be household names. Heather Lind plays Anna Strong, a historical figure from the late 18th century, who spies on the British
.
“It surprised me and amazed me how specific and hardworking people in TV are right now,” Lind said, “and with material that every episode is like doing a movie."

Seth Numrich, who plays Ben Tallmadge, another revolutionary, says the plethora of quality series has created many opportunities for actors like him.

“All the actors that I know are really excited about the types of characters and storylines that are happening on television,” Numrich said.
 
Actors Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), shoot a scene from the mafia drama, "The Sopranos," in Kearny, New Jersey, March 21, 2007.Actors Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), shoot a scene from the mafia drama, "The Sopranos," in Kearny, New Jersey, March 21, 2007.
x
Actors Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), shoot a scene from the mafia drama, "The Sopranos," in Kearny, New Jersey, March 21, 2007.
Actors Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), shoot a scene from the mafia drama, "The Sopranos," in Kearny, New Jersey, March 21, 2007.

Paving the way

It all started with The Sopranos.

The 1990s gangster drama about the life of New Jersey Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano took risks by creating a gritty, violent show with complex anti-heroes. The Sopranos paved the way for unconventional storytelling and many still hail the show as the greatest TV series ever.

Others root for current favorites such as Frank Darabond’s The Walking Dead.

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker says, gore and zombies aside, the show became popular because of its depth and unique perspective about the struggle to stay human in a zombie-infested world. Darabond says the walking dead are not really the dead but the living.
 
Darabond also credits the studio for developing the series. Once AMC came on board, the pilot and script were revamped and the director was asked to run the series like one of his acclaimed films.
 
Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn, during Walt's chemotherapy treatment during the first season of "Breaking Bad."Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn, during Walt's chemotherapy treatment during the first season of "Breaking Bad."
x
Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn, during Walt's chemotherapy treatment during the first season of "Breaking Bad."
Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn, during Walt's chemotherapy treatment during the first season of "Breaking Bad."

Breaking Bad is another powerful character drama that many consider one of television’s finest. The award-winning show features Walter White, a chemistry teacher with stage-three cancer who becomes a crystal meth kingpin to fund his treatment. Walter is a complex figure that viewers fall in love with.

Trumping film

These are just a few of the layered stories about the human condition on the small screen. Many series run for years, allowing viewers to bond with the characters, something a film cannot effectively do in 90 minutes.

After such huge TV hits, it is not surprising that the cast and crew of the historical series Turn are ebullient that AMC studios added them to its fold.

Executive Producer Barry Josephson, a fan of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, is hopeful Turn can be added to AMC’s successful mix.

And as long as TV studios keep taking risks, experimenting with cutting edge stories, viewers will be watching at home, enjoying quality entertainment at a fraction of the cost of a movie ticket.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."