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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.