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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."