Why Is It So Hard to Get Serial Drama Right in 2016?

As TV drama becomes more traditionally novelistic, announcing exactly how long a story is going to take and assuring us that the end of a season will be the End, we can breathe a sigh of relief, because we know that at least one thing we’ve invested our emotions in will set an endpoint and stick to it and let us move on to something else.

This speaks to me. I don’t remember the last show I watched past the third season. I’m sure I’m missing out on many wonderful experiences, but… to each their own. Cf. streaming TV as a new genre.

Why Is It So Hard to Get Serial Drama Right in 2016?

“Back to the Future” is now all back and no future | MZS | Roger Ebert

The passage of time makes the whole trilogy seem wise and humble, in ways it never could seem in the eighties or nineties or aughts, because the entire thing is really and truly a time capsule—not of any temporal-physical reality, but of a particular strain of American cultural posturing circa 1985-1990. All movies, particularly time-travel movies, have a touch of this. But the “Future” films are different because, unlike the vast majority of time travel stories, they are anchored very strongly in the “present.” The present is not merely a framing device or a launching pad for adventures, as is the case in most time travel films. All visits to the past or future are related to the present – and the stakes are not just personal (Marty’s existence, his parents’ happiness), they are cultural. Marty doesn’t just change his family, he changes the town, and by implication, American life.

“Back to the Future” is now all back and no future | MZS | Roger Ebert

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review & Film Summary (2015) | Roger Ebert

When a series about a handsome and charming male stripper serves up two dud love stories in a row, you have to assume it’s intentional – that the films are genuflecting to the idea of including a “love interest,” but not trying too hard to make a convincing one, because it might interfere in with the films’ true, great, ongoing romance, between the audience’s eyeballs and Channing Tatum’s body.

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review & Film Summary (2015) | Roger Ebert

One of my general rules is, if you’re on the fence about a movie/TV show/etc and you mull it over for a week, you liked it.

Matt Zoller Seitz. Also applies to books, concerts, paintings…. people?

Directors of the Decade No. 9: The sensualists – Salon.com

On Michael Mann, Terrence Malick, David Lynch, Wong Kar-wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien, etc.:

The sensualists are bored with dramatic housekeeping. They’re interested in sensations and emotions, occurrences and memories of occurrences. If their films could be said to have a literary voice, it would fall somewhere between third person and first — perhaps as close to first person as the film can get without having the camera directly represent what a character sees.

Yet at the same time sensualist directors have a respect for privacy and mystery. They are attuned to tiny fluctuations in mood (the character’s and the scene’s). But they’d rather drink lye than tell you what a character is thinking or feeling – or, God forbid, have a character tell you what he’s thinking or feeling. The point is to inspire associations, realizations, epiphanies — not in the character, although that sometimes happens, but in the moviegoer.

You can tell by watching the sensualists’ films, with their startling cuts, lyrical transitions, off-kilter compositions and judicious use of slow motion as emotional italics, that they believe we experience life not as dramatic arcs or plot points or in-the-moment revelations, but as moments that cohere and define themselves in hindsight — as markers that don’t seem like markers when they happen.

Directors of the Decade No. 9: The sensualists – Salon.com