Sunday, January 15, 2006

Creation Vs Creation

There's a harsh debate going on at the moment among TV geeks like myself. Lots of us are trying hard to prove that TV is gradually becoming "better than film". Series like Firefly, Lost, Veronica Mars, Arrested Development and what-have-you have gone miles beyond most films we know of -well, in a sense.

Well, you know what? TV is better than nothing. And neither is film. Or any other creative medium for that matter. There's no comparison, unless you compare specific characteristics, shared by both media in the "contest", and only using specific examples for each. "The acting / character development / whatever in This-and-that TV series is better than that in Some-or-other film", say. But no medium is, in itself, better than any other.

I remember how people used to compare film with the theatre, a while ago. I think it's been established by now that there's no actual comparison between the two. It's not a "shame" for an actor to star in films instead of theatrical plays anymore, I hope, and everyone knows that a theatrical director is not the same as a film director, for example. Each medium has different requirements, different talents to showcase, different focal points and different guidelines for expression through it. So what gives?

Is it that hard to make the same distinction among film and TV? The latter offers serialised storytelling, on a small screen, with different writers and a different "code". Why would it be compared to film, and why would it want to be "better"? It's just different...

I think what they're trying to express is the fact that television series have started to realise their full potential, as a motion video form of serialised fiction. And yes, it was about time it did. It's about time TV becomes accepted for what it is, or what it can be: an art of its own.

It's just that, after film achieved the title of "the 7th art", we've just lost count. Throughout the 20th century, and the first 6 years or so of the 21st, which we're now experiencing, a myriad of different artforms, with extraordinary artistic potential, have emerged and achieved public recognition in one way or another. From graphic design to photography, from advertising to comics, from 3D animation to graffiti, and even less recognised - to this day at least - forms of creation, like webcomics, flash animations, machinima, you name it...

Some day someone artier than me, someone who lectures in a university instead of just pretending to study in one, will come along and say "Hey, you know what? Anything anyone does to express oneself, originally and creatively and with any kind of skill, is an art... Who's counting?"... And everyone will say "Hey, we knew that all along!"... Well, you know what? It's time to act like it. Humph.

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