The Golden Age Of TelevisionAtrios is right about the rise of television as a long form medium, but as usual, and regardless of subject, he generalizes from his own experience both about the present and the past. Film is a specifically visual medium.
Obviously most TV sucks, as do most movies, but for whatever reason movies have long been respected as art while TV has long been rejected a lesser medium.
I like TV more than movies, especially now that we have nice HD wide screen teevees, because I'm not a big fan of short stories. Movies are basically short stories. (Any novel has to be cut to shreds to be turned into a film). They have a beginning, a middle, and end, and it all has to play out over about 2 hoursish. TV has the capability of showing longer stories, of genuinely being long form literature. Not that it is usually great art, of course, but it actually has the greater promise of being so.
For me, there is nothing that anyone has written on cinema that is more moving than Kracauer’s recollection of the first motion picture he saw, as a young boy in the early twentieth century: “What thrilled me so deeply was an ordinary suburban street, filled with lights and shadows which transfigured it.”The change of medium and scale, from projection to glowing box, changes the focus from picture to story. The French New Wave, as literary filmmakers, were also filmmakers for the age of television. Interesting to watch Altman, who started in television, arguing in the early 70s that film has not come of age is an independent form. Flaubert as Angelino. Interesting that he's full of shit, for the same reasons.
Several trees stood about, and there was in the foreground a puddle reflecting invisible house façades and a piece of the sky. Then a breeze moved the shadows, and the façades with the sky below began to waver. The trembling upper world in the dirty puddle—this image has never left me.