Addict vs. Addict: Why TV is Better than MOVIES

TheREELaddict: One of the major reasons movies (seen on the big screen) are simply better than TV is immersion. When the lights come down in the theatre, the world around you simply disappears. Your life disappears. Your senses are led away, and whatever you’re watching becomes your world for those two hours. It’s all you see (compliments of a dark theatre and big screen), all you hear (thanks to excellent theatre surround sound), all you feel, all you know. It’s precisely because you give yourself up to film, and because your senses are so immersed in the experience, that you leave yourself open to be so affected by it. It’s why when a movie fails us we’re so often bitterly disappointed. For two hours we forfeited our lives in the hopes that the film would fill the resulting vacuum with something meaningful (whether entertaining or artsy).

For the TV Addict’s rebuttal,

TheTVaddict: In a perfect world, I’d agree with you. But when this TV Addict attends a movie, the world around me fails to disappear thanks to the five morons who still can’t get it through their head to turn off their cell phone, the idiot who can’t live without his Blackberry, the girl who waits until ten minutes into the film to go to the bathroom, the chatty couple behind me and of course, the dreaded loud chewer. Movies used to be a vacation from the everyday. Yet in this modern age of convenience, I find myself spending more time pondering exactly how much money the theatre makes off the $6 bag of popcorn I just bought and why I’m not at home amidst the quiet, comfortable affordability of my glorious HD TV.

Next up on Addict vs. Addict (Part II), Stories.

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  • Perhaps this will be discussed in future installments of Addict vs. Addict (is this a new, ongoing thing?), but a few more reasons I think TV & movies differ — and why I ultimately prefer TV shows — are anticipation, depth, variety, and what I’ll call component forgiveness.

    Anticipation. You look forward to a movie for months, maybe even years. Sometimes the wait can feel so long, it’s more frustrating than exciting. When it’s finally released, it’s two hours, and then it’s over. Whether satisfied or disappointed, the deed is done. Even if a sequel is warranted, they’re usually three years apart, two if you’re lucky, one if you were Lord of the Rings. With TV, there’s a new episode to look forward to every week, sometimes longer during a hiatus, but the next piece of the story is rarely more than a year away.

    Depth. A movie usually presents the bare essentials to tell a story. It often does it well, but it has to do it quick. Often it leaves you wanting more. With TV, seasons are 7 to 26 episodes long. There’s time for characters, settings, subplots, and mysteries to develop. Can anyone imagine shows like Lost, Babylon 5, Jericho, or Prison Break as stand-alone movies? Would you want to watch *only* two hours of House? Wouldn’t Heroes be a complete mess if confined to two hours? Wouldn’t Ugly Betty or Men In Trees look like nothing more than chick-flickish fluff if they were stand-alone movies?

    Variety. Some movies mix drama & comedy, action & romance, etc., but often the tone of a movie confines it a certain path or vice versa. TV allows you to have episodes that are darker than others, funnier than others, or that temporarily focus on different settings or guest characters such as ST:TNG’s Lower Decks, Babylon 5’s A View From the Gallery, or Scrubs’ Their Story. In movies, support characters are usually just that, support; they don’t always get a story of their own.

    Component Forgiveness. Components of a movie are more blended together. If a particular turning point in the story is unbelievable, it can lose you permanently. If the ending sucks, it can weaken the appeal of the whole movie. With TV, the episodes are it’s componenets, and virtually every show is going to have a stinker of an episode. With TV, you can forgive a bad episode now and then and still love the overall series (an absolute neccessity for any Star Trek fan).

    In movies’ defense, they have one huge thing going for them: greater scope and visual appeal made possible by larger budgets.

  • Amy

    I hadn’t been to the movies in about 6 months before I went to see Juno in Feb (in the UK) and I remembered why – other than the soaring cinema costs. Maybe it was the movie and going at midday that was the problem, but almost every other person in there was about 15 and didn’t stop talking or getting up from their seats throughout.

    The reason I love TV more than movies? With movies you get a beginning, middle and end in two hours, with only so much character development and growth. You can immerse yourself in it completely but you’re pulled back out pretty quickly when the lights come up. With a TV series the writers get so much time (as long as the show isn’t on FOX) to develop their characters. People change, lives change, and in a movie you only get a tiny part of that. I hate to imagine what Battlestar Galactica or Lost would be like condensed to just 2 hours.

  • Nuj

    Not to totally miss the point, but why does one have to be better than the other? 🙂

    I love both movies and TV, for very different reasons, and have yet to allow clueless or inconsiderate moviegoers ruin the experience for me.