Have TV & Film Already Merged?

Of course they have. You just have to be a member of the “VR Generation” to see it! Here’s what we mean:

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For the VR generation, the differences between TV and movies may already be irrelevant
by Steven Zeitchik

The upcoming crime drama “The Night Of” would seem like a prototypical cable show — commissioned by HBO, airing for eight episodes, designed as summer appointment viewing.

Yet look beneath and a film beast stirs. “The Night Of” was co-written by Steven Zallian, an Oscar winner, and stars John Turturro; neither has ever been a key figure on a TV series. Every episode was directed by Zallian — highly atypical for a TV show. The scripts were also all finished before a single moment was shot  — unlike much of television, in which writers often stay just an episode or two ahead production.

If any doubts existed about the project’s film nature, they were wiped away upon a visit to “The Night Of’s” post-production facilities in New York. Zallian was about to celebrate his year-long anniversary working on the piece, all before the public has even caught the first glimpse of what he was doing. That’s creeping into auteur territory.


It’s far from the only project that dances across the film-television line. A documentary about O.J. Simpson, a nonfiction take on the celibate Laker A.C. Green from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, and Chloe Sevigny’s more fictional story (one hopes) of a girl who turns into a cat—all are examples of projects you couldn’t, for all the jewels in Blake Lively’s closet, slap with a traditional definition.

The Sevigny piece would seem to be a film–it’s made by veteran movie producers and debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. But it’s a short, almost like a mini-TV episode.? And it will receive its commercial debut on the women’s news-and-lifestyle website Refinery29 — a space not known for cinema.

Also on ESPN is “O.J. Simpson: Made in America,” from Ezra Edelman. It is, length-wise, the opposite of these projects, clocking in at nearly eight hours. That’s five episodes, airing over five nights this June?. Seems like pretty standard TV.

Except it was made by a feature director, conceived first as a filmbefore growing in length, and was shot, as Edelman tells it, to be a cohesive whole. So confident are ESPN and Edelman in this idea that they’re qualifying “O.J.” for the Oscars by giving it a theatrical debutthis week.

As questions of blurring arise between film and TV, it’s worth asking how specific creators and companies are dealing with these changes. But it also pays to take a broader look. Film and television have for decades been the twin pillars on which our entertainment empire was built. Yet it’s increasingly apparent that the two are becoming more alike, more commingled, less distinguishable. What was once a clear delineation is now a blurry line. Traditional labels — and maybe a whole lot more — are slowly being upended….

Read it all at LA Times