Well yes, I admit it: for the longest time (and as far as I can remember), I have been a TV snob. Forgive me? I have always seen television content as a way to keep our brains off between two commercials. And oh snap: I loathe commercials.
When I was 21 I discovered Sex and the City on DVD, which meant I could watch it without commercials and without waiting a week for the next episode (patience is not my main quality). And I fell fast and hard! Not only did I find it to be incredibly well written and really funny, but it also thought me a lot about relationships and, we'll... other people's sex life! As a late bloomer who hadn't fallen in love yet, it was really revealing. Back then I was a bachelor student at McGill University and bartended to support myself through school. Sunday was my only day off and it became my designated Sex and the City marathon day, where I would even refuse to answer the phone. As much as I loved the series though, it hadn't reconciled me with me TV yet. I used to say "Hugh, I hate ALL TV... except Sex and the City".
Flash forward 7 years. I had completed a master's in literature but had chosen to make filmmaking my career. I was now engaged to Ramiro and I was obsessed (...well, still am) with all things cinema. I held the film format as the holy graal of audio-visual content; TV could never compete. Then a friend recommended Ram and I check out Entourage, as it takes place in Hollywood, at the heart of the industry we are most passionate about. We did watch it and, for said reasons, loved it.
But I kind of explained my love for the series on the fact that the subject was so fascinating to me. And kept on dissing TV every chance I got (I'm sorry!). I even interrupted my cable services, stating to the technician on the phone that too me, TV was evil. Such a drama queen I be! And even though TV was targeting the adult audience more and more, I still felt like most series were nothing short of a night time soap.
Then there were the strikes in Hollywood and the landscape started to change. TV shows became a more financially viable product than films and got the attention of some big players I had much admiration for. Before we knew it, a new kind of TV was emerging, one that would impress us with it's production and artistic qualities. But I wasn't ready yet and needed a lot more convincing.
That's when Games of Thrones emerged and made a wave that was hard to ignore. One of Ramiro's colleagues let us borrow Season 1 and we skeptically dove in. Ramiro didn't get hooked at all and although I was a bit annoyed with all the sexual content at first, I was impressed with the production quality so I kept on watching and became fascinated by the character of Daenerys Targaryen. It was the first time I was so taken with a TV character and it created an opening in my mind: maybe some TV shows were worth watching after all! So I decided to give Breaking Bad. Unfortunatly it made me remember that, although addictive, TV acting, photography and production value often weren't my cup of tea. My snob attitude persisted. But more and more big names that I loved where giving the TV format their own spin and new ways of watching TV shows (online, Netflix...) made me want to keep on trying. Soon it was David Fincher's turn; as one of my favourite directors, I was really curious to see the series he was producing with the amazing Kevin Spacey as lead. If TV was now cool enough for them, who was I to be a snob? My attitude started to feel more like close mindedness.
House of Cards was like a revelation to me. It had shown me that TV could be cynical and hold a message about our society and the power pyramid. Who knew! When we were on our trip to Cuba, we watched the whole first season late at night land I was hooked. Something shifted inside of me and I started seeing TV as what it could be instead of what it had been in the past. It seemed to me like it was offering a very strong voice nowadays.
For a whole year though I didn't have much time to discover new series and the interest wasn't really there neither. Until someone noticed my passion for all things horror and offered me the whole 7 seasons of True Blood. I have to admit I was skeptical. I had seen Twilight, wasn't it just the same thing with a lot more sex? But during my vacation I started to watch it and before I knew it, I was in love. I didn't even mind the sketchy photography and often terrible lighting. I got sucked into this universe and discovered that if you're gutsy (as show creator Alan Ball is), TV was a place you could create a world where reality was out the window. A world where you could stay fr more than 90-120 minutes. And then it happened: Eric Northman was introduced.
I'm the girl that never had a crush on a celebrity. Brad Pitt doesn't do it for me and if I met Tom Cruise, I wouldn't faint. BUT ERIC NORTHMAN! Makes my heart beat like a little girl. So if for no other reason, I love True Blood for making me fall for an unconventional bad ass character and proving my cynical attitude wrong. And for having a cool format that makes you feel like you are watching the longest film ever.
Since opening myself to Eric, I have been a lot more willing to try new TV shows. Sure, not all TV is mind blowing and I'm still not planning on having cable any time soon, because my dislike of commercials is still very much alive. But I am proud of the networks that think outside the box when it comes to financing and screening their shows, noticeably Netflix and HBO (although I could do with a bit less sex HBO). It's very inspiring to see industry leaders adapt to new realities.
I'm excited to see where the industry will take the series format to next and also look forward to discovering other series, like Homeland and The Leftovers. I'm also WAY excited about season 3 of House of Cards, coming this february (have you seen the teaser?)
If I have learned anything in this de-snobbing process, it's to not generalize when it comes to audio-visual content and that having an open mind can be very inspiring in the most unexpected way. I'm gonna run with this one and apply it to more than TV. Death to snobbism!
Thanks for letting me share this insight on my somewhat immaturity on the subject, you guys are the best! Virginie XO