Ten Deep 11.28.13: Top 10 Things in Movies & TV to Be Thankful For
Posted by Mike Gorman on 11.28.2013
From cable TV giving us great shows like Breaking Bad and streaming video services to the arrival of movies like Man of Steel on home video and more, 411's Mike Gorman looks at the top 10 things to be thankful in movies and TV!
"Ten Deep 11.28.13: Another Ten Deep Thanksgiving"
Picture it, 2010 and a not so young man has recently taken the reins of 411Mania's Ten Deep. It was an exciting time for him and one for which he was very thankful. That year he decided to take a different approach to one of his November columns, specifically the one that fell on Thanksgiving Day. He shared with the internet all of the things that he felt movie and TV fans should be thankful for. Three years later, he's doing it again!
That's right! It's time for another very special Ten Deep Thanksgiving. I have a brand new list of things I think are pretty exciting for movie & TV fans right now, things we need to express some gratitude over. This list is very much about me, I hope you will use the comments section to share things you are thankful for in our little corner of the fandom world. Before we get to the countdown, let's pause for a moment and get into the Turkey Day mood with Tracy Morgan.
10. Movie Theater Loyalty Programs
If you're like me, you like going to the movies... ok, people who are not at all like me also enjoy the movies, I will concede that. Anyway, if you love the movies you probably also would love to get some freebies while you are there and this is where the Movie Theater Loyalty Programs come into play. We are used to having loyalty cards for places like supermarkets and drug stores but now I am incredibly thankful that movie theaters are getting in on the game. In most instances, they give you a card that they swipe each time you visit and you earn a variety of free items including concession discounts, free popcorn and even free movies. How could this be a bad thing? If you are not doing this at your local theater, why not?? Get your card and start earning your rewards. And believe me, free movies and free popcorn definitely beat 10 cents off canned goods.
9. Summer Movies are Back!
Sometimes the life of a movie gets hectic and we miss a film or three that we wanted to see in the theaters. Thankfully they come out on DVD/Blu-Ray/Pay Per View a few months later. In November we get to see the release of all the films that peppered this past summer. Now is the perfect time to gather your loved ones and catch the films you missed. Or maybe even give a film a second chance, yes I am talking to all the Man of Steel haters out there. Heck now might be a great time to check out World War Z, it's worth it!
8. Tech is More Accessible
Stick with me on this one and I hope it will make some sense. If you a real movie & TV geek, you have probably been on the cutting edge of the associated technology that has been blossoming over the past few years, ie. You've always had a blu-ray player & watched videos from your computer on your TV. But to others these, and other devices, have seemed inaccessible and only for those with deep pockets to possess. Well now the prices are dropping and the devices are becoming easier to figure out. It seems wild to me that blu-ray players are so cheap now and things Google Chromecast bring the internet to your TV with a hand-held device. Also the integration of media into gaming systems has been an awesome tool for many people. And it seems like now developers might actually be trying to build functionality with an eye on cost into many devices. It truly can only go up for us all from here!
7. Cable channels are More than Movies
It used to be that cable channels, both basic and pay, were the places that movies were shown and re-runs went to die, but no more! The past few years we have been treated to an ever growing market of original programming that puts most of the old school networks to shame. These shows have included such fantastic programming like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Newsroom, and Game of Thrones. It started with networks like HBO and AMC but has blossomed to include so many more channels who are taking risks and giving some truly original shows a chance. This item definitely leads into the next...
6. Scripted TV Makes a Comeback
Just a year or two ago I was getting very afraid for television. It seemed that every network had come to the conclusion that "reality TV" shows were much easier to produce and so much cheaper than traditional scripted comedies and dramas. Every network was flooding the airwaves with newer and more ridiculous "reality" while the scripted shows were getting canceled left and right. Now I am speaking directly to the traditional networks, not necessarily the cable channels. Yes the cable networks are flooded with reality shows but it wasn't until CBS, NBC, ABC, etc started replacing their traditional programming that I truly got nervous. And then something happened, cable channels were putting out well done scripted shows and people were watching them. I think this woke up the older networks and got them back in the game. Shows like NBC's The Blacklist and CBS' The Crazy Ones are proof that the reality takeover is well, over, and that new scripted shows continue to blossom and are given chances to do so.
5. Oscar Season is Upon Us
If movie studios had "Sweeps Week!" like television networks do, it would be the end of the current year and the start of the next. Studios hold most of the films that they want to have in contention for this year's big award shows, like the Oscars, until this season. They release them now so that they are fresher in the minds of the viewers and this is a gift to us as movie fans. The Summer and Fall have faded, and so have all the fun activities that accompany them. We need something else to do, and soon the movie theaters will be packed with excellent viewing options. It is also a fun time to keep track of what you have seen and still need to catch to feel comfortable completing your office Oscar pool ballot!
4. Genre Shows Galore
I'm thankful that TV shows that feature supernatural or sci-fi elements, aka Genre Shows, are no longer segregated to networks like SyFy or even the CW. Now you can find these shows popping up on nearly every network in HBO, AMC, NBC, ABC, etc. In fact, it seems like network executives have seen the value (yes, I mean money!) of these shows and are green lighting them left and right. This includes new properties and adapted shows from overseas, thank you BBC. I do worry that maybe they might flood the market with too many shows that are not of the highest quality leading to audience burn out, but for now I will simply sit back, relax and enjoy shows like True Blood, Grimm, The Walking Dead, Being Human, Once Upon a Time, and Haven,
3. Comic Books
I am incredibly thankful for comic books for a variety of reasons. First they provide the inspiration and content for many movies and TV shows that you we have already seen and many that are currently in production. There are the obvious adaptations like The Avengers and The Walking Dead, but also some lesser known comics have inspired The Mask, Men in Black, The Boondocks, and even Ducktales. Aside from simply providing content though comics have started to provide a medium for hard core fans to continue to follow the exploits of their favorite characters after the movie ends and the TV show is canceled. These continuations include popular runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The X-Files. As a long time reader and collector, I happy to see comics starting to get the credit they deserve for supporting other forms of visual media.
2. My DVR
Recently, my DVR died and it hurt. I mean, it about 70% full of my favorite TV shows and movies that I either hadn't watched yet or was saving for repeat viewings. And while it is melodramatic I honestly had a moment where I felt a bit lost when I realized it was not turning back on. Our DVRs have become ever present tools in our media menagerie but there actual used to be a time when recording your TV shows meant finding a VHS tape with enough room, finding the exact time of the showing by reading the TV Guide, and then hoping you programmed the VCR properly to record. And god forbid if someone else in your family came home and wanted to use the TV while you were recording, and changed the channel. You may be too young to remember this but it was devastating to come home hoping to watch your favorite series and finding out that someone changed the channel and recorded something else. I lived through this so believe me you are lucky if you did not. Now we have our DVRs and I could not be more thankful for one touch recording, the ability to search for programs, and of course the ability to watch at least one other program while you record, if not 5 or more! The DVR has also removed commercials from our lives with the touch of the Fast Forward button. That simple fact alone makes the creator of the DVR, Anthony Wood, worthy of a handwritten thank you note! I must also thank 411Mania's own Al Norton of "Two Tivos To Paradise" fame for reminding me of the importance of the DVR. Check out his column when you get the chance!
1. Netflix/Amazon Instant/Hulu
And now that I have spent most of this list praising TV networks and movie theaters, I am going to conclude this week of giving thanks by celebrating their mortal enemies, the websites that deliver TV and movie content. I think this selection has to be obvious to most of you as "Netflix it!" or "Watch it later on Hulu" are phrases that completely entered into our vernacular. I remember when people looked at you a bit sideways when you told them you subscribed to Netflix but now you might find your friends dumbstruck if you tell them you are not a subscriber of at least one, if not more of these services. That said, there is so much awesome to be thankful for within these services that it is hard to summarize it all here. I will highlight two things that we can all agree they have brought to our lives, first "binge watching." This is when you discover a series on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video and you watch an entire season at a time. It might be a new show or a collection of series long gone that you remember fondly or never got to see the first time around. These services are now also starting to offer original content that rivals anything you might find on network or cable TV, including new seasons of shows like Arrested Development, brand new series like Orange is the New Black or the recently announced slate of Marvel Studios shows. This new content will literally change the way people think about and consume television. I think we will be thankful for that in the end!
Speaking of new ways to watch TV, I leave you this week with one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Pass the jelly beans and toast, it's time for dinner!
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