Think TV is better than film? Then you may have a case of Breaking Bad Syndrome.
Oh for fuck’s sake. You know, I’m as big a fan of wild, outlandish statements as the next man. On one alcohol-fuelled night, I fiercely proclaimed myself capable of curling 30 reps of 40 kg on one arm. This I cannot do, obviously; I’m not Ronnie Coleman. But in fairness, I was drunk, which is an excuse that can’t be applied to the thousands of narrow-minded idiots who, in the fits of a shuddering Breaking Bad induced orgasm, have cried shrilly that television is better than film. It’s a declaration that reeks of hyperbolic hipsterish hysteria in the wake of the finale of Breaking Bad, and thus led to me giving this particular phenomenon the name of Breaking Bad Syndrome.
Breaking Bad Syndrome is a serious medical condition whereby the patient shows symptoms of controversy-seeking behaviour
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this ailment, Breaking Bad Syndrome is a serious medical condition whereby the patient shows aggressive symptoms of anti-mainstream and controversy-seeking behaviour. They are, more often than not, not overly familiar with the film and television industry and in most cases they got into Breaking Bad just before the last season. These people are idiots – I recommend avoiding them at all costs. They get whipped up in the whirlwind of Breaking Bad lusting and, in the ecstasy of the moment, proclaim television to be better than film. It’s a ridiculous argument on almost every level.
For one thing, most people seem to forget that television is mostly one massive steaming turd. A steaming turd with a few nuggets of gold I’ll grant you, but a steaming turd nonetheless. You only have to flick through the Radio Times to see the sheer mountain of crap that’s on nowadays. Just because Downton Abbey is ‘good’ doesn’t mean you can ignore the seething mass of drivel on secondary BBC and ITV channels, as well as all the soaps, reality shows and talent contests that run all year long. And this is only on the British channels – don’t get me started on the Americans. Just look at all of the new shows that get culled after only the first five episodes have aired. And they’re the really dire ones. Shit still gets through the sieve.
But no, who cares about Dads, Cougar Town and Elementary? Breaking Bad! Who cares about The Vampire Diaries, Nikita and Nashville? Breaking Bad! Who cares about…well you get my point. Yes, Breaking Bad was brilliant, but it was just a diamond drop in an ocean of oil. The vast majority of what is on television is garbage. And now even Breaking Bad has finished, plunging all TV hipsters into a deep depression that not even a trip to Shoreditch can heal. The absence of Breaking Bad does highlight the dearth of wealth in television at the moment, further revealing the shortsightedness of bigging television up to such a ridiculous extent.
The vast majority of what is on television is garbage. If there was a ‘golden age’ of television, it has come to an end
The argument would have had a lot more credibility a few of years ago when, coupled with already established shows like Dexter and Mad Men, the likes of Homeland, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones were all starting out incredibly strongly. But for the most part, they all peaked in their first seasons and have slowly gotten worse and worse whilst even once refreshing sitcoms have become lazy and generic (see How I Met Your Mother). Make no doubt about it; if ever there was a ‘golden age’ of television, it has come to an end.
The point is, people have gotten carried away. Way, way too carried away. More than anything, there’s a sense that those who proclaim television’s greatness over film are all trying to rebel against tradition. Film is the goliath juggernaut that’s been rumbling and devouring for decades, whilst television is the preppy underdog daring to take on the big daddy. Film has been a mainstay of our culture for so long it’s become taken for granted. Something, admittedly, that has not been helped by the drivel coming out of Hollywood nowadays. But those who criticise film are doing so with all the rashness of a Joe Hart charge.
Yes, there are bad films – how couldn’t there be with the sheer number of them that are made in a year? But the people who champion television are those who in all likelihood only go to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster or famous face. They’re the ones who think liking Danny Boyle is ‘edgy’. They know about Let Me In and not Let the Right One In. Film is just as great as it ever was, you just have to look a bit harder for it now.
This whole argument about what is better between television and film is just plain wrong. That’s a fight you’re not going to win
I realise that I probably sound like a pretentious cock right now, but that’s not my intent. I enjoy a good summer blockbuster as much as the next man and I still love finding a good TV show. But this whole argument about what is better between television and film is just plain wrong. You can like watching TV more than a film, that’s fine; it’s your prerogative. But you can’t say that it’s better, because that’s a fight you’re not going to win. It’s a knee jerk opinion forged in a crucible of highly publicised and hyped up television shows that have the advantage of years and countless hours in order to build their characters. Let television be television and film be film and leave it at that.
Featured image: AMC
Inset images: ABC; AMC