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Old February 19 2012, 08:17 PM   #451
Temis the Vorta
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
I find it hard to believe that after umpteen thousand years of storytelling, short stories will suddenly become extinct.
No format is going to become totally extinct, but they ebb and flow in how common they are.
Exactly. Fashion is different now than it was 40 years ago, and will be different again 40 years from now.
I don't think of changes that are driven by economics and technology as being "fashion," which I associate more with the efforts of individual artists - more idiosyncratic than what's happening in TV, which is driven by rational and impersonal factors.

High fashion in the clothing industry is not driven by technology and it operates in defiance of economics, with clothes being displayed on catwalks that no human would ever want to wear in public. A few individual designers have an outsized impact on high fashion, and they deliberately orchestrate changes from one season to the next in order to create demand. That's "fashion," but that's not very parallel to anything going on in the TV business.

But at this point, we're just quibbling over semantics. If you want to define "fashion" as any sort of change over time, whatever the cause, then fine - that's defining the term so broadly as to sap it of any meaning.

And if there are future trends in the offing that will make TV do a 180 back towards the episodic structure, I can't envision it. The long term trend will be towards more individualization - YouTube is the future. Serialization vs episodic structure will become a moot point in a world of piano playing cats.

The arts should be driven more by creativity than the demands of advertisers.
Well, it will be a mixed bag. The best way to envision the future of internet video (post-TV) is to look at how Facebook games pay for themselves. There are three methods: subscription, ads and "virtual goods" (stuff you buy within the game, usually for pennies).

Subscriptions are a minor part of the whole because people on the internet resist paying for anything, at least not directly; when they do pay, it's in dribs and drabs (virtual goods). Even stuff you subscribe to is still likely to have ads, just less onerous ads.

So you'll have some stuff which is more artistic and personalized for a smaller niche market, and for that you might have to pay a subscription. Or, there will be more commercial stuff, with more ads.

And there will be the highly commercial and manipulative segment, which is free to start with, but where the "art" is calculated to get you to keep paying for virtual goods, because it's necessary to the entertainment experience. I also expect more of a return to the soap opera model of corporations directly funding entertainment and getting their stamp all over it, so that you can't avoid the advertising because it's everywhere, maybe just not obvious.

I have only seen bits and pieces of a few foreign(Non-English) shows, but serialization seems quite heavy in what I have seen. The various Spanish language telenovelas, the Korean soaps. We're certainly not alone in wanting escapism in our entertainment.
Escapism is a different idea from serialization vs episodic structure. A show can have any structure and still be escapist, or it can be profound and meaningful. And yeah, serialized shows are very common all over the world. In America, the episodic structure was more useful to the old model of three networks/no rewatch ability/need to capture channel-surfers.

Maybe in other countries, that system didn't predominate, so the episodic structure never caught on. In any case, technology and business factors are changing so that new competitors are emerging where the episodic structure simply isn't needed as much. Why continue something when the original rationale is vanishing?

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; February 19 2012 at 08:32 PM.
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