Hollywood has always been the peak of superstardom; a world of glamorous red carpets, celebrity power couples and affluent careers. It’s and industry that many people still regard as the ultimate goal for aspiring actors. However, Hollywood today is a far cry from its glamorous and innovative origins. Today, Hollywood is an industry that is sacrificing original storytelling and creative content to churn out franchises, adaptations and an endless stream of superhero movies. I’m not saying that these movies are bad. On the contrary, I’m a big fan of a decent franchise. However, in an industry becoming increasingly dominated by platforms like Netflix and HBO, Hollywood has fallen to the backburner in favour of mini-series and multi-platform storytelling that boasts a range of original content.
In churning out sixty different Avengers movies, Hollywood is desperately trying to cling on to their power in the world of entertainment by producing movies that they think people want to see. And for now, as far as Box Office records show, people do want to see these movies. But with reviews being consistently bad for movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad it seems like Hollywood has gone into overdrive and that, in its current state, will soon burn out. But in a world where original television content is becoming the most popular what is to come for original movies?
Stranger Things, the immensely popular Netflix miniseries, is a perfect example of this phenomenon. As a television series paying homage to ’80s popular culture, most notably the work of Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas and Stephen King, Stranger Things it could have easily been a movie. However, if it were a movie I can’t help but think that Stranger Things would have appeared more like copy rather than a tribute to these iconic ’80s films. And with remakes like Ghostbusters and The Rocky Horror Picture Show being negatively received by fans, it certainly seems as though TV series have the upper hand when it comes to producing original content that still pays homage to other films, directors or eras of cinema.
In an increasingly digitalised world that is so saturated with content from places like YouTube, miniseries like Stranger Things strikes the perfect balance between producing just enough content but not too much. Movies nowadays always leave me wanting more. And while I suppose that’s the point since everything is a franchise anyway, I’m inclined to favour marathoning an eight-episode series over watching a single movie then waiting a year and a half for the next one. Where films offer us a fleeting glimpse into an alternate universe TV series allow us to fully immerse ourselves in a world full of complex developed storylines and characters without overloading us.
TV series paying tribute to classic films are becoming and increasingly popular way of drawing inspiration from other content but still maintaining their own originality. MTV’s Scream TV Series is another example of this. Whilst it is not critically acclaimed like Stranger Things, Scream does show how television is able to take on much-loved classic films and pay homage to these without outright copying by using television as a medium.
As TV series continue to become increasingly cinematic in their quality of production they pose an even larger threat to the sustainability of Hollywood as the biggest mogul of entertainment. Game of Thrones is the perfect example of this. The final two episodes of season 6 entitled ‘Battle of the Bastards’ and ‘Winds of Winter’ produced some of the most cinematically and technically beautiful images ever on television. Production quality is no longer something that separates television and film. This, in conjunction with the ability of Netflix and other television platforms to create an increasing amount of quality content only further demonstrates how Hollywood is in significant danger of dying out.
And if this is the case, as it certainly seems to be, what does the future hold for original movies?