Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.


The 'Television' Edition

This week I watched the trailer for the new HBO series True Detective (2013) that premiers on the cable channel in January. The series features movie stars Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey and Michelle Monaghan, and it looks like yet another thrilling addition to HBO's swelling cannon of critical and commercial hits. While debates have raged over the past few years about the relevance of television over movies and vice versa, to me the two mediums can live side by side and actually serve to benefit one another without one enjoying critical consensus or exclusivity over the other.

I remember a few years ago when the gangster themed series, Boardwalk Empire (2010) first arrived on our screens, what this represented to me was the symbiotic modern relationship between cinema and television. The show which starred Steve Buscemi as a gangster Enoch 'Chucky' Thompson had a budget that was comparable to any feature length movie and was produced by Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg. As we know now the television show was a complete success with audiences and critics alike. However to me one of the reasons for its acclaim was its connection to the cinematic history of its producers and stars. Audiences were already well aware of the fact that Scorsese had defined his cinematic legacy by his connection to motion pictures that dealt with the murky world of criminal enterprise in terms of Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).

Paradoxically when you look at Scorsese's back catalogue his movies tend to move across different narrative landscapes that have little to do thematically with the gangster movies he is renowned for. However because of the attachment cinema audiences have to his movies this meant that Boardwalk Empire was always going to be a success because of the name attached to the series. Another result of this factor was that despite the fact the series was not iconoclastic, it still reached an audience and found success because of its relationship to cinema.

I also remember the joyous day in 2007 when the Blu Ray edition of the first series of Mad Men (2007) first arrived on my doorstep. The show was produced by Lionsgate and it was one of the first times I had ever seen the Lionsgate logo on screen. Looking back on this moment now when Lionsgate has grown to be the box office behemoth behind The Hunger Games trilogy and now the Twilight franchise too (the company recently purchased Summit entertainment). It would not be superfluous to suggest that when the Twilight movies are rebooted, then television may well feature in any continuation of that series.

Disney's Marvel studios recently sanctioned the Agents of Shield television show and the latest episode was directly linked to the events of Thor: The Dark World (2013). When you look at the success of the long running television show True Blood, its main character Sookie was played by Canadian actress Anna Paquin. Paquin was already one of the youngest Oscar winners in history for her performance in Jane Campion's The Piano (1993) and she had also featured in three X-Men movies prior to working on the popular vampire series. Homeland features Claire Danes who was already a star after roles in Romeo and Juliet (1996), Stardust (2007) and Terminator: 3 Rise of the Machines (2003). Ironically Dane's career had gained traction from early HBO appearances and on the beautifully surreal series My So Called Life.

  • Claire Danes in Homeland

I would also suggest that the improvement in television over the past eight years has also meant that you get to see your favourite actors feature in more roles and in more arenas. Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer recently appeared in Rush (2013), The Counsellor and she will also feature in the last two Hunger Games movies. While Olivia Wilde went from the schmaltzy but cool teen series The OC to successful Hollywood career. The British actor Benedict Cumberbatch's star has risen to the stratosphere after he redefined Sherlock Homes for the BBC.

My point here is that the union between cinema and television is something to savour as most of us are simply fans of these actors. Now we get to see them on television and on the cinema screen, to me that is something to celebrate. My one caveat would be that I hope this new union does not hinder the potential career of an actor or actress working in TV because the role went to a multiplex star.

In short, next year I will see Matthew McConaughey work with Christopher Nolan for two or more hours, then I will probably sit down with the True Detective box set and watch him for eight episodes of crime drama. For that fact alone the union between movies and TV can only be a good thing.