The result is a show that was a water-cooler explosion
in an era when we don’t really use water coolers. And shows like that, or the similarly nuanced Ted Lasso
, are effective for streaming services in a way that films aren’t.
To me, the theaters add a complicating factor to film production, leading to films that are intended to pop on a big screen … and that, as a result, lean on bombast over more nuanced storytelling. It wasn’t always that way, as anyone who saw a Wes Anderson film in the early 2000s could tell you. But that’s how things have evolved.
With streaming, the game is to create compelling content so that studios get $10 from everyone every month, rather than $10 once (in the theater) and maybe another $10 later (when they buy the Blu-Ray). And that pushes the content into more interesting places.
If Black Widow doesn’t Black Widow and The Suicide Squad doesn’t Suicide Squad, it’s because the bombast didn’t match the format. Those products are built for a certain kind of entertainment experience. Streaming offers more colors than that—and part of the reason for that is that there isn’t this expectation that everything must be bombast.
I think the lesson for the film industry is to focus more of its energy on creating good television shows with quality above that of films (rather than shortchanging budgets as might have been the case in the past), because, long-term, that’s where the real money is.