Week 5 – Captain Future and the Sky-o-Nauts!

I hadn’t really noticed until now that of all the TV shows I watch on my computer, some can be watched with the lights on, and some I have to watch in darkness. I watch everything from full-length movies to Vines on the same computer, so with the advent of longer, higher-budget shows like Sherlock or House of Cards, the line between TV and feature films is blurring pretty significantly. Maybe now that the physical location of ‘the movie theatre’ and ‘the living room sofa’ are no longer mandatory, the only distinction we’ll have is whether we want to turn the lights off when we watch.

I’ve never really thought of the implications of what I’m doing when I exhibit this behaviour. I’m shutting the blinds, switching off bright things and trying to subtly coerce the loud, yapping dogs to the opposite side of the house. I’m trying to build a cinema in my room, and I can’t decide whether that’s because I feel I genuinely need dark and quiet to watch this thing, or because I’ve been trained to think that by a lifetime of cinema visits. I’d probably argue a bit of both. There are practical benefits, or else real theatres wouldn’t bother with them – but why then am I not choosing to recreate the cinema experience with everything I watch?

The shows I watch with the lights on are, by and large, shorter in length, and usually comedies. Archer, Community, Adventure Time – light stuff. However – and this is just hitting me now – I tend to watch them movie-style the first time around, and then in subsequent viewings very casually, possibly just playing in the background while I’m on Facebook or blogging or what have you…

(I wasn’t, but now I am.)

So in a sense, there has been no blurring of lines. The cinematic gaze and televisual glance are alive and well! Some content made for non-commercial television has fallen into the gaze territory, but that just shows that the distinction is more in the tone of the content than what particular outlet it was produced for. Like we said in class – a Game of Thrones Marathon at the Astor would sell tickets. I’ve never seen the show but I’ll bet it wouldn’t feel weird at all. Why aren’t we screening subscription television in cinemas? Maybe even just two episodes back to back every week. You could meet up with friends, watch it on the big screen, eat ice-cream before dinner – make a real night out of your night in!

I hope that happens at some point in the future, even if we’re just testing it out. I also hope non-commercial television as an industry grows bigger and bigger and progressively more internet-based, because I don’t actually know how all the remotes work.

I’m not sure where I see commercial television in five years. I’m sure it’ll still be around, in some form. Advertising as a means of revenue seems pretty okay when it takes the form of static images off to one side of whatever website you’re looking at, and so I think that model will still be relevant for lower-budget web-series and so forth. Shows like Bravest Warriors or Crash Course are Youtube exclusive, and they pay their professional crews seemingly with a combination of ad revenue and merchandise sales, so go those guys!

The ads before Youtube clips (that are usually about 1/3rd the size of the clip in question) do still annoy me, but hey, maybe in the Future they’ll tailor their duration to suit that of the content. People watching a ten second clip probably don’t want or need a thirty second ad. Maybe just flash up your logo for two seconds, like those little ‘this program is sponsored by…’ ads. That’s still getting your brand out there, and now I don’t hate you. It’s a win-win!

In conclusion: the Future’s gonna be perfect you guys. We’re gonna fix all the problems.

Isaac Mitchell-Frey (9985182)

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