Kilroy Was Here
May 23, 2002
TV is better than you think
My favorite show on television is Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, seems to push the limits of television, as well as explore several complex human situations under the guise of a comic book heroine protecting the citizins of Sunnydale from vampires, demons, and other hellspawn beasties.
Last Tuesday, I saw the season finale of Buffy (Salon.com Arts & Entertainment | Willow, destroyer of worlds) and once again I was impressed.
Shows like Buffy, The Shield, The Sopranos, This West Wing, etc., prove to me that the great new artform in human existence is the television series.
New art forms revolve around space. Initially, poems and songs were the first art forms. The space they encompased was what a singler persons spoken word could provide. Homer would recite The Iliad, each book taking a night, the space of his story constrained to the imagination of his viewer and the glow from the fire.
Then, the space grew to the size of thte stage. Multiple voices blending together to create something new, to teach humans something more about the world.
In the last few centuries, the novel and the film expanded the space of art even farther, allowing us to see human interactions across time and setting, to listen in depth to internal dialogues.
But no art form has had the breadth of space of the televison series. A story that evloves over years, that involves over years, that can take hundreds of hours to ingest. Not to mention the anticipation and imagination that ensnares a series fan. In the last decade of the twentieth century and in the first decade of the twenty-first, we may be seeing the height of creativity in our new artform. Joss Whedon, David Chase, Shawn Ryan - these names may be to the future what Henry James and Jane Austen are to us now.
New Giants may be walking the earth. Just a remote away.
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