Movie vs. Show

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In this year’s Best Films of 2016 Rabbit Room podcast, one of the chosen films was… a TV show.

Cheating? Sure. But it makes sense to me—over the past ten years or so, the lines have blurred between TV and film.

TV production, at its best, is on the level of studio filmmaking, and film franchises are more episodic. We binge-watch movies and shows at home. As far as I’m concerned:

Sherlock is a BBC film series, while Doctor Who is a BBC show

Stranger Things is Netflix show, while The Crown is a Netflix film series

—DC Comics movies comprise a film series, while Marvel movies are MCU show episodes

The Force Awakens was a new Star Wars film, while Rogue One was the first part of a Star Wars anthology show

That’s where I stand on the film/show dichotomy. I can’t seem to hammer down any specific criteria, but I know what feels like a show to me and what feels like a movie.

How do you distinguish a film from a show? Does this dichotomy need definition, or do we need to coin hybrid terms for a in-between production?

Jonny Jimison is a talented cartoonist and graphic novelist. In addition to a long history of web-based cartoons, he’s the author of Dragon Lord Saga series of graphic novels, including Martin & Marco and The River Fox. Jonny lives and works in Jacksonville, Florida.


4 Comments

  1. Matthew Aughtry

    If anything The Force Awakens is the show (it even has an episode number).

  2. Matthew Aughtry

    If anything The Force Awakens is the show (it even has an episode number).

  3. VB

    There’s also the term “series” (or “mini-series”) that sometimes bridged this gap in years gone by.

    I’m wondering if the conceptual buckets here are “art” vs. “entertainment”?  That’s not a straightforward, clear categorization, either, but it might get at some of the apparently-desired differentiation…

  4. Doug

    “How do you distinguish a film from a show? Does this dichotomy need definition, or do we need to coin hybrid terms for a in-between production?”

    Shmoovy.

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