Editorial – Long Form Commitment

Apologies for the slight delay in this week’s Editorial. I had a busy half term. Alas, the delay has played in to my agenda nicely. Two pieces of long form entertainment appeared on the pop cultural radar last week. In the red corner we had Jacques Rivette’s legendary Out 1, a 12-hour-plus masterpiece of cinema. In the blue corner stood the long-mooted fourth season of Arrested Development, Mitchell Hurwitz’s comedy favourite.

I wasn’t initially planning on bothering with Arrested Development Season Four, given as it is a Netflix exclusive, and that streaming isn’t really my preferred choice of consuming media. Alas, I buckled, and decided to take advantage of the company’s one-month trial. In the space of a week I took in ten episodes, which is, for me at least, an unholy amount of television. On the flip-side, the prospect of sitting down with Out 1 for over 12 hours doesn’t even register as being particularly unusual, or as a task worthy of intimidation, in the same way that staring head-first in to the prospect of 15 new episodes* of one of my favourite television shows does. 

As if to further relevanticise (no, that isn’t a word) my thoughts last night saw the British bow of the latest episode of the very successful HBO show Game Of Thrones, a fantasy-strewn television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s even more popular series of books. The episode screened in the US the evening before, and Twitter was alive with chatter of enticing matter for much of the day, before bursting in to life as the show aired over here. And I felt kind of left out. It was a similar feeling to when the news that broke late Saturday evening concerning Matt Smith, the British actor who plays the titular Doctor Who, a show that I’ve somehow avoided for the most part for my thirty years. Social media was abuzz with impassioned chat, and while I made attempts to fit in with pithy contemporary gags (Les Dawson Hologram for the 12th doctor anyone?) ultimately the seat designated “gooseberry” is one that is beginning to feel very comfortable right now. 

But alas, it is an issue of my own doing. My problem stems from an inability to commit to a long-term televisual relationship. Television is a medium filled with too many variables for me to be able to give it my all. Unlike with film there is a danger that the creative team that was involved with the first half of a series won’t make it to the end, or that the END itself might not even make it that far (yes, I was burnt by Jericho). Even completed shows aren’t sure bets either. While I’ve completed a couple (Deadwood, The Wire), I’ve had a The Sopranos box-set sat under my telly since Xmas.  

Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief

*In a somewhat unusual move, Netflix made available every episode of the fourth season of Arrested Development at the same time. Viewers could pick and choose when they wanted to watch it. Many did it in one sitting.

Further Reading

Crash!, the pre-Cronenberg 1971 short J.G. Ballard film adaptation. The Seventh Art take a look at the original short. Includes an embedded link of the actual short. 


This week’s Criticwire Survey. In which we were asked to talk about how we mark Memorial Day.


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