"The TV Mini-Series Genre focuses on the theatrical nature of television."
You're probably wondering what the TV Mini-Series has to do with the awesome worlds of film and filmmaking.
Nothing at all actually. Thanks.
Ok, that's not really true, but it was sure fun to put there. There are a number of reasons I decided to include the miniseries in Fun Film Talk's Genre lineup, and it's relationship to pure theatrical architecture is most likely the most important reason. Traditional theater has a rich history of separating it's storytelling into smaller digestible chunks known as Acts. Part of the appeal of smaller story sequences, such as acts would be keeping an audience's attention, but employing the technique of the "cliff hanger" is also VERY powerful in making an audience NEED to know "what happens next." Granted, in theater these separations of story are almost always on the same day - one after the other with short breaks. The TV version we're comparing is more about the cliff hanger - making folks wait for the rest of the story over a period of days or weeks.
There are many ways of expressing this style of storytelling, such as Serials, Episodes, Chapter Plays, or even the term Cliff Hanger itself. To me, there is no more entertaining portrayal of what a Chapter Play, or Cliffhanger is than the dialogue between Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) and Paul Sheldon (James Caan) in Rob Reiner and Stephen King's Misery (1990). Paul has just completed the first draft of "Misery's Return" and Annie reads it. She demands a re-write because Paul has cheated. He invents a new beginning to "Misery's Return" instead of starting where the last novel left off. Annie then launches into a "to die for" monologue about her experience as a kid with Saturday Movie House Chapter Plays. She describes a classic "cliffhanger" where the hero is literally about to fly over the edge of a cliff trapped in a car with no brakes. Her anger soon flares as she describes seeing the next "chapter" a week later, and now they're showing the hero jumping out of the car before it careens over the cliffside. "That's not what happened" she screams, "HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE COCK-A-DOOTY CAR!" Even Paul has to admit that they often cheated like that with the serials, or chapter plays of that time.
Another interesting issue with the TV Mini-Series Genre is whether or not it's an actual Genre at all! I find this humorous actually, because the truth is this:
There IS no real authority on ANY Film Genres!
I honestly cannot name any two "authorities" out there who agree on all the genres - what they are, and how darned many of them really exist. Part of the problem is the inescapable overlap with the genres (which basically creates sub genres, or sub-hybrid genres). Here's Fun Film Talk's policy and opinion on this very crazy and un-verifiable situation.
It really matters not.
I've put together a list of the best looking genres below, and I came up with 26 of the things. It could easily be argued that any or all of them are, or are not film genres, so what's the point of arguing. For the purposes of trying to define, clarify and understand these movie classifications, here are 26 of them including the tv miniseries, and that's all there is to it.
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