It has been quite a while since everybody still believed that for a movie star taking on TV series is a step down off the pedestal and into obscurity, leading to an untimely death of their career. And, most importantly, they aren’t doing this alone. Together with them are coming quite a few directors, who might as well sit on their laurels and wait for their next project to come.
Movie stars like Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Matthew McConaughey, and many more others are making this transition from the big screens to the smaller ones. And it isn’t about the payday, which is much smaller than otherwise.
The same thing goes with the directors too, such as Steven Spielberg and Frank Darabont, who have found success and followers with their TV productions also. And while you might say that these ones aren’t the directors of the moment, then we should only mention Guillermo del Toro (with The Strain set to be released this year) and Alfonso Cuarón (who is bringing his magic on the small screens with Believe, set to air starting with this March).
An answer to this mass migration could be in some liberties all these big names could take while performing or directing. It is a well-known fact that nowadays the entire movie industry is reluctant on trying on new ideas and keeps on rebooting, rehashing, and remaking the same movies all over again. Even more, while these movies may end up entertaining, their entire foundation is not placed on the characters or on the man behind the camera or on the story itself, but on how big and in what way is the CGI better. This way, most of the movie’s budget goes solely into this one direction.
When it comes to TV movies and series, the budget is considerably smaller, so the risk of the studio is greatly reduced. That is why the execs aren’t too afraid when green lighting series like True Detective (which leaves behind the police procedural genre and tackles with the psychological impact on the characters). If the pilot manages to convince these people, that a series is worth the while and that it will attract enough viewers, than that series will be made.
Just consider that most of the movies which are now named the cult classics of all times, gathering millions of followers all over the world, were risky projects and often didn’t pay off for those backing them. New ideas, and not revisited ideas, don’t find their way on the big screens because of all the financial effort they suppose. It is an industry, after all, and it has to be a productive one.
So actually it is a very good thing that for every Transformers movie being released there is a Boardwalk Empire also.
As far as the directors go, we should only mention that Sam Mendes has teamed again with John Logan (with whom he has worked on Skyfall) in order to direct and produce Penny Dreadful, a series which will reunite some of the big screens greatest monsters (including in here the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster). While there are some vampire movies out there who have done pretty well at the box office (yes, we are talking about Twilight), this mash-up genre is one that hasn’t appealed to much to the movie goers. Just think about Van Helsing or even Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and you will understand what we are saying. Furthermore, a certain mould is always used in the making of these big screen movies, so the quality of their story was also a little more than dubious.
So there is a double advantage when movies stars and directors are flocking together on the small screens, and these from these advantages we, the viewers, can also benefit.
Because, after all, everybody has a TV set at home, but not everybody would go at every movie released on the big screens.