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What We Talk About When We Talk About Television

What We Talk About When We Talk About Television

Today marks the official start of television coverage on Indiewire, but unofficially we’ve been talking about TV for a while now — through posts on our blog network, and thanks to the increasing overlap with the world of film.

Filmmakers we love now regularly turn up to helm series installments, from Rian Johnson’s memorable bottle episode in the third season of “Breaking Bad” to Agnieszka Holland trying her hand at “Treme.” Lena Dunham is following up “Tiny Furniture” with “Girls,” kicking off next month on HBO; Mike White created “Enlightened” and brought in the likes of Miguel Arteta, Jonathan Demme and Nicole Holofcener as directors.

TV isn’t just a place for people to work between features — it’s become just as important a platform for distinctive and developed creative voices. A show like “Louie,” written and directed by and starring Louis C.K., demonstrates as much authorship as an indie film, while show creators like the Davids Simon, Milch and Chase, not to mention Matthew Weiner of “Mad Men,” present unmistakably ambitious personal visions in projects that have become major cultural touchstones.

When talking about how TV has come into its own, there’s a tendency to pit it against film, as if one medium has to be ascendant — see The New Yorker’s January panel debate Is Television the New Cinema?, in which David Remnick kicked the conversation off by asking whether TV is eclipsing the movies.

But it’s not a competition, it’s coexistence, from the many crossovers mentioned above to the fact that in this age of many screen sizes the way shows and films are consumed has started to blend. VOD and streaming have become for many people the primary ways through which they see movies, while it also makes total sense that three episodes of “Girls” will be given a “world premiere” at the Paramount Theatre at SXSW on March 12.

We’re excited to be expanding the conversation and our coverage into television because exciting things are happening there in the realm of visual storytelling, because it’s become a primary outlet after festivals for nonfiction features and shorts that deserve attention, and because it feels like a lot of familiar faces of talented people we’ve been following on the site are already there. And we welcome your feedback in terms of the types of shows you’d like to see covered — no Kardashian recaps here, scout’s honor.

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