Thursday, April 30, 2015

Time Out Thursday - Big Screen, Little Screen

Ali Williams asks Pink Heart Society readers the ultimate question today:  Big Screen or Little Screen?  Film or television?

I watch films and television series a hell of a lot.  Partly necause I'm addicted to Netflix and rediscovering (or indeed discovering for the first time) different shows and films, and partly because I love getting caught up in a story.

It's why I'm a sucker for romance.

But I'm always torn between film and television.  They're very different mediums that allow the actors, writers and directors to engage with the narrative in very different ways.

Cult Classics

Empire Records v Buffy

The 90s were a wonderful place, full of teenage winsomeness and the potential for things to go horribly horribly wrong.

Perfect for some cult classics

This is perfectly embodied by the "Damn the Man" attitude of Empire Records, complete with performances from startlingly young Reece Witherspoon and Liv Tyler, as well as air guitaring and a bittersweet take on love.

This is realism at its best and most heartbreaking.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Starring Sarah Michelle Geller as the last word in kick-arse heroines, the seven seasons rewrote the helpless girl stereotype, developed characters so that photos of them even now make them feel like friends grown up, and had one of the very first musical episodes on television.

Big Screen or Little Screen?  Which do you think wins?


Begin Again v Sons of Anarchy

I'm all in favour of winsome musicals, with a love letter to New York interwoven into the very fabric of the narrative.  

With some cracking performances, as well as a really sweet storyline, Begin Again was one of my favourite films last year.  Keira Knightley was enchanting, Mark Ruffalo was brilliant and James Corden is just utterly lovely.

And at the other end of the spectrum there's Sons of Anarchy.

Viciously violent at times, dark and almost Shakespearean in its scope, my fiance and I have been binge-watching this on Netflix for some time.  Plus there's Charlie Hunnam and lots and lots of motorbikes...

It's so outside the realm of standard television - aligning you with hardened criminals - but I've found myself completely transfixed.

Big Screen or Little Screen?  Which do you think wins?

Comic Book Heroes

Avengers:  Age of Ultron v Daredevil

The last decade has seen an influx of comic book heroes on our screens - from Batman to Kick-Ass - but it's the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise that has really sparked the public's imagination.

The Avengers series, in particular, is engaging and funny (how could it not be, with Buffy-writer Joss Whedon at the wheel?) and slick visually.

I have my tickets booked for the latest film (Avengers:  Age of Ultron) and I can't wait, even if I am secretly a little devastated that Loki won't be making an appearance.

Similarly, the small screen has also embraced those comic book heroes.  There's Gotham and Constantine and - most recently - Daredevil.

Forget the horrendous film, starring Ben Afflick (and they're seriously letting him loose as Batman?!), this is well-written and directed.  Even if a blind lawyer does seem initially to be an unlikely superhero...

Big Screen or Little Screen?  Which do you think wins?

The Period Drama

Far From the Madding Crowd v Poldark

And now to period dramas, that stalwart of the historical romance lover.

The films in this category are plentiful, but I'm particularly excited about the upcoming adaptation of Thomas Hardy's beloved Far from the Madding Crowd.

With Carey Mulligan in place as the headstrong and independent Bathsheba, and an award-winning cast making up her three suitors, it promises to be an absolute treat.

What can television offer in contrast?

Well, there's the BBC's 2015 adaptation of Poldark that finished last week, and left a swathe of sobbing viewers in its path.

With fiery, feisty Demelza has our heroine, and a hero who has a social conscience in Ross Poldark, what else could a viewer ask for?

Perhaps some kilts, but we've got Outlander for that...
Big Screen or Little Screen?  Which do you think wins?

What do you prefer watching?  Television series or films?  Do you think one or the other are better at telling different types of stories?  And what would you recommend that a story addict watch next?  Join the discussion in the comments!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls' school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica. 

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, #StrongRomanceHeroines and women in society and spends an extraordinary amount of time coercing male friends to pose with her favourite Mills & Boon books to the bemusement of the Twittersphere.
Passionately vocal about the wonders of romance, Ali defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!


  1. I think all the best things are happening on TV and these days almost never go to the cinema. My Poldark obsession is well known, but it encapsulates what I love about TV - you can really get into some deep characterization and intricate plots, taking the audience along with you, unfolding things like a pass-the-parcel gift. Brilliant.

    1. There are certain things I love to see in the cinema - I saw all thre Hobbit films in 3D at the IMAX in London, and I like to see Marvel films on a big screen - but I'm just as likely to watch films on a small screen at home.

      And also, with today's practice of binge-watching series, it's like watching a more drawn out, complex film. The cinematography etc is exactly the same kind of quality!

  2. I like watching Netflix--Bomb Girls, Call the Midwife, foyle's War, Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries (long live the BBC)