Special for “The Citizen”
At this point in the year, as usual, it becomes somewhat of a requirement to carry out a kind of balance or at least propose a general panorama of what happened in the streaming universe. What happened remarkable, in general terms? How, if at all, was production and consumption reconfigured after the pandemic boom? What was the best, what was the worst? All, by the way, questions that are difficult to answer, mainly given the large volume of series presented by the different platforms throughout the year and the consequent impossibility of covering it without falling into reductionist statistics and arbitrary rankings.
However, for now, it is possible to at least take a partial look at the phenomenon and its drift, at this time when the entire audiovisual field continues to manage its move from theaters to streaming platforms.
In a way, the number of releases and returns seems to have remained, quantitatively (and not qualitatively, of course) affirming the leading chains in their positions: Netflix, Amazon and Disney, with the occasional expensive production but, as usual, lacking ideas. Yes, on the contrary, a retraction could be perceived in other important chains that configured a remarkable alternative of personality and originality in their proposals, such as Apple and HBO. In these last cases the lack was markedly noted.
Few were the moves that took off from a lazy media based on already exhausted formulas, and hardly any other project managed to outline traits of originality and risk. Where until recently one could look to find distinctive and stimulating alternatives, throughout this year not only the quantity has been reduced, but also that distinctive character. The panorama, by the way, in this aspect, has not been encouraging.
A recycling of effective operations
It is there, at that last point, where perhaps the phenomenon of the series can be focused in this difficult (in many aspects) 2022 that is already ending. It’s nothing new, of course. And in a certain way it is nothing but what has historically marked the paths of the audiovisual spectacle, but which perhaps seems to increase dramatically due to the characteristics of the dizzying consumption via streaming. It is about a certain homogenization, a tireless repetition of narrative mechanisms and commonplaces taken as a starting point to establish products for easy and uncompromising consumption.
The great magma of series, beyond the characteristics of each platform, has been presented as a great recycling machine of effective operations. Of course, this is nothing new, but it can be thought that it is increasing given the current forms of audiovisual consumption, where the marathon collection of serial stories becomes a requirement. It is, to a large extent, about finishing one to continue with another. And so on to infinity. Immediacy and obsolescence are the rules of this somewhat perverse game.
It’s not that there hasn’t been anything salvageable, of course, but it has finally made itself felt that strange flat level that leaves everything on the same level ground, without peaks or edges, without accidents or adventures of discovery. The already known universes expand, The Lord of the ringsMarvel, Game of Thrones Y Star Wars, for example, tirelessly appealing to an unnecessary ramification of already exhausted plots. On the other hand, the phenomenon of “true crime” underpinned as never before that obscene fascination for criminals placed in the rank of stars or heroes, as in the lurid Dahmer.
The fantastic that accentuates mystery to the point of absurdity mercilessly follows his debacle with easy and pretentious proposals, with 1899 to the head. Unnecessary biopics. Thrillers with their worn-out threads exposed to the elements (a large part of the year’s production). Intolerable cynicism of rich people as in The White Lotus. Political correctness emptied of support. Tim Burton already following his washed line and establishing the last massive success of the year, and little more than that, in very general terms.
The remarkable thing appeared sporadically
The remarkable thing, for its part, has been noted sporadically. Some could be pointed out arbitrarily. Outer Rangea remarkable approximation to the western and the fantastic by Brian Watkins for Amazon, one of the most beautiful and darkest of this year, with perhaps that endearing air The Leftovers. the british The Devil’s Hour Y Slow Horsesthe first playing mercilessly with terror and the second with the misadventures of some disgraced spies. The Old Manfrom FX, with veterans Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow immersed in a complex fall thriller with tragic airs.
severance, from Apple, for those who like those sophisticated and ingenious games like those proposed years ago by Spike Jones and Michel Gondry. And the list would continue, of course, doing a bit of memory to unravel that immense tangle of mediocrity that was this 2022 for the series.
For now, if there really was an event, that was, without a doubt, the final farewell to the wonderful Better Call Saul, perhaps the last survivor of what were good times for the world of series. But of this we have already “talked” enough in due time about her.
It is therefore possible to wish and hope for a better 2023, and not only in relation to the series, of course, which do not stop configuring a secondary phenomenon, but in other urgent and really essential aspects that affect us all.
“Slow Horses”, another breath-taking spy