Seriality, the ontological concept behind TV series, originated due to consumerist reasons. When literature printing boomed out at the end of the XIX century, writers –most prominently Charles Dickens– had to look for a way to keep readers invested in their works in order to consolidate this new mass producing machine. Accordingly, splitting long novels into different chapters released over time –and with a proper cliffhanger– hooked the readers and allowed the industry to bloom. A century later, TV has adopted the formula literature popularized and even more recently some shows have appeared that have challenged our understanding about what seriality is supposed to be.
One week ago, Mad Men ended with the image of Don Draper smiling into the camera. On the other side of the screen my face, as two ancient Greek theater masks facing each other, was rather the opposite: the face of disappointment. What a lacking finale –if not a complete disaster–, to the point that our own Homecoming Queen, who actually confessed to like the episodes, preferred to discuss the latest Penny Dreadful episodes over the series finales of a series of the relevance of Mad Men. This fact made look back to this year’s fiction and wonder: are we having a bad year?
American Horror Story: Freakshow is definetly NOT the best NOR the first show about an itinerant circus in America. In 2003, HBO aired Carnivàle, a cult TV-show that reflected with its characters and mythology a deeply complex sense of temporality.
Vulture, AV Club, Time Magazine… all our main competitors are publishing these days lists and lists of the best shows this year on television and we are not going to be any less. Without any more delay we are honored to present to you, dear readers, the first edition of the Telethinking Awards!
Once upon a time in HBO quality TV was not all about mythological detectives and killers, greedy kings, leftovers or gangsters. A positive -but always critic- time when smiling and experiencing joy was allowed. Enlightened is not just a story about capitalism and corporations, it is also about happiness: because yes, even in this “beautiful, upsetting world” we need to enjoy life.
Elevators are no-places; spaces where we just pass through such as halls, subway stations, airports, spots that do not mark our memory nor catch our attention, perishable. Awkward spaces that, by definition, bother and unsettle us. Of course, it is when we are located within one of them that we show something hidden about ourselves, a little tic, perhaps, or a original way of responding to some stimulus. Elevators become, thus, revealers of human nature.
Contemporary television, as the great study of human psychology that it is, has taken good note of this, and many relevant TV series have made of elevators a great narrative device.
I need to say goodbye to someone I care about, someone who’s still here, so I’m saying it to you. You were good to me, Kevin, and sometimes when we were together, I remembered who I used to be before everything changed. But I was pretending, pretending as if I hadn’t lost everything. I want to believe it can all go back to the way it was. I want to believe that I’m not surrounded by the abandoned ruin of a dead civilization. I want to believe it’s possible to get close to someone but it’s easier not to. It’s easier because I’m a coward and I couldn’t take the pain, not again. I know that’s not fair, Kevin. You’ve lost so much, too, and you’re strong. You’re still here. But I can’t be, not anymore. I tried to get better, Kevin. I didn’t want to feel this way, so I took a shortcut. But it led me right back home, and do you know what I found when I got there? I found them, Kevin, right where I left them. Right where they left me. It took me three years to accept the truth but now I know there’s no going back, no fixing it. I’m beyond repair. Maybe we’re all beyond repair. I can’t go on the way I’m living… but I don’t have the power to die. But I have to move towards something. Anything. I’m not sure where I’m going, just away. Away from all this. I think about a place where nobody will know what happened to me. But then I worry I’ll forget them. I don’t ever want to forget them. I can’t. They were my family. I think I loved you, Kevin. Maybe you loved me too. I wish I could say this to you instead of writing it. I wish I could see you one last time and wish you well and tell you how much you mean to me. But I can’t. Like I said, I’m a coward. So wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it.