The Eternal Struggle: Television versus Movies

There’s always a lot of hype about movies. Insane amounts of money go into them. The special effects are top notch. These all seem like good things. But I still like TV better.
Movie TheaterReason #1: Movies are too long

Movies are long and just getting longer. Two hours always seemed like a long time for a movie to last, but now they’re pushing 2 ½, easy. That’s a lot of time to invest, especially if you don’t know you’ll like the movie. Compare that to TV shows. With TV, you only spend 42 minutes per episode, tops. I can easily plan my days in 42 minute segments. However, when I think of sitting down to a two hour movie, I get discouraged before I even begin. There’s no way of knowing if I’ll still want to be watching a movie an hour later.

Older movies used to last even longer, but they had a key ingredient movies of today are lacking: the intermission. A nice break mid-movie gives you a chance to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, or get a snack without missing anything important.  It just makes sense. If modern movie studios would just bring back the intermission, I think I would like movies a whole lot more.

Reason #2: Movies are too short

One reason I love TV is that you get so much more story than with a movie. Once that seemingly endless 2 hours of movie time is up, you’re done. That’s the end of it. With TV, you get to be a part of the characters lives for so much more than two hours. Your favorite characters are growing up with you. The story doesn’t end when you leave the theater, it keeps going every week.

This is even more reason to add an intermission to movies. It turns a movie into more of a two-episode mini-series.

Reason #3: If you watch enough of a show, it’s hard not to like it

If I don’t like a movie, I feel like I wasted two hours of my life. If I don’t like a TV show, I can just keep watching until I love it. The more episodes I watch, the more I get to know the characters. Even if I’m unsure, once I care about the characters it’s hard to stop watching. And yes, that’s a lot more hours wasted in front of a screen than watching a bad movie. But it’s hours of glorious entertainment. And, once I’ve caught up, it’s always fun to go back and watch the first season again, reminiscing about how I used to hate the show.

A perfect example of this is How I Met Your Mother. Great show, I say now. I didn’t always feel this way. I first started watching How I Met Your Mother about three years ago. My friends had recently become obsessed and were quoting it constantly. And when I say constantly, I mean that literally. I couldn’t follow their conversations anymore. There were too many obscure references about slap bets and suiting up. If I wanted to continue hanging out with them, I had to watch the show. So I hunkered down and got to work. I hated the first two seasons. Ted was whiny and obnoxious and the rest of them were just boring.  Well, except Barney.  He was always cool. But then, as I continued watching, it started to grow on me. Now it’s an old favorite.  A movie could never do that.



  1. Nancy · · Reply

    Exactly! Movies are like short stories – a little piece of someone’s life over the course of a few days (usually. Dr Zhivago excepted…). TV series are more like novels – multiple characters, years pass… I prefer novels too.

    1. I have always thought it would make more sense to turn novels into TV series instead of movies. Two hours isn’t enough time to cover everything important in a book!

    2. Hey Nancy, guess what I just wrote about on my other blog? Dr. Zhivago!

  2. […] my interpretive dance to Jo-Jo’s “Too Little, Too Late,” or hearing Heidi’s rant about why TV is so much better than movies. Every friend group is a quilt of shared experience and those stories that never stop being […]

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