Reality Bites by James Norton

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Over the years I have written at length about the entertainment industry – from comics to actors in film, television series stars, documentarians, you name it. We all have our favorites and mine in the past has always been people in the movie business. From actors/actresses to cinematographers, directors, producers – well, you get the idea.

Slowly over the years I have followed television series that really pushed the envelope of acting and what can/can’t be done on TV. Some of the best series in recent memory like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield and The Wire were my favorites. They were complicated, had incredible acting, well thought out storylines and were shot better than most full blown movie studio productions.

Then, slowly but surely, another shift happened. Shows like Ray Donovan, Shameless, Sons of Anarchy and Episodes pushed even further into what we thought was possible for TV productions with respect to how we viewed comedy, drama and live action. You had to wonder how they were able to produce such vivid productions using everything a regular movie studio production would have available to it during and post production.

It was only a matter of time until off-network players like Netflix, Amazon and Crackle started invading the space with shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to name a few. Of all the shows I have listed above that are still being produced and shown, I am currently watching them all, plus a major array of reality TV mainly based out of the Food Network and HGTV. Mostly while I am working, so don’t think I sit around the house all day and night, because I definitely don’t.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than House of Cards with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright on Netflix, I watched the much hyped new drama from Amazon called Bosch starring Titus Welliver. You might not recognize his name, but you will recognize the face and you will be absolutely stunned at his range of acting and this gripping show. This is an entirely new level of excellence that most full length movies couldn’t dream about.

I look back over the last 40 plus years of my life and I consider myself to be an expert in film and television shows – when I was a kid there was little to watch that was memorable other than Dr. Who, Archie Bunker, M.A.S.H., Soap and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Now, the availability of the highest quality acting and productions are on television every week.

They say we have been dulled by the onslaught of inane and superfluous material on television. I say that’s a load of crap – take some time, explore new shows and take a chance on something you might not normally watch. You won’t be disappointed. I used to rarely watch TV and constantly go the movies. I haven’t been to see a movie in a theater in over three years and yet, I have and currently am watching some of the best produced, best acted and best directed entertainment in the history of the industry.

They say TV can never be “art” like film is. I used to subscribe to that thinking. Not anymore. #GMK

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