Have you heard the news? They’re making Downton Abbey into a movie.
As much as I love the Crawleys, I’m not sure there’s any story left to tell. Movies that continue beloved television shows (rather than recast or re-imagine) are irresistible to fans but usually quite indulgent and mediocre. I’m trying to think of an exception (Veronica Mars, Sex and the City) but can’t come up with one.
I’m far from the first to point this out, but as today’s movies get worse and worse (as I’ve whined about here and here), serialized television only gets better. As such, I find my most rabid ardor reserved toward the television instead of the silver screen.
This has been a gradual and mostly unnoticed departure. Growing up, there was only one television show that ever mattered to me, and that was General Hospital. Five days a week I was there, and the weekend after a spectacular cliffhanger was agony. But otherwise, I had no use for the sitcoms and game shows that many of my friends watched. For me, it was General Hospital and the movies.
Everything in the movies was bigger and better, not just the screen. Bigger stories, bigger adventure and romance, bigger soundtracks and sweeping scores, bigger stars and cinematography.
But that’s no longer true.
As lackluster as I feel about the upcoming slate of movies, I couldn’t be more excited about television. Outlander is taking the Frasers to America. Need I say more?
Any movie would love to have the buzz garnered by new seasons of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, Sharp Objects (starring Amy Adams!), and Big Little Lies (Nicole Kidman!).
And Shonda Rimes is bringing Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton’s—yes, that’s right, I said the BRIDGERTON’s—the most beloved family in all of historical romance novels—to Netflix. If you’re a romance novel fan and this news doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, I’d check for a pulse.
So television is where the excitement, the stars, and the quality is. The problem is not a lack of quality entertainment, but a surplus. Where does a girl begin?
And yet, I lament my lack of interest in the movies. Why?
For me, there is still no better way to spend a hot summer afternoon than in a cool theater with a bucket of popcorn, transported for two hours to a world bigger and brighter than my own.
The solution to this dilemma—television or movies—is so obvious I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
Television on the big screen.
Don’t give me a warmed over Downton Abbey retread movie, give me Downton Abbey episodes!
Imagine it. Your favorite show on the big screen.
The Red Wedding in IMAX. Jamie and Claire Fraser voyaging across time and the world for love in the dark of the theater. Stuffing popcorn in your face while the Dowager Countess lands her barbs with the cool precision of a lifelong aristocrat.
I’d pay to watch my favorite episodes on the big screen. I’d buy a season pass and show up every Monday night for the latest installment. Think of the watch party you could have at your local theater.
Television drama. Movie theater. It’s as obvious—and as blissfully indulgent—as peanut butter and chocolate.