The Past Is Another Country

“[Digital filmmaking] had the most profound effect on TV through the decade, changing not only technology but the way stories were told”.

Graeme Blundell

“Like many a prophet, I lived to see my prophecy fulfilled in alarming ways.”

Andrew Billen, on his early 00’s suggestion of social nuance and human nature existing in reality TV

“[Big Brother] was a precursor to the truly Orwellian world of fully interactive television.”

Graeme Blundell

Graeme Blundell is an Australian actor, director, producer, writer and biographer.

Andrew Billen is a British TV Critic and feature writer for The Times


Remix This… Bio

I come from the country.

It defines me in various ways. The way I treat people. The way I interact.

But it also grounds me.

I only spent 6 years of my life there, until I moved to the Peninsula.

At the school named Peninsula. At the golf courses of the Peninsula. On the beaches of the Peninsula.

Yet I don’t feel linked to these as I do the country.

They don’t define me in the same way. They don’t hold the same reverence in my memories.

Why that is I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps being that little bit older helps. You let thing wash over you a little more and don’t let the little things change your ways as much.

Admittedly, I do romanticize the country. The clean air, the warmth, the fire, the wind, the water. The ocean, the birds, the cattle, the tractors. My Pub.

But I think this is natural. When you are small its easy to consider those things that are bigger than you are also of more importance.

The people, the buildings, the events.

A pub isn’t your usual place of upbringing, but then again, what is?

I’d hide in between crates of beer, and shovel ice into bags and package it up.

We’d climb on roofs and hide under the deck, searching for money.

All the while I’d make a new friend, or lose one to the big smoke. Get in a fight or hurt someone’s feelings.

Feelings are important.

These days I’m bigger, more reflective. Perhaps a little wiser and a little more attuned.

The little things still satisfy me despite living in the big smoke that used to gobble up my friends.

I can see the value in lots of things, not just those that appear before me and I can differentiate between the big things and those that aren’t worth my time.

After all, moving from a small town certainly does open one’s eyes.

These are nervous times…

Television is still very much a more derided form than the internet.

I guess at this being the cause of its programming. There’s some kind of hierarchy, or tradition, that exists around TV. Of course, the internet still has to involve an editor, at least, to act in a similar way to a producer in television. Someone has to choose what goes where. Yet TV is under intense scrutiny in the process and delivery of this choice. (I am of course referring to the programming of TV more than I am the production of it)

I am not, however, so sure the distinction between the two deliveries is very clear. If we consider television a canon of everyday practices, it is not enough to define it by its existence amongst a network or conglomerate of programming. Just the same, televisions ability to act as a form of social experience – of viewing, listening, analysing and discussing – is as much at home on the internet as it is being carried by a TV.

So why is TV more derided? To that end, I am not entirely sure.

“TV shows became better than mainstream movies”.

More recently, as Graeme Blundell notes in his article “The Past Is Another Country” for The Australian, “TV shows became better than mainstream movies”. He makes particular reference to The Sopranos, and in my own experience – naive as it may be – I often would confuse The Godfather and The Sopranos in discussions with friends. By no means intentionally, but from what I had seen online (several cut out scenes from the show on YouTube) I had no reason to believe it a TV show rather than a movie. It is in fact a complex long form narrative, made very popular by the likes of HBO and Showtime. And it seems these networks have nailed the middle ground between cinema and traditional TV broadcast. No commercials, on demand viewing.

So if we are to get back to my first statement that TV is a much more derided form than the internet, can we then suggest this is because of its links to film and film criticism that carriers such as HBO and Showtime incite? Or is it simply the ‘broadcast’ nature of television that opens it up to a wider audience and forces it into their living rooms that makes it more critiqued? After all, the internet is full of choice. TV is far behind in those terms.