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New Stories in Film: The Rise of the Reboot, Franchises, and Knowing When to Say THE END?

Typewriter with yellow paper and the words The End typed on it

I consume a lot of media. Books, Films, TV, Podcasts, Audiobooks, YouTube. There’s a form of content for me to consume for whatever situation I might find myself in. There’s a great deal of variety in most of these formats, however, I am beginning to find myself a little disillusioned with some of them. In general, it’s becoming that the things I see on screen are starting to get a bit predictable. Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolute bangers of TV shows and Films showing up as well, but I find myself getting tired of one thing in particular that has become a trend over the last decade or so. And that, my friends, is the reboot.

Remaking film and TV with the same storyline, over and over... Revamping it with better special effects and different actors... I understand it’s introducing the story to a new audience, but the original versions of these properties were great. Why mess with a good thing? Why not make something new? With the ability to utilise streaming services, why not introduce the new audience to the original film? Why not love things for what they are? Remaking IP and dragging stories out, in my opinion, can cause them to lose some of the magic that made them so spectacular in the first place. The stories become routine and stale.

This brings me to something else I’m beginning to tire of, and that is the never-ending franchises. I like when a story carries on to another chapter. Hell, I absolutely love it when it’s done well. But as a writer, I know when a story is finished. I know when to let it be. Sure, there’s always more that could be said, always more you can explore with your characters and the world they exist in. The options are endless. But as the wise words of Sherrilyn Kenyon state, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’

Yes, audiences are consuming this media. They consume it because they know what to expect. It makes them feel safe. They know they will like it. So, the circle goes around and around, the audience has a great time, and the studio makes tonnes of money. What’s not to love right? My question is, ‘What’s to love?’

I consume art to be challenged. To learn. To feel something different. To give my mind new experiences. So that my brain can think about people and situations from new perspectives. This is not to say that I only specifically watch these types of films or television, far from it. I, like billions of humans on the planet, also consume it to be entertained. I am not begrudging the folks who enjoy these movies and TV shows at all. However, watching films designed to a singular formula, with all the same beats and arcs played over and over, well, it tends to get a little tedious after a while. I quite often find myself switching off a movie or show I’ve been watching midway, because it just feels like the ‘same old same old’. I would love to feel the excitement I felt when I was younger, when a new film was coming to the cinema and it was like nothing I'd seen before. I'd love to see new stories in film.

Which brings me to my next point. Source material. Writers. Are. Amazing. Scriptwriters, novelists, you name it, we have the chops. We have entire universes in our minds, characters with family histories, employment woes and childhood trauma. Landscapes of strange and foreign worlds, all mapped out in immaculate detail. We have so many stories just begging to be put on the page. And we do, we write them down, and we tell the stories of our characters with the same level of love and care that we’d tell our own. But not everyone can, or does, read books. Why deprive them of these tales? There are so many stories out there just begging to be told on screen. (Read anything by Darcy Coates). It’s a huge opportunity, having this massive sea of stories that exist, tales to be drawn from. Do you want a stand-alone film? There’s a book for that. Do you want a movie series? There are books for that. Do you want a ten-season TV series? Guess what? There are books for that too! Did you know that on average there are 6 million eBooks listed on Amazon? 6 Million. That’s a gargantuan reservoir of content to draw from.

So, it makes me wonder why this vast resource of books is not being utilised, and why, when I turn on my television, or visit the cinema, I’m getting weary of what I’m seeing. Is it only the smaller studios and independent filmmakers who are making interesting and more original films? Does the responsibility for encouraging new and intriguing films lie with the audience? Or the big studios? Or is it somewhere in between? How do we move forward?

I understand this blog may ruffle some feathers, but it is not an attack on any individual or group of people. This is not a subject I have the answers to. I'm not sure there are definitive answers. I understand this is a complex and nuanced subject with a lot of angles to look at it from. But it’s something I’ve been pondering lately. Well, pondering for a while. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the matter. What has been your experience, as a writer, a filmmaker, and as part of an audience?

Let’s discuss this.

(And please be kind)


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