This is a great overview that truly puts the entire decade in perspective. The only show missing is Patriot, but, well, of course.
What’s remarkable about vertical drama is that it’s not just any scripted content cropped for a vertical aspect ratio. These shows are specifically imagined for the mobile screen from the ground up. This is evident in three features they all share.
I am fascinated by vertical video — it feels like a completely different medium. To me, horizontal video always represents a very deliberate choice to “make a video.” Vertical video is much more spontaneous, like a long photo that lives on your phone.
Seeing the vertical format used for more serious scripted stuff is still uncanny, but I suspect there’s a lot to explore there.
I’m linking to this just so I can go on the record on this here blog and say: motion smoothing is an abomination.
Matt Zoller Seitz:
TV doesn’t feel the same when you watch it that way. It’s more of a solitary experience, no matter how many fellow fans discuss it with you on social media. And it necessarily reduces the level of excitement surrounding a season or series finale because the show has been deprived of that measured pace of one episode per week, with six days of contemplation and anticipation in between each chapter, all leading inexorably to that last run of episodes during which the fans, who’ve spent years living and breathing this thing, come to terms with the totality of the accomplishment, and ready themselves for the exquisite and horrible moment when the storytellers swing that sword at our necks and the birds take flight and the credits roll for the last time.
If a basic purpose of art is to illuminate human nature, then I think Comedy Central’s Nathan for You deserves a spot in the conversation about the best TV shows of this era.