With the rise of the big budget television series and boxset binging over the last decade, we’ve witnessed the coining of entertainment’s new favourite phrase: Peak TV. 2019 has been no exception, with screenwriters citing the time and space that television affords them as its main appeal, particularly when compared to the high stakes of blockbuster films.
Speaking to CR about the return of Brummie gangland drama Peaky Blinders in August, the show’s creator Steven Knight reflected on the sense of freedom that comes with writing for television. “In film obviously the script is handed to the director and it becomes the director’s film, so you don’t have that control. With TV it’s totally the opposite – you are the one determining what’s going to go out on the screen. I think increasingly in terms of what stories you can tell as film and what stories you can tell as TV, it feels to me like TV is like a novel and film is like a short story,” he said.
The release of the second season of HBO’s Succession saw it quietly mark itself out as one of the best shows on television, thanks to Jesse Armstrong’s acerbic but hilarious take on a dysfunctional media tycoon family (sound familiar?). The second season of Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman play turned small screen sensation, plus the return of Killing Eve, earned her fans across the globe and she was swiftly snapped up to help revamp the upcoming Bond film, as well as signing a contract with Amazon Prime worth a rumoured £16 million.