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Will director Steven Soderbergh make the swtich from film to television?

Jul. 2, 2012by: George Merchan

The stories of Steven Soderbergh's so-called retirement from filmmaking are nothing new as the director first hinted at the possibility back in 2009 in an interview with Esquire. Since then, Soderbergh chum Matt Damon has confirmed that the director is pretty much done with movies, essentially saying that he's reached a wall with what he can (or wants to) do with the art form.

Predictably, the man would be transferring over his talents to other things (Damon mentioned painting). But today, the news is that it's something potentially more substantial than that: television. Here's Soderbergh's quote to the Associated Press:

"American movie audiences now just dont seem to be very interested in any kind of ambiguity or any kind of real complexity of character or narrative Im talking in large numbers, there are always some, but enough to make hits out of movies that have those qualities. I think those qualities are now being seen on television and that people who want to see stories that have those kinds of qualities are watching television."

Soderbergh isn't wrong, what with stand-outs like MAD MEN and BREAKING BAD to name but a couple of the shows that are giving movies a run for their money. Television as a medium offers better opportunity to explore character and narrative by simple virtue of its long-form structure. But is it true that audiences for that really are turning to TV for their fix of intellectually and emotionally-challenging material? The numbers - and just the general cultural saturation - behind stuff like MAD MEN say yes. What say you?

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6:42PM on 07/02/2012
I never bought the argument that tv is better than films; there's a lot of crap on tv too. Sure there are some great complex character dramas, but out of all the channels I'd say there might be a dozen or so shows that fit that bill. Soderberge has always been hit (Traffic, Ocean's 11, Contagion) or miss (Haywire, Ocean's 12, Che) with me anyway, so I don't mind him trying tv.
I never bought the argument that tv is better than films; there's a lot of crap on tv too. Sure there are some great complex character dramas, but out of all the channels I'd say there might be a dozen or so shows that fit that bill. Soderberge has always been hit (Traffic, Ocean's 11, Contagion) or miss (Haywire, Ocean's 12, Che) with me anyway, so I don't mind him trying tv.
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11:57AM on 07/02/2012
This is one of these non-quotes, its not saying anything, just that more interesting things are made to a mass audience on television, which is true. However, even the examples given get more critical praise then they do viewership. Soderbergh has still shown no signs of retiring or switching to TV. Granted, his only pre-production credit on IMDB is a TV-Movie, so what do I know :)
This is one of these non-quotes, its not saying anything, just that more interesting things are made to a mass audience on television, which is true. However, even the examples given get more critical praise then they do viewership. Soderbergh has still shown no signs of retiring or switching to TV. Granted, his only pre-production credit on IMDB is a TV-Movie, so what do I know :)
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9:26AM on 07/02/2012
No real shock here, plenty of movie directors have gone to do TV now, would love to see Soderbergh take on a well established show like Walking Dead or Mad Men or Sons of Anarchy, etc.
No real shock here, plenty of movie directors have gone to do TV now, would love to see Soderbergh take on a well established show like Walking Dead or Mad Men or Sons of Anarchy, etc.
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8:46AM on 07/02/2012
If he's indeed going into Television, I hope he'll direct the whole season, not just a pilot.
If he's indeed going into Television, I hope he'll direct the whole season, not just a pilot.
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+1
8:32AM on 07/02/2012
I second that. I would love to see a show with Soderbergh's input, whether as producer ot director. Team him with Mamet!
I second that. I would love to see a show with Soderbergh's input, whether as producer ot director. Team him with Mamet!
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