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It’s the heat of Oscar season and all anyone can talk about is House of Cards and True Detective. When did it become all about TV? It’s hard to say when but television has provided a global community in ways that film can’t quite match. David Fincher’s Netflix series House of Cards has revolutionized how production companies roll out TV shows but it has done more than that. Not only does House of Cards offer a seamless array of diverse cast members – women, African Americans, Asians – it does this without breaking a sweat, proving that it really is about how minds open and close that determines casting, not a white-centric ticket-buying audience or television viewership. Moreover, two of the episodes from House of Cards Season 2, are directed by women – Jodie Foster and Robin Wright. The strongest characters on the show are easily the women. Anyone who binge-watched the show recognizes this – and not girly women, straight up, strong, adult women.
While it’s true that television affords that luxury more than film – the power center isn’t determined, as is the Oscar race, by a mostly oldish, white male consensus. Television is more democratic. Film relies only on the box office numbers, particularly opening weekend. House of Cards, for instant, is simply not beholden to that crippling restriction. Art is flourishing on television. It is dying on film, where the box office is being driven only by big effects movies, dumb comedies, and the occasional Oscar movie. There are directors who are still making vital films worth seeing but a dumbed American public buying tickets on opening weekend should not be the determining factor is what kinds of films Hollywood makes. And yet…it is.