These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.
By now, we are well past the point that television programming is a sad, forlorn cousin of other pop culture art forms. There are simply too many offerings that approach the level of true genius, especially across cable and streaming platforms. The broadcast networks still lag behind, in part because of the dampening limits that come with currying the favor of the churlish, fickle FCC and in part due to the squeamishness of commercial advertisers who still provide a sizable chunk of the revenue. I also think a certain tepidness might be so firmly embedded in the networks’ respective DNA strands that a certain flatness is hard to shake.
This week, the networks are engaging in the spectacle of the upfronts, in which they eagerly pitch their fall lineup to potential sponsors. The basic concept is antiquated, fully disconnected from the yearlong process of releasing new programs. That mustiness makes it charming to me, stirring a nostalgia for my distant boyhood, when no single publication was more exciting than the annual “Fall Preview” issue of TV Guide. A insatiable consumer of television, I was enthralled by every bit of promotion that celebrated the broadcast entertainment to come.
And back then, they really knew how to pull out the razzle-dazzle to sell a network lineup. Modern upfronts might have a dose of showmanship to them, but they’re nothing like the campaigns of yesteryear. I’d like to see one of the current networks pull off something like the “You and Me and ABC” production number that placed a bevy of stars from across the schedule on a garishly adorned stage for a song and dance number.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.