Of all the canards foisted upon and between culture fans in 2013, there was none more dubious than the notion that the supposed “battle” of television vs. film had come to an end, with the former declared the victor. Besides the fact that comparing such disparate mediums is a fool’s errand at best, both are such vast and complicated enterprises that any pitched battle likely only pits narrow conceptions of each against the other. (Strawman vs. strawman, the most popular form of discourse on the Internet.) The simplest way to invalidate the entire argument quickly: where films only have to be taken on their own terms as one complete work, TV series need to be considered in at least three contexts: by episode, by season, and by the overall run of the series.
With several shows ending their runs this year, including Breaking Bad
, Dexter, Southland, Spartacus, and The Killing
(up until its latest resurrection,