Remember the television miniseries? These were national/cultural events affecting every local community back in the day. If the content wasn’t too risqué, maybe the parental units would let you stay up late to watch? Ah, then the talk about the miniseries at school the next day! Cute girls fawning over The Thorn Birds. “Oh man, pretend to know what they’re talking about,” I would think to myself. The bigger budgets, the pre-premiere hype. Shogun, Thorn Birds, V, Roots, North and South, The Winds of War, Rich Man, Poor Man. These were a huge deal, like the Super Bowl except for the arts.
The “eventiness” of the miniseries is over. Unlike the Super Bowl, these are out of fashion, like a dedicated home landline, hooked to an answering machine. In fact, the Super Bowl is a relic, which adapted to dominate the collective consciousness unlike any other spectacle. Even the World Series, sports precursor to the television miniseries, isn’t as part of the national consciousness as it was in the past.
The miniseries became unnecessary as every worthwhile television series is available online or delivered by Netflix. Eavesdropping on your co-workers conversation about an unfamiliar T.V. show? Hull yourself up in the house over the weekend and catch up by Monday morning. Our household heard Mad Men was amazing. We were caught up in a week or so. Just like that. We don’t think about entertainment the way we did in the 1970s or 1980s.
Things change. When you’re the only game in town, you make the rules, the way the three networks did back before the cable television explosion and the internet. Entertainment then, a handful of channels, a handful of sports. Entertainment today, millions of channels, countless new sports. Is this a good thing? Go back and rent an old miniseries such as North and South. You tell me.
At gallerydirect.com, we look at the way artwork WAS brought to you like a miniseries. It had its place, but its time has come and gone. Fine art on par with our quality used to be super-expensive. A trip to the custom frame shop was painful and the stuff everyday households could afford was made cheaply. The selection of finer “brick & mortar” stores were limited by whims of their buyer’s aesthetic.
We were examining high level marketing strategies this week, particularly “branding.” What would Gallery Direct be, if we were a television entity, series, genre, channel or whatnot? PBS? The Thorn Birds? The Super Bowl? We would probably be YouTube. We’re pretty much just a facilitator—albeit a sophisticated facilitator—to the user, who creates world class artwork by harnessing millions of images or uploading their own, then customizing it to their specific needs, sent to us instantly and created on the fly.
Will cute girls talk about us before the bell rings for class? Probably not. That’s okay, their moms love us.