Friday, March 28, 2014

More TV-MA, Less R-Rated

The quality of television has increased exponentially. TV shows have reached the standard of big-budget Hollywood films – maybe even better. Recently, I've noticed an increase in violence, drugs, and sex on television, and I've also noticed an odd decrease in the film industry. So, what's going on?

First of all, in 2014, January had four nationwide R-rated releases – one of which was a nationwide expansion. February had one R-rated comedy. While March will likely end up at three. That's actually not many when you consider how many nationwide films release per week. The point is: R-rated films are slowly dying off. Some of these films have brought in modest box office returns, others were complete duds. Some of these films were rated decently, others were poorly received. Regardless, the box office, the critics, and the fans seem to be at odds with R-rated films. (I know, you'll watch any film that your interested in, regardless of rating, as will I.)

Meanwhile, television has seen an increase in everything that makes an R-rated film – and certain elements that have previously condemned the release of films. For example, Hannibal is very violent and disturbing (and, it's a fantastic show, too), much more violent than Ridley Scott's Hannibal back in 2001. Hannibal on TV has been well received by critics and general audiences, and has garnered a dedicated audience. Hannibal as a film was a box office success, with mixed feelings from critics and controversy surrounding it's violence. Another example would be Breaking Bad – award winner and fan pleaser – which focuses on the distribution of drugs from an up-and-coming drug kingpin. Similarly, Scarface focused on a gangster as he moved up the drug game. Breaking Bad is already an iconic show and a testament for quality TV, as is Scarface for film – but Scarface was rated X when it first released. Why is that?

This is really just me thinking out loud. As an audience, are we becoming more welcoming to violence and drugs, at least to the point where it's perfectly fitted for prime time TV? Or, are filmmakers treating an R-rating as a stigma? Maybe the MPAA has lightened their outlook on the content of films? I personally am not offended by any content on TV or film, I care more about the quality of the product. I'm just curiously observing.

What do you think about TV and film rating nowadays? Back in January I wrote about the MPAA Bias, you think that has something to do with it? Please leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for reading!

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