Steve McQueen Does Not Like TV One Bit, and He’d Never Make His 2015 HBO Pilot Today

IndieWire | 10/25/2018 | Staff
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Anyone wondering why Steve McQueen adapted an ’80s British TV series “Widows” for America’s increasingly desolate multiplexes instead of its vast landscape of serialized remakes … well, let him tell you.

“The first series was it,” McQueen told IndieWire, implying that Lynda La Plante’s 12-episode series told that story as well as possible for TV, before adding his second reason: “I’m not so keen on TV.”

McQueen - Man - Filmmakers - Storytelling - Demand

McQueen may be the last man standing when it comes to filmmakers who find themselves seduced by serialized storytelling. He’s not having it, arguing that the rising demand for content has oversaturated the TV market and driven quality down.

“TV had its moment,” McQueen said. “It’s fodder now, isn’t it? It’s fodder. […] There was a moment in the ’90s or early 2000s when it was amazing. And now it’s just, ‘Get stuff done. We need stuff.’ I don’t know what’s happening now, but obviously the quality has gone down a little bit. There’s more of it, but less quality.”

TV - Stuff

Later, he added, “I don’t like TV. […] There was some great stuff, [but] it’s just bad [now].”

McQueen’s experience making television is limited to the axed HBO pilot, “Codes of Conduct.” The first episode was shot in late 2014, shortly after McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” cleaned up at the Academy Awards, and HBO officially picked up the limited series in March 2015. However, following the very expensive flop of “Vinyl,” the premium network cut back on its slate and canceled it in early 2016, before it aired.

McQueen - HBO - Netflix - Time - Competition

Though McQueen said HBO was “scared” of Netflix at the time — “They were in direct competition with Netflix and they thought, ‘We’ve got to fix this, we’ve got to do something about this'” — he doesn’t believe that experience was what turned him away from television altogether. The network was...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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