Does The Return Of 'Amazing Stories' Mean The Return Of The Anthology Series?
Because all shows are getting a second chance these days, Deadline is reporting that Steven Spielberg's '80s series Amazing Stories is being revived at NBC by none other than Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller. Originally, the show was Spielberg's attempt to revive the anthology shows of the '60s, the most famous of which was The Twilight Zone, so this news is pretty exciting for those who are fans of the format. For those who are unfamiliar, anthology shows are those that have an entirely different plot, cast, and setting each episode or season, and the series is usually only linked by a theme or style. Such shows were fairly common in the earlier days of television, but have since fallen out of style.
However, the revival of this show points to the fact that anthology shows might be coming back. Amazing Stories was critically acclaimed in its combination of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but it was sadly cancelled after two seasons. While attempting to revive a long dead format under the direction of the often controversial Fuller might seem risky, I think that there are quite a few signs that the anthology show format might be making a comeback. Here are the reasons why anthology series make complete sense in 2015.
Black Mirror Has Made A Splash
The most prevalent modern example of modern anthology TV is the BBC's Black Mirror, which tells horror stories about technology. The show has been critically acclaimed for its innovative format and straightforward moral purpose, and it has done very well internationally. Other networks might be interested in mimicking that success.
Horror Is Popular On TV
While it's not a requirement of the genre, most anthology shows have been horrific or fantastic — perhaps because it fits well with the detachment required at the start of each episode. With the success of shows like American Horror Story and Scream Queens, it's clear that there is a hunger for aesthetic horror stories on TV.
People Still Love The Twilight Zone
There are lots of modern day fans of The Twilight Zone, which is probably the most famous anthology show — pretty impressive for a show from the '60s.
It Lends Itself Well To Thematic Complexity
In the same way that the short story can, somewhat paradoxically, contain more than a novel, the anthology show enables the exploration of themes, while more traditional dramas are better suited to character exploration. In "the golden age of TV," this complexity and difference is welcome.
Television Is Becoming More Cinematic
While this is up for debate, there are definitely high cinematic values in shows like Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Since each episode of an anthology show is its own little movie, the fit in well with this trend.
Anthology Seasons Are More Popular
Popular shows like American Horror Story and True Detective have new casts and settings each season, proving that audiences are willing to part with their beloved character in favor of style or theme.
While all of these could easily point to the rebirth of the anthology era, whether it's really making a return still remains to be seen. With the premiere of Fuller's Amazing Stories reboot on the horizon, however, we might be finding out the answer soon enough.
Images: Universal Television; Giphy (6)