The idea of trailers for TV shows is one that hasn’t been around too long. Then again, even multiple decades ago, TV would do preview shows that would showcase clips from a particular new series for the fall season. But you still couldn’t necessarily call them a trailer in the sense of a real production as you see now. With ABC recently announcing their 2014-15 TV schedule, they released high-quality trailers for various new shows that looked very much like ones you’d see in a movie house.
Nevertheless, what makes TV trailers stand apart from movie trailers is that they aren’t assaulting anyone with visceral action or skull-rattling audio in order to capture anyone’s attention. While we’re starting to see some of that movie-caliber action on TV now, trailers for more social dramas and comedies are considerably different and almost lean on the side of being conservative. Any chance of them screening in a movie house would perhaps raise eyebrows that they aren’t worthy of comparing to the bevy of movie trailers playing first.
As red-band movie trailers continue to become controversially easy to access on just about every movie website, you have to wonder what cable TV is considering doing with the TV trailer. Even network TV shows are seemingly being filmed with profanity and sex scenes intact, then edited when they air. This way they’re ready for the official Blu-ray releases with all the elements of cable already in place. In that regard, just how far will the TV trailer evolve online?
TV Trailers as Improvements Over Movie Trailers
Those who attend movies regularly in a theater know that movie trailers seem stuck in a rut of the same old formula. The narrations are still the same, the loudness is the same, and so are all the explosions and scenes giving most of the plot away. It may be at the point now where the audience attending just turn off most of the trailers and catch up on their text messages while they play out. And it doesn’t matter how much louder trailers become, because people are so used to it now, they tune it out.
It’s one reason why I’ve written before about the how trailers should try complete silence to grab people’s attention with something unexpected. A few have tried this to good effect and winning over audiences to actually go see the film later.
For television, the advantage of a TV trailer is that you have many episodes to extract scenes from so nothing pivotal will be given away. Some of the new trailers for this year’s upcoming shows are very well done and compel you to want to watch. Most of them are also quite calm and play up character development rather than hyper action or trying to get you to look up for a second from your smartphone. This already works well for those in the workplace where it’s getting increasingly more challenging to look at media without being disruptive or worrying about offending someone.
Much of that comes in the red-band trailer world that attracts most eyes lately. With workplace protocol yet to be enacted for increasingly nasty red-band movie trailers, will TV eventually go the red-band route so they don’t feel left behind?
Cable Show Trailers Going Red-Band
We’d expect cable to release red-band trailers first considering they have more sex, profanity, and violence than even general movies do nowadays. Perhaps it’s detrimental for cable to place too much emphasis on being “red-band” when it may detract away from the brilliant character studies shows on HBO and Showtime are bringing us lately. A trailer for “True Detective”, for instance, possibly would have played up all the chase scenes and violence rather than realizing the fascinating character analysis and dialogue.
It’s also risky for network TV to try red-band trailers based squarely on how you won’t see the adult aspects on the initial airing. For some, they may get a kick out of seeing where the networks have to make the edits in order to make it suitable for commercial TV. At least everyone would know what would be available on the Blu-ray box set later.
No matter your personal opinion on the harm red-band trailers are doing, it seems inevitable someone is going to try it for television eventually to capture more sophisticated audiences. When they do, watching any media in public places where people oversee or hear it will become a whole other social problem. At the same time, it’s also indicative of TV becoming the new movie theater. It’s all because a TV trailer can draw you in thanks to our eyes drawing ever closer to our monitors and smartphone screens.