The digital revolution we are experiencing has created epochal changes, and many surprising side effects that only the generations to come will fully understand. In fact, I often wonder what ties together seemingly unrelated phenomena like Donald Trump governing by Twitter, a movie star like Nicole Kidman acting in a TV miniseries, and a company like Amazon producing movies worthy of film-festival award nominations.
Things are not what they used to be—especially when it comes to media. Can we even still talk about television, when we watch the news on our phones and download our favorite series on laptops?
The all-American iconography of families sitting together in their living rooms, watching their favorite programs, is pretty much a thing of the past; entertainment is now consumed individually and on mobile devices. At the same time, the boundaries between the movie and TV industries have all but evaporated. Cable channels like HBO and Showtime, and distribution companies like Netflix, have been producing exceptional programming, telling groundbreaking stories, and offering masterful performances.
That is the reason why two years ago we decided to create this annual issue, showcasing the best television performances. Turn to “Major Drama,” to see this year’s portfolio, photographed by Alasdair McLellan, in which Hollywood stalwarts like Nicole Kidman and James Franco appear next to the blockbuster stars of the future, like Riz Ahmed and Claire Foy, acting in thrillers, biopics, and period dramas.
Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg, who selected the best performances of the season, observes that while movies increasingly play to a superhero-obsessed global audience, these shows are offering the most interesting and challenging roles to actors who would have never considered working in television before.
One exception to that trend is Charlize Theron’s character in the film Atomic Blonde. Upending the typical male-dominated action-hero paradigm, Theron delivers a knockout performance as a modern-day James Bond.
In the best fall fashion there was also an effort to tear down barriers. Designers advanced a variety of competing narratives, from Balenciaga’s tribute to decades-old couture masterpieces to the rebellious feminist attitude at Prada. The common trait running through the collections was a celebration of female empowerment, with designers creating clothes for strong characters who are never afraid of taking risks and challenging the status quo.
Jamie Hawkesworth’s compelling story (“Get Real—and Surreal,") with its cast of models and real women, makes it clear that fashion, like television, is undergoing a profound transformation. It’s one that we would all do well to embrace.
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