If you have seen and enjoyed The Fabelmans, a heavily autobiographical account of Steven Spielberg‘s childhood and teenage years, you will be aware that the story finishes just at the point when his career is about to take off. Spielberg got his start directing episodes of television – including Night Gallery and Columbo. His first movie – 1971’s Duel – was made for television.
Since Spielberg’s movie career skyrocketed through the roof with 1975’s Jaws, he’s not return to TV as a director, but he has produced the likes of Band of Brothers (which was more-or-less a TV version of Saving Private Ryan). However, he has expressed interest in what he calls ‘long-form,’ and says that he will direct a TV series one day. Speaking to the Smartless podcast, Spielberg said; “I was willing to do Lincoln as a six-hour [show] because I couldn’t raise all the financing for it. No one believed in it…I went around town and everyone turned me down.”
He added, “I was ready to make a deal with HBO to do it and expand it to six hours. Tony Kushner’s first draft was 150 pages, so I had the goods! I had the material. I don’t know if I could have talked Daniel Day-Lewis into doing six hours, but I was on the brink of that.”
Lincoln is a 2012 American civil war movie which wisely focuses on a narrow period of time – January 1865 – when Abraham Lincoln was trying to get the 13th amendment passed, abolishing slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Lincoln. Although it was a successful movie, it would have worked well as a mini-series, following in the footsteps of 2008’s John Adams.
Spielberg said that he is definitely interested in directing a TV series in the future; “I do have an appetite for long-form, and someday, I will direct a long-form series. I mean, if someone would have brought me Mare of Easttown, I would have done that. [Laughs] That was a beautifully directed story.”
TV and movies are more blurred than ever before, and some directors such as David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn move between both seamlessly. TV is generally seen as a writer’s medium more than a director’s one though, with the head writer usually being the creator/showrunner and making all of the creative decisions.
While we wait to see if Spielberg does make the move to TV, check out our guide to the best drama series.