Substance vs Style: The Age Old Debate

The substance vs style argument is quite a fierce one. There are a number of beloved TV shows such as Doctor Who or Star Trek that amassed their legions of fans in a time when special effects were practically unknown. In my opinion, this was the time when TV shows relied on practical effects, solutions and a lot of emotional substance in order to entertain their people (when I saw how the Daleks were defeated in their first ever TV appearance, I was struck by exactly how differently that track would have been handled with the increased CGI budget Doctor Who has seen off late).

Old Who vs New Who

Star Trek has done the same- the past two movies have veered away from complex relationships, characterization and true adventure of discovering aspects of space to a shoddily written drama that relies more on visual entertainment (find one classic Star Trek fan who is not mad about what they have done to Uhura). Needless to say, I’m not impressed.

Style is something that changes with time. Movies are directed in different ways, so are television shows. These stylistic orientations keep coming and going, but the substance will always remain the same. If all shows are given large CGI budgets and are veered entirely towards stylistic improvement, they will all come out looking the same. What will make them stand apart are the characters, their quirks and their motivations.


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