Photo: ‘Flight of the Conchords’
We love to feel a special connection to any type of media in any way we can; it gives us more of a sense of partnership rather than feeling as though we’re placed on the sidelines. It’s for this reason that typically when you talk to someone about a show or film that they enjoy–their eyes completely light up, brighter than any city streetlight–due to how the filmmakers and creators of that content truly cared about what they were making. But, what happens when a nurtured film doesn’t reach the adoration it deserves through a lack of the target audience is unable to find it; or something that was simply not viewed by many people as it should’ve been, thus it not doing as well-recognized as it most likely deserved?
You might be wondering to yourself now: “Well, how could that happen? Wouldn’t we say that the film or TV show just didn’t do as well as the creators were hoping?” And to that, I’d have to say, not everything is as it seems; and with how much media can shock and surprise audiences, it’s not entirely unexpected that a film or series can slip under the cracks of audience awareness. More specifically, when that film or TV series becomes one of the most magical (and hidden) elements of media: Hidden Gems.
A Media Diamond In The Rough
Personally, I find myself feeling rather excited when I find a movie or series that’s considered to be a hidden gem; sometimes engrossing myself in the whole section of the “Hidden Gems” category on any streaming service. I’m not overall sure as to why I find this somewhat niche genre of media so intriguing to know about, or why I delve myself into a shiny world such as the hidden gem one. It might be because I love to watch passion projects and encourage others to make more work as I adore to feel as though there was a purpose behind why this piece of media was created. If you’ve read a few of my other articles before, you’ll most likely notice that I mention an appreciation for sensing a purpose behind any created media; and that’s because it’s my favorite aspect of Cinema and the TV world. But, enough about what I think about lesser-known media. Let’s finally discuss what hidden gems in media exactly are, and what films and TV series can be considered to fit within this element of media.
‘Flight of the Conchords’
According to Yourdictionary, a hidden gem (in a general sense) can be defined as “Something possessing a value or beauty that is not immediately apparent, which therefore has received far less recognition than it deserves”. It’s this definition alone that perfectly encapsulates what a hidden gem in media is; I do hope that from its single sentence, it piques your interest as well. But now, you may be wondering something else to yourself. Just what makes the hidden gem genre different from the cult genre?
To put it plainly, a cult film or series is known as a piece of media that has gained a cult following over the years; whether or not it had gained said following when it first came out, it has that type of audience now regardless. Hidden gems, on the other hand, are pieces of media that don’t have that well-deserved audience–instead, being buried under all the other content being released. Now, of course, this isn’t to discredit the fans of these films or series (me being one of them); but, it is a sad truth that media can only be classified as a hidden gem when it meets the criteria of ultimately being underappreciated.
Finding The Unseen Jewels
Now that I’ve described what hidden gems exactly are, let us now discuss examples of media that have been classified as fitting in this category; and hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll be desiring to check them out and become yet another one of its few fans. I also want to give a shout-out to the streaming platform Tubi for hosting a lot of these films and series.
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On the Cinema side of things, there are admittedly a lot more hidden gems as compared to TV series. This might be because promotion for films can only go so far since it only has one single release; and with a series, you can continuously promote it as each episode comes out. Prime examples of movies that are considered hidden gems are films such as ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’, ‘The One I Love’, ‘Brick’, and ‘Creep’. There are of course so many more I could list off, but this article would nearly be pages upon pages long. So, with that said, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the IMDb list of “Hidden Gems of Cinema” and see all the wonderful films.
In the TV world, these hidden gems tend to lean towards mockumentaries or comedies; which is quite interesting as these types of shows tend to always find a wide variety of audiences. Examples of hidden gem TV shows include ‘Documentary Now!’, ‘Joe Pera Talks With You’, ‘Flight of the Concords’, and ‘Nirvanna the Band the Show’. As I mentioned before with the Cinema aspect, there is a multitude of hidden gem shows; but the ones I’ve listed off are some that were shocking to find out that they don’t have as huge of an audience as I believed they did.
In Hopes Of Glimmering
The reasoning behind why these films and shows didn’t reach a huge audience is a mystery to me, and it’s always hard to determine how it all happened. But, there’s also something so secretive–like a fun inside joke–when it comes to watching media that’s considered to be a hidden gem. On the other hand, however, I find that they deserve so much more admiration because there was so much hard work and creative genius that went into creating these projects, and it’s a shame to see them be put into the hidden gem category.
Sooner or later though, maybe these films and tv shows will blow up one day and gain a cult following; thus transforming from a hidden gem into a cult classic. But that’s for another day to wonder. For now, let’s appreciate the purpose and beauty in these films and how they are proven to be created out of love; not out of an attempt to solely please an audience.
By Leah Donato
Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.
I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”
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