10 Promising & Big-Name Directors Who Turned To The Small Screen

Pay close attention to the credits of Law & Order. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Warner Bros.

These days, it appears the whole system is upside down. Time was, you put in your hard years earning director's guild credits working your way up through television until you eventually land a plumb gig directing a feature. There was no room for the arty, independent filmmaker in the era of three networks and a few successful studios. Directors like John Frankenheimer proved their worth on the likes of Playhouse 90 before moving on to features as wide-ranging as The Manchurian Candidate to Ronin.

Part of the reason Frankenheimer was such a solid action director was that he had worked in television when the medium meant tighter shooting schedules and smaller budgets. He knew how to prioritize - the precise reason they brought him on board to salvage what they could of Richard Stanley's notoriously troubled The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Today, however, well-known filmmakers who found their way into the system via other means (including Roger Corman) are flocking to the new generation of television - some surprisingly embracing the new streaming models. While other indie directors, their flagship film failing to gain ground, have been relegated to single-camera sitcom television.

Either way, here are some names you may notice popping up in the credits of your favourite shows. Some have been there for years, some are new arrivals seeking refuge from a broken studio system.


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