TV

The coolest tracking shots in TV history

Posted by
Joe Ellison
Published

Binge (verb); a period of excessive or uncontrolled indulgence involving copious amount of chocolate eggs or Netflix.

With Marvel's Daredevil back on our screens for a triumphant and bloody second season, hopefully you managed to do both this past weekend, curbing your restraint and giving in to a good few episodes of the comic book adaptation.

During which, with any luck, you managed to see a lengthy tracking shot of a brawl in a stairwell, arguably one of the best telly dust-ups ever. Belying its small screen format with some epic production value. It's funny what a well-placed Steadicam and the patience of a saint can get you - and it's far from alone.

Here, then, are the best tracking shots in modern TV history.

Daredevil (season one)

DaredevilOldboy

True Detective

As true as Rust Cohle’s fondness for Lone Star beer, this wildly ambitious escape scene midway through the first season confirmed what many of us already knew: TV would never quite be the same again. The sheer audacity of director Cary Joji Fukunaga to attempt such a breathlessly taut and meticulously choreographed shot as Matthew Mconaughey’s undercover fed rescues a hostage from behind enemy lines was one thing; pulling it off with such aplomb was another entirely.

The X-Files

With the latest series coming in for a universal panning, the original episodes of the X-Files look better and better. No more so than after reminding yourself of the then-revolutionary episode Triangles, consisting of four non-stop, real-time shots. This clip, of Mulder caught in a Nazi power struggle aboard a ship caught in the Bermuda Triangle in 1939, is just one of them.

The West Wing

Ever walked and talked around an office with a colleague and not pretended you're in The West Wing? Stop pretending, of course you have. Now all but shorthand for the show, it’s easy to forget how much of a key purpose it served: having chiefs of staff dispatch Aaron Sorkin's rat-a-tat dialogue while navigating Washington's narrow corridors of power brought his script to the fore. For a reminder of how expertly shot those scenes needed to be, allow us to present this epic one-take.

Band of Brothers

The miniseries before there really were miniseries, Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers was as close as the small screen had ever got to matching cinematic war films. Not that it was all action-packed guns and guts mind, with this touching tracking shot taking in the dismay of townspeople attempting to repair the rubble-hit wreckage of their homes. The music emanating from the violin which opens the shot to the soldiers surveying the broken area makes it even more watchable. Subtle, poignant, TV at its best.

Game of Thrones

“That nobody got hit by the camera, which was sweeping past their heads at incredible speed, was a miracle in itself.” Not our words but, worryingly for HBO’s health and safety bods, those of Neil Marshall, director of season four’s Watchers on the Wall, and with it a 360 shot battle scene to last the ages.

Scrubs

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Fans of the schmaltzily enjoyable Scrubs would have had to check their own pulses at the end of the first season. This fantastic single shot shattered any preconceptions of set design by giving the audience a non-stop breakneck tour of Sacred Heart through the eyes of Turk, JD and Elliot. Starting outside, the trio enter the lobby, sweep past The Janitor manning the payphone, hop into a lift alongside resident grouch Bob Kelso and then, in a fitting touch, eventually reach the next crop of med students. According to those in the know, Donald Faison reportedly needed a few attempts to nail the basketball shot early on. The amateur.