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I was talking with my wife the other day about what kinds of things we liked in a television show. We had just begun watching the 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who, which I’m proud to say that as she is a Douglas Adams loving, multi-time reader of the Hitchhiker trilogy, and owner of the whole Monty Python’s Flying Circus, she loved the Doctor. At the end she pointed out that what she really liked was that at the end of the episodes she had a pretty good amount of closer. We had previously tried to watch Heroes, and Lost, however she just couldn’t get into it. She hated that at the end of each episode we had one question answered, and four more questions asked. Those who watch these shows know exactly what I’m talking about.

I told her what it was like to be a comic book fan. Waiting for months for a story to be resolved, or for the shadowy villain to finnally be revealed. She said that this kind of a wait would drive her mad. I told her about a recent DC comics story line that has been going on for several years.

Modern TV has adopted a long running story system that was previously seen only on daytime soaps, where the stories play out over the course of the whole season, maybe even multiple seasons. Some shows do this well and cause fans to wait eagerly for each new episode. Some fail and are canceled before their fans can get any kind of actual answers. This has also lead to another trend that I have adopted over the last few seasons of TV. I no longer start watching a show until I’m really sure that it’ll get at least one full season. Although it looked interesting I didn’t watch Bionic Woman last year because I was fairly certain that it would last. I figured that if it did make It I could always download the first few eps to get me caught up.

So for you dear reader let me know some the great shows that I may have missed, and also some of those that were canceled before their story telling prime. And NO posts about Firefly. I say this for two reasons. One, it was on FOX, so we all should have known that it was damned from the beginning. And two. Joss Whedon would have at least wrapped up the seasons story. As he proved with Buffy every season was a self contained arch that wrapped up with every seasons finale. And third (yes I know I only said two but screw you this is my post) it’s really unoriginal. Lets hear about some old shows that left us hanging that have not already been discussed to death by geeks throughout the interweb.

  • zohner

    Personally, I love the way that television shows have decided to do stories that can’t be wrapped up in 42 minutes. Serial dramas, like Jericho, Battlestar Galactica, and 24 really get my attention and keep me begging for more. Granted, there is a lot of crap out there but there are also some really good shows. Unfortunately though, most television executives, I’m looking at you Les Moonves, don’t know something good when they have it.

    I’m going to break the rules here and bring up Firefly. This was a perfect example of a show that was mishandled by executives. Everything that they did with it was wrong. Jericho is another example. You just don’t chase away and piss off your audience the way that Fox and CBS have done.

    And what’s with promoting the crap out of a show, I’m looking at you FOX, then canceling it after three episodes like was done with Drive? Stunts like that have helped me develop a theory about Nathan Fillon; he’s cursed. Every good show he does for FOX gets axed in relatively short fashion. It’s got to suck to be him.

    And speaking of comic book story lines taking months to resolve, how long did the Batman: Knightfall story go? A couple of years? It definitely got me ready for modern television.

  • BSG is a good example of it actually done wrong and our unhealthy addiction to it anyway: “Yeah, it’s me. I’ve been to Earth and I’m going to take us there” to be continued IN A FRAKKING YEAR!!!

    I actually really like Reaper this season, and the way it wraps up it’s story line. There is a monster of the week that gets taken care of, different parts of story arcs are closed up tight, and other ones are started all at once. I know they didn’t pioneer this type of storytelling, but it’s a really good formula.

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